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Research Professor in Social Policy, UNSW Sydney

Peter Saunders was the Director of the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) from February 1987 until July 2007, and now holds a Research Chair in Social Policy within the Centre. His research interests include poverty and income distribution, household needs and living standards, social security reform, comparative social policy and ageing and social protection in China. His recent books include The Ends and Means of Welfare. Coping with Economic and Social Change in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2002), The Poverty Wars, Reconnecting Research with Reality and (with James Walter) Ideas and Influence. Social Science and Public Policy in Australia (both published by UNSW Press in 2005). He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1995, and is currently an Australian Professorial Fellow working on the concepts and measurement of poverty and inequality, and on deprivation and social exclusion in Australia. He has worked as a consultant for a range of national and international organisations, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the OECD, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, the International Social Security Association, and the Royal Commission on Social Policy in New Zealand. He was appointed a Sciential Professor by UNSW in 2006, in recognition of his research contribution and eminence. He was elected President of the Foundation for international Studies on Social Security (FISS) in June 2009. Professor Saunders was elected as the inaugural President of the Australian Social Policy Association.


  • 2007–present
    Scientia Professor , University of New South Wales
  • 2004–2009
    Australian Professorial Fellowship, Australian Research Council
  • 1987–2007
    Director, Social Policy Research Centre


  • 1981 
    University of Sydney, PhD Faculty of Economics
  • 1971 
    University of Southampton, Postgrad Dip Economic Theory and Econometrics
  • 1970 
    University of Southampton, BSc (Soc.Sc.) in Economics and Statistics