Understanding the long-term implications of today’s rapid transformations

All countries – including Aotearoa New Zealand – are experiencing rapid and pervasive changes arising from technological, demographic, environmental and social transformations. For democracy to thrive and for societies to progress, dialogue and decision-making on complex issues needs to take place in an informed, inclusive and constructive manner.

Yet we live in a world where the contest of ideas is taking place in an unhealthy environment of misinformation and declining public trust in our democratic, scientific and societal institutions.  Misinformation compromises how we make choices about the future and short-term thinking dominates our policy processes.

This is happening at the very time that we most need responses that go beyond election cycles and think over a longer time frame. We need innovative methods that can engage policy makers, academia, the business sector and society in conversations on contentious, complex and dynamic public policy issues.

By integrating multiple forms of knowledge spanning the disciplinary spectrum, the Centre can assist New Zealand’s influence as a global leader in exploring and tackling emergent issues.  As a small advanced country, New Zealand can be both the ‘canary in the mine’ to identify issues that are emerging, and ‘the headlights to identify the road ahead’.

Operating at the nexus of academia, civil society and public policy, and between national and international discourses, the Centre is uniquely placed to explore these issues.

Our approach is based on understanding the stakes, convening the parties, interpreting the perspectives and co-creating and examining potential solutions.

How we work

We are at the leading edge of an essential movement to better connect knowledge produced in academia with civil society, integrate their perspectives and assist the policy community in a timely and relevant way. We focus on producing and synthesising evidence that spans disciplines and on evolving new methods of integrating knowledge.

We take an integrative systems-based approach that brings together expertise from a wide range of specialties including the physical sciences, humanities, law, engineering, computer science, social science, economics, health sciences, policy and Mātauranga Māori.

Extensive domestic and international partnerships are established with both science and policy communities. In this ‘brokerage role’, we can offer thought leaders and researchers a way to engage with the community and inform the policy discussion.

A core part of our work is attracting some of the world’s best visionaries to engage with thought leaders within the University and across civil society to explore these issues.