Asia Research Centre

The Asia Research Centre is a leading international authority on politics, governance and social change in the contemporary Asian region. Our research examines the social, political, historical, environmental and economic forces and developments shaping our near neighbours, and how these influence Australia’s engagement in the region.

We analyse conflicts from the national to the international level, across the dimensions of politics, economics, environmental resources, ethnicity, religion, and culture. Understanding the causes and consequences of conflict underpins the effectiveness of Australia’s public and private policymakers across the region. Given the unprecedented population growth across Asia, policies that will ensure healthy, sustainable and equitable societies are a particular focus.

To explore our history of research and impact in these areas look at our latest annual report or for the long-term view our celebration of our first 20 years of Asia Research Centre achievements. Our current research is clustered into four major areas of challenge and change in the contemporary Asian region:

Our core research areas

The Political Economy of Governance Reform

As countries transform, pressures mount to reassess the rules and institutions that underpin their economic, political, social and cultural governance. We study the underlying forces behind policy development in Asia and the Indo-Pacific to inform Australia’s diplomatic, trade and advocacy activities in the region.

Find out more about policy development and governance reform

History, Culture and Regional Intersections

Societies, economies and cultures are a product of their historical legacies. We examine unresolved historical claims and past trans-regional connections, as they colour modern international relationships and can have major geopolitical consequences.

Find out how historical legacies colour current relationships

Resources, Environment and Conflict

Natural resources are critical to the current Asian economic powerhouse, but the environmental impacts of development have social and political consequences. We explore how political-economic conflict over natural resources is reshaping resource governance systems in Asia.

Find out about the impact of natural resource conflicts


The livelihoods, rights, choices and opportunities of individuals are shaped by issues of environment, health, food, migration, and political and ethnic violence. We question how security priorities are determined, how new modes of security governance emerge, and their implications for social and political rights, poverty, and environmental degradation.

Find out more about security issues

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