Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia honours six UNSW academics

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UNSW Sydney professors from the faculties of Law & Justice, Business, Science, and Arts, Design & Architecture have been elected Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA). The ASSA champions excellence in the social sciences and provides evidence-based advice on a range of social policy issues.

The six new Fellows are Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, Professor Mandy Cheng from the School of Accounting, Auditing & Taxation, Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens from UNSW Humanities & Languages, Head of School Simon Killcross from the School of Psychology, Professor Harald van Heerde from the School of Marketing, and Professor Kathy Bowrey from the School of Law, Society & Criminology.

UNSW School of Economics Professor and Academy President Richard Holden said the new Fellows represent the best and brightest minds from around the country and are at the forefront of social science research and public policy.

“I congratulate the new Fellows on their election. It is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition of their enormous contribution to our society,” Prof. Holden said.

“For 50 years, research and advice from Fellows of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia have helped shape the nation. In troubled times and in boom times Fellows are called on by Australia’s leaders to advise on government policy and apply themselves to the most challenging problems facing society. Their work helps all of us to better understand what it is to be human and to participate in our society and shape its institutions. We welcome the new Fellows and are honoured to have them join the Academy.”


Professor Kathy Bowrey, Professor, School of Law & Criminology

Professor Bowrey’s research motivation is to empower Australian creators, researchers, and Indigenous knowledge holders by providing them with a clearer picture of cultural and business possibilities as these are impacted by intellectual property rights and business practice. With a technical background as an intellectual property lawyer, her research interests touch on many areas of the social sciences and humanities including technology and innovation studies, media and communications, Australian history, arts advocacy, and Indigenous knowledge rights.

She has achieved global recognition as a leading interdisciplinary intellectual property legal historian and socio-legal researcher, who has made path-breaking contributions to the development of critical approaches to intellectual property research. In addressing the law’s treatment of First Nations people, Professor Bowrey has addressed historical, doctrinal, and political obstacles to recognition, exposing the discriminatory operation of Australian law in practice.

“To join the Academy creates a possibility to participate in important cross-disciplinary discussions and to hear the voices of interesting, highly accomplished scholars about their work and views about major issues, like the contribution of the social sciences is making to climate change policy and Australian data governance, and strategies for addressing social justice,” Prof. Bowrey said.


Professor Simon Killcross, UNSW Science

Professor Killcross is Head of UNSW’s School of Psychology, a role he has held since 2009. His research focuses on the neural mechanisms of learning and cognition, and he is internationally recognised as a research leader studying normal and abnormal cognitive processes. Professor Killcross is interested in the study of how emotion and motivation impact learning and cognition and this work is applied to shed light on neural processes underpinning human disorders such as schizophrenia, drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW in 2021.

“I am delighted to be elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the way this highlights some of the great research in the School of Psychology at UNSW. Several of my colleagues in the school are also Fellows of the Academy and I look forward to joining them in participating with the broader Academy to promote understanding and awareness of the social sciences through international cooperation and collaboration,” Prof. Killcross said.


Research Professor Harald van Heerde, School of Marketing, UNSW Business School

UNSW Research Professor Harald van Heede is a world-leading expert on measuring how marketing drives demand. His pioneering research crosses boundaries in combining econometrics, time series modelling, operations research, behavioural economics, and marketing to solve complex real-world problems. His has revolutionised the global discipline’s understanding of marketing effectiveness, completely changing accepted wisdom on how marketing through advertising, distribution, new products, pricing, sales promotion, social media, mobile apps and loyalty programmes really affects consumer purchase behaviour.

Professor Van Heede is the recipient of nine best paper awards in the international top marketing journals and is the first non-US recipient of the American Marketing Association Churchill Award for Lifetime Contribution to Marketing Research. He has just completed a four-year term as Editor of the Journal of Marketing.

“I am honoured to be appointed a Fellow in the Academy of Social Sciences. My work meshes theory, quantitative methods, and big data to quantify the role of marketing on consumer decisions. This enables not only firms to make better decisions and avoid wasteful spending, but it also allows consumer advocates and policymakers to understand how marketing can be used to promote the greater good such as healthier choices.

“This fellowship allows me to connect with a wider range of Australian peers and further develop collaboration opportunities for interdisciplinary research,” Prof. Van Heerde said.


Mandy Cheng, School of Accounting, Audit & Tax

Mandy Cheng is a Professor of Accounting at the UNSW Business School. She is a leading scholar in behavioural accounting research, centred on understanding the implications of financial, nonfinancial and sustainability performance information and accounting systems on individuals’ judgments, decisions, and behaviours. By focusing on both internal performance frameworks such as the balanced scorecard and external reporting frameworks such as integrated reporting, Mandy’s research has implications for managers, frontline employees, auditors, and regulators.

“I am honoured to be recognised by my distinguished peers at ASSA, and very excited to connect with others who have dedicated their careers to advancing social sciences in Australia and beyond,” Prof. Cheng said.

Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty AO, Co-Director, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health


Professor Brodaty’s work has had major impacts on policy, services, research and community advocacy for older people. He is an advisor and serves on committees for the World Health Organisation, Australian and NSW governments, the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare and Australian Commission for Quality and Safety in Health Care on dementia, ageing and mental health services. He’s been a leader in the development of psychiatry for the elderly as a specialty in Australia and internationally, as President of the International Psychogeriatric Association.

Currently, he is a chief investigator on projects to enhance coping skills online for carers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Indonesia, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Australia. For over 40 years, Prof. Brodaty has been an advocate against the stigma of ageing and dementia through his involvement with Dementia Australia, Alzheimer’s Disease International, mainstream media, and regular public talks.

“I am honoured and excited to join the Academy of Social Sciences Australia to have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded scientists to explore these issues and to be stimulated to think in novel ways,” Professor Brodaty said.


Grace Karskens, Emeritus Professor, Humanities & Languages 

Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens is interested in promoting historical understanding and awareness to wide audiences. Her research areas include Australian colonial and cross-cultural history, Aboriginal history, and environmental history. She began her career as a public historian, served as a Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and is a founding member of the online Dictionary of Sydney. She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2010 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 2019. She’s currently working with Darug people on the collaborative Dyarubbin: The Real Secret River project, funded by the State Library of New South Wales Coral Thomas Fellowship.