About us

About us

Who we are

Established in 1996 and funded in partnership by ANU and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) (formerly the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program) is the leading international centre for applied multidisciplinary research on issues of governance, state and society in the Pacific. Situated with the Coral Bell of Asia Pacific Affairs, DPA seeks to set the international standard for scholarship on the region. DPA undertakes a comprehensive suite of research, education and outreach activities, exemplifying the strategic vision of the Australian National University (ANU) to unite scholarly excellence with policy influence.

DPA’s strengths lie in its critical mass of expertise and knowledge, the applied and long-term nature of its research, its extensive engagement with policy communities in the region, its demonstrated commitment to research training and research capacity building, and its position within a leading international university.

Our staff, students and visiting fellows have academic backgrounds in political science, anthropology, geography, human geography, law, gender studies, development studies and international relations. Individually and collaboratively, DPA researchers are engaged in high-quality policy-relevant research on our immediate region. Our staff have all lived, worked and researched there for long periods of time — undertaking fieldwork, teaching in universities, working at research institutes, and working for and advising regional governments, donor agencies and non-government organisations. It is through such long-term engagement that DPA researchers have attained deep understandings of the complex social, cultural and political factors that underpin these societies and impact on their development. DPA researchers continue to undertake long-term fieldwork throughout the region.

Pacific Research Program – Phase 2

DPA is the lead partner in the consortium delivering Pacific Research Program – Phase 2 (PRP II). Co-funded by DFAT and the consortium partners’ parent bodies, PRP II (2022-26) will generate and disseminate independent Pacific-focussed research as a regional public good, and support stronger evidence-based policy making in the Pacific by working to foster stronger research practice and deeper research-to-knowledge engagement.

As with Phase 1 (2017-22), PRP II is being delivered by a consortium consisting of the Lowy Institute and two entities within the Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific – DPA and Development Policy Centre.

PRP II will build on Phase I of the program to foster strong partnerships between Australian and Pacific universities, and teach and train the next generation of Pacific researchers. Over the next four years, PRP II will also take forward new and ongoing research in key priority areas of Gender, Inclusion and Social Change; Labour Mobility and Integration; Politics, Governance and Economic Resilience; Papua New Guinea (and Bougainville) and Security, Regionalism and Geopolitics. With these focus areas in mind, the overall goal of PRP II is: ‘To deepen Australia-Pacific research & education partnerships that support evidence-based policy-making for the Pacific’.

PRP II will focus on the achievement of three End-of-Program Outcomes that together contribute to the overarching goal. These End-of-Program Outcomes can also be considered pillars of the program, these include:

  • Pillar 1. Better Informed Pacific Policy Makers (Research-to-Knowledge pillar) – this will see Pacific policy makers develop a deeper understanding of the Pacific development context and regional geo-politics, have greater access to quality independent research that supports evidence-based policy making, and deeper engagement with researchers.

  • Pillar 2. Stronger Pacific Research Partnerships and Practice (Pacific Partnerships pillar) – this will see Pacific researchers and institutions better equipped to undertake, manage and drive Pacific research, deliver quality research outputs and establish and maintain vibrant research networks and communities of practice.

  • Pillar 3. Greater Pacific Awareness (Pacific Awareness pillar) – this will see PRP research and analysis contributing to public debate and reaching a broader audience. The PRP builds on previous support provided by DFAT for Pacific research at ANU (primarily through DPA).

The PRP builds on previous support provided by DFAT for Pacific research at ANU (primarily through DPA).

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Updated:  2 December 2023/Responsible Officer:  Bell School Marketing Team/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team