ACTU-AIRAANZ Symposium: Research collaboration between unions and academics

ACTU-AIRAANZ symposium: Research collaboration between unions and academics

Access to high quality research is an important element of union efforts to improve the lives of members, to maintain influence and to grow.  As well as helping make the case for change and informing union priorities and practice, research projects themselves benefit from collaborations through access to participants and having unions as industry partners.  Right now, Australian unions are embarking on a whole-of-movement campaign for secure jobs in which the damage from increasingly precarious working arrangements is likely to greater prominence.

To explore possibilities for greater research collaboration between unions and academics, the Australian Trade Union Institute (ATUI) and the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ), along with the Sydney University Employment Relations Group (SERRG) and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) will co-host a symposium on 5 November 2021. This is intended as the first event as part of an ongoing forum for dialogue and communication between researchers in relevant fields and unions to assist in collaborating over research issues of mutual interest.

The objectives of the symposium are to:

  • Make connections between researchers and union officers and staff in areas where there is potential shared interest in investigating research questions. 
  • Build awareness in the union movement around current research programs as well as research processes and requirements. 
  • Build awareness among researchers of the activities and potential research needs of unions.  
  • Demonstrate and maximise the return on investment in academic research for unions. 
  • Discuss ways to maximise the benefits for academic researchers of collaborating with unions while acknowledging some of the potential challenges
  • In a focussed discussion, identify existing and potential areas of research to support the campaign for secure jobs.


  • Dr Jim Stanford (Director, Centre for Future Work)
  • Ben Moxham (Director, Legal, Research and Policy, ACTU)
  • Dr Mihalja Gavin (University of Technology Sydney) and Prof Susan McGrath-Champ (University of Sydney)
  • Prof Bradon Ellem (University of Sydney)
  • Dr Noelle Donnelly (Victoria University in Wellington)
  • Kirsten Windelov (Senior Advisor Strategy and Policy, NZ Public Service Association) (TBC)

Event details

Friday 5 November, 12pm - 2pm AEDT via Zoom


Posted on Oct 25, 2021.