UQ Scholars advise government on COVID-19 Recovery

18 May 2020

In April 2020, four UQ Global Change Scholars collaborated with leading researchers from UQ and other Group of Eight (Go8) universities to produce the Roadmap to Recovery report – an independent report aimed at addressing the most pressing question of our times: how can Australian society recover from COVID-19?

The taskforce comprised a diverse range of scholars including epidemiologists, infectious disease consultants, public health specialists, healthcare professionals, mental health and wellbeing practitioners, Indigenous scholars, communications and behaviour change experts, ethicists, sociologists, philosophers, political scientists, economists and business scholars.

Using a collaboration platform from the University of Melbourne's Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research, the taskforce submitted evidence-based recommendations and provided analytic reasoning to rapidly produce the report in less than three weeks.

Each member was assigned pseudonyms like 'quoll260' and 'crocodile715' in an effort to reduce social dominance effects and democratise input. 

Global Change Scholars Anna Hickling, Yawei Jiang, Bernadette Hyland-Wood and Roberto Schurch agreed that the collaboration platform allowed early career researchers to rise up and confidently take on critical roles in the production of the report.

“The SWARM platform allowed me to work alongside senior academics as equals on the report," Ms Hickling said.

"My unique perspective and skills were valued, and I gained new competencies in leadership and policymaking that I plan to draw on again in the future.”

Similarly, Ms Jiang said the platform gave her confidence to share her ideas.

“With the anonymous approach on the platform, I felt more confident in sharing my ideas and thoughts and had a higher sense of participation in the group,” Ms Jiang said.


UQ Global Change Scholars take on COVID-19 challenge
UQ Global Change Scholars (from left): Anna Hickling, Bernadette Hyland-Wood, Roberto Schurch and Yawei Jiang.

Ms Hickling, Ms Jiang, Ms Hyland-Wood and Mr Schurch are PhD candidates participating in the UQ Global Change Scholars Program — an initiative that aims to produce future research leaders attuned to global trends and challenges.

Hailing from Australia, China, the United States and Chile, and with research spanning clinical psychology, government data policy, education, and business recovery and resilience,, their diverse backgrounds added valuable perspectives to the independent report presented to Australian Government policymakers on 27 April 2020.

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