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Dr Kari Lancaster awarded ANZSOG/APSA Policy Studies Prize for work on hepatitis C policy

19 October 2020

News and media


person holding an award


Interdisciplinary social researcher Dr Kari Lancaster, from the University of NSW, has been awarded the 2020 ANZSOG/Australian Political Studies Association Policy Studies Prize for her article “Towards eliminating viral hepatitis”: Examining the productive capacity and constitutive effects of global policy on hepatitis C elimination”.

The article was published in the June 2020 edition of the International Journal of Drug Policy, and co-authored by Professor Tim Rhodes and Dr Jake Rance.

Dr Lancaster said that while she was now doing interdisciplinary research in critical social science and health, she had begun her academic career as a policy studies student and was delighted to be recognised by a policy studies prize.

“It’s exciting to see that work which is engaging with contemporary policy issues is being recognised, and I’m also excited that research further developing Australian Feminist Policy Theory, especially the work of Carol Bacchi, is being recognised,” Dr Lancaster said.

The winning article examines the impact of the World Health Organization’s target of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030 and its impact on policy.

Dr Lancaster said her work questions the idea that there are pre-existing problems to be solved, and looked at how policies can construct the subjects of viral elimination, illuminating the politics behind that process, and asking how could things be done with less deleterious effects.

“It is about asking questions of the targets/elimination approach, looking at the multiple effects of these governing practices, and asking ‘if we are not comfortable with these how could it be done otherwise?’”

Dr Lancaster is also leading qualitative research at UNSW in collaboration with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, examining the embodied experiences and long-term effects of COVID-19.

“I’ve come from a drug policy background but one thread in my program of research has focused on tracing contemporary case studies of current relevance to policy and practice,” she said.

“There are a lot of complexities of doing policy-relevant research in real time, and we have a commitment to working in dialogue with people in differently-situated disciplines.”

The ANZSOG/APSA Prize is now in its second year and will be formally presented at the 2021 APSA conference awards, as this year’s conference has been cancelled.

To be eligible for the prize, entrants must be a postgraduate or early-career researcher. The prize acknowledges that early career researchers can often have significant career interruptions, and those who have had are encouraged to apply.

Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan, the Chair of the APSA Policy Studies Research Group, said the prize aimed to encourage early career researchers in policy studies who are making a contribution to policy-making and theorisation research.

“For the second year in a row the prize has attracted high-quality entries that show the strength and variety of policy studies. The prize continues to show the next generation of policy studies researchers that they are working in a respected field on research.”

ANZSOG Dean and CEO Ken Smith said the prize recognised the importance of debate around policy in Australia, and the value of academic research.

“ANZSOG recognises the importance of research in enriching policy debate and leading to better policy in the long-term,” he said.

Entrants must also be working or studying at an Australian university (or working outside the higher education sector for those who are between academic appointments).

The winners were selected by a panel of four judges, consisting of two members of the APSA Policy Studies Research Group and two ANZSOG representatives.