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The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM)

The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) was founded in January 1993 by Professor Ann Harding. As an affiliated research centre of the University of Canberra, NATSEM came to be known as one of Australia’s leading economic and social policy research institutes. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost centres of excellence for microsimulation, economic modelling and policy evaluation, NATSEM undertook independent and impartial research, contributing to social and economic policy debate and analysis in Australia and throughout the world. Its economic modelling and research consultancy services were sought after by government, commercial and not-for-profit agencies for close to 30 years. The centre’s advanced economic modelling tools and analysis allowed policymakers to test the distributional impact of complex policies on public welfare, including inequality, poverty and disadvantage. The centre also specialised in providing ‘small area estimates’ not available from the ABS. Over its years NATSEM attracted high-performing staff with expertise across multiple sectors. NATSEM’s strength was in its proven ability to analyse and interpret complex data from a range of sources in the context of existing and future policy settings. Although NATSEM is no longer formally operating, the work of the staff (some still located in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law) is still making a big impact in the social services sector and beyond.