By Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of the James Martin Institute for Public Policy

Transforming public policy through a ground-breaking collaboration with government and universities– here’s a recap of JMI’s first year.

In just 18 months since our public launch, the James Martin Institute for Public Policy (JMI) has become a significant contributor to the public policy landscape in NSW and Australia.

In this critical first year, our goal has been to demonstrate proof of concept of the JMI model of collaboration, bringing policymakers together with experts to generate practical policy ideas, build ongoing relationships across sectors, and deliver real impact for the public good.

Our first annual report outlines our activities and achievements as an independent, non-partisan institute for Australia, as well as providing an insight into our growth trajectory.

We have delivered five collaborative projects with our government and university partners, ranging from a global review of economic reform options to a highly targeted piece on domestic violence interventions. With all projects receiving positive feedback, and one whose proposals were taken up in the NSW budget, it is pleasing to see the pipeline of future projects growing across a diversity of topics. In parallel, we are actively developing an ‘impact framework’ that will help us better monitor the ongoing impact of our work and its positive influence on policy development.

In March, we launched the first JMI Policy Challenge Grant generating close to 60 expressions of interest from our partner universities, representing a very high standard of policy ideas and proposals. The level of interest we received demonstrates the growing opportunity, and latent capability, of many leading academics to work with policymakers to generate solutions to some of our hardest societal challenges.

We were delighted to present the 2022 grant winners at NSW Parliament in November and look forward to supporting the six project teams as they conduct their research and engage with policymakers in 2023.

The Policymaker, our digital publication, was launched in May 2022. Our ambition was to create a platform for the policy community that would showcase innovative, practical policy ideas from a diverse range of contributors. We have been delighted with the high quality of articles to date, including Nobel prize winners, First Nations Australian leaders, highly experienced government advisors and insightful emerging thinkers. The rapid growth of support and engagement with The Policymaker, driven largely through our social media channels, is enabling JMI to play a uniquely constructive role in the public policy discourse in Australia.

In July, we welcomed Dr Angela Cummine as the inaugural Senior Policy Fellow, on secondment from her role as Director, Sustainable Finance at NSW Treasury. This unique Fellowship provides public servants with the opportunity to pursue independent, in-depth research to advance policy innovation and reform in their area of expertise. Dr Cummine’s research has focused on the cutting edge of government sustainability reporting and has been attracting a great deal of interest already. Her Policy Insights Paper will be published in early 2023.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet delivered the inaugural JMI Oration on 28 September 2022.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet delivered the inaugural JMI Oration on 28 September 2022.

Another major milestone was the inaugural James Martin Institute Oration, which took place in September at Western Sydney University. Featuring a Headland Speech on the future of education by the NSW Premier, The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, the Oration brought together 150 senior policymakers, leaders from government, universities, business, and the community, as well academic and education experts.

There is much to be optimistic about for 2023. We will be announcing our new university partner as well as launching the 2023 Policy Challenge Grants. We will be looking at areas such as harnessing the capability of AI in public policy, anti-modern slavery, digital health, and energy transitions in NSW.

We will be expanding our events program, including a ‘policy futures’ series, exploring the impact of significant social and economic trends in NSW, in support of an incoming government. As a democratic institution, we will continue to expand our reach to engage with a wider range of experts and practitioners across NSW and beyond, as well as remaining focussed on our mission to serve the people of NSW and Australia; transforming lives by improving public policy outcomes.

We remain deeply thankful for the ongoing support and engagement of the NSW Government and our partner universities. We look forward to growing the scale and impact of JMI’s work in the year ahead to deliver even greater public policy outcomes.

This article is based on the Executive Summary of the 2022 Annual Report.

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