Meet • Celebrate • Stay

ATSE Lecture: Professor Steve Hatfield-Dodds

Enabling better national choices:  Insights from the CSIRO National Outlook and accounting for ‘why smart people disagree about facts’

The Australian National Outlook 2015 found that Australia’s choices will shape our prosperity – and that decisions we make collectively as a society will shape Australia’s future more than the decisions we make individual as businesses or households.

The presentation will begin with an overview of the integrated analysis and key findings presented in the National Outlook, and the distinctive attributes that helped us win a place on the cover of Nature.

It will then reflect on how science can go beyond ‘informing’ to ‘enabling’ decisions on complex and contest issues.  This will draw on insights from social science on ‘why smart people disagree about facts’ and offer some suggestions on how the science community might build on these insights to enable better societal choices and outcomes.

About the National Outlook

Published in November 2015, the National Outlook provides world-leading analysis of the complex interactions between economic growth, resource use, environmental performance and living standards to 2050.  It uses nine linked models to analyse energy, water, food, ecosystems and land use across more than 20 scenarios, in the context of economic growth and global change.  While it models all economic sectors, the primary focus is on the materials and energy intensive sectors that account for around 75% of resource use and 25% of value added and employment.  The focal scale of the analysis is national (the continent of Australia), nested in global context and supported by sub-national detail.  Results and insights were captured in an accessible short report and eight journal papers, including a paper in Nature, with several further papers in review.  The project was initiated and delivered by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, by a team of around 40 CSIRO and university contributors.

About Professor Steve Hatfield-Dodds

Steve was the Director of the National Outlook project and lead author on the Nature paper.  He leads CSIRO’s integration science and modelling initiative, and is responsible for developing a new CSIRO initiative on ‘the science of enhancing the value of science’.

Steve has worked for more than two decades as a senior policy advisor (in government) and researcher (at ANU and CSIRO), and is one of Australia’s leading thinkers on sustainability and climate change policy.

His work focuses on understanding and addressing the distinctive challenges of crafting efficient and worthwhile policy responses to climate change and sustainable development within real world democratic institutions and social processes.  His research interests and expertise include adaptive governance, ecological economics, integrated modelling and assessment, complex motivation and values, and the science-policy nexus.