APS President to launch report examining future of psychology in Australia

A new report setting out the steps required to ensure the future of psychological science in Australia will be launched at the 47th Annual APS Conference in Perth this week.

Professor Simon Crowe FAPS will unveil Psychology 2020, a report produced by a taskforce of 13 leading psychologists that he established as President of the APS, the eminent organisation for psychologists in Australia.

Among the issues addressed in the Psychology 2020 report are:

  • The need for a reform of funding to address the shortfall of qualified psychologists in Australia, with particular investment in postgraduate places required
  • Psychology’s increased role as a ‘hub discipline’, equipped to facilitate collaboration across an array of disciplines and sectors
  • The need for larger scale psychological research projects to boost international recognition of Australian expertise
  • The importance of increasing the psychological literacy of policy makers and members of the community, and boosting access to psychological knowledge

Psychology 2020 warns that Australian universities reported losing on average $8,500 per postgraduate student – and sometimes as much as $15,000 – which is leading to a reduction in places at a time when competition for those available is intense and increasing.

Professor Crowe said: “In 2010 there were more than 13,600 students in undergraduate psychology courses, but fewer than 1,200 in postgraduate courses. In order to meet the psychology skills shortage that has been recognised by the government, more places must be opened up.”

Six years of training is the minimum requirement for registration as a psychologist in Australia.

He said that, despite successive reforms of university funding, allocations for psychology places was substantially lower than for equivalent professions and disciplines, yet the science-based nature of the field meant that charging full fees would lead to prohibitive costs for students.

Professor Crowe continued: “The expertise of psychologists is increasingly relied on in the health system, which is battling the financial burden of chronic mental and physical ill-health. Psychologists are experts in the science of human behaviour and can work with individuals and groups to address issues and achieve sustainable behaviour change. It is essential that we work to ensure there are enough psychologists, and they are trained to the higher international standards, to meet this growing demand. ”

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Professor Simon Crowe FAPS, Professor of Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology in the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University, is the President of the APS. More information on on the 47th Annual APS Conference is available at www.apsconference.com.au.

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