Mission and history

The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is an independent, university-based research centre, dedicated to the rigorous analysis of American foreign policy, economic security, emerging technology, politics and culture.
USSC building exterior spire

Acknowledgement of Country

We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Australia. The United States Studies Centre stands on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and we pay respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We further acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the country in which you are on and pay respects to their Elders, past, present and future.


A leading research institute, shaping policy, debate and ideas by deepening understanding of, and strengthening Australia's relationship with the United States.


To make discoveries and draw insights with tangible value for Australian policymakers, businesses, scholars, students and the general public, generated by independent, non-partisan, rigorous research, delivered through communication, teaching and outreach.

Australian and US flags light up the Sydney Opera House

Analysis of America. Insight for Australia. Solutions for the Alliance.

I warmly endorse the work of the United States Studies Centre because it is so very heavily committed to a cause in which I very strongly believe and that is the intimate, shared-values-based relationship between Australia and the United States.The Honourable John Howard OM ACFormer Prime Minister of Australia


In 2006, Australian Prime Minister John Howard OM AC announced a $25 million endowment to establish a United States Studies Centre at a major Australian university. With the University of Sydney selected as host and the American Australian Association administering the endowment, the Centre was opened in 2007, admitting its first students in 2008.

Since its establishment, the Centre’s unparalleled education programs have been at the core of its success. Offering an undergraduate major and honours in American Studies, and postgraduate subjects in US Studies, the Centre has taught thousands of students. The Centre’s study abroad and internship programs have given our students invaluable experience living and working overseas, fostering lifetime connections and practical knowledge of the United States.

I thank [the Centre for its] steadfast commitment to the US-Australia partnership. It is a partnership that is, of itself, of importance to each of us, but it’s also a partnership that must remain at the core of the kind of engagement we have in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions for now and for the future.Hillary ClintonFormer Secretary of State

The Centre is the leader of Australian and Asian-Pacific insight into the United States. Encouraging broad public debate and discussion, the Centre has hosted a wide array of Australian and international guests, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and (then) Vice President Joe Biden to foreign policy analyst Anne Marie Slaughter. The Hon. Scott Morrison MP spoke at the Centre as prime minister and The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP spoke as then-leader of the opposition. Former Australian prime ministers Julia Gillard AC, Bob Hawke AC, Paul Keating AC and John Howard OM AC have all spoken at the Centre, along with former Australian Foreign Ministers Julie Bishop and Marise Payne.

Our experts are sought by the Australian and international media for their analysis of the United States, regularly publishing and appearing in outlets such as The New York TimesFinancial Times, CNN, The AustralianThe Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Australia.

The Centre’s academics contribute scholarly debate and discussion on a range of US issues, authoring books and journal articles, as well as presenting at prestigious academic conferences and completing international fellowships.

I want to acknowledge the important contribution the Centre makes. This is a time more than any, really, in the post-war period where we need cogent and practical and creative contributions from the Centre. Senator the Honourable Penny WongAustralian Foreign Minister

The Centre’s research programs provide high-quality analysis and distinct perspectives on trends shaping the national interests of the United States and Australia.

The Politics, Society and Culture Program addresses questions about US democracy, governance and political institutions; the attitudes and values that structure US society and what this means for US allies and engagement with the Indo-Pacific; shifts in America’s balancing of individual freedom, inequality and state power; America’s cultural presentation of itself to the world; and the differences and similarities between the United States and its allies and partners in key domains of public policy, with attention to the opportunities for solution-oriented mutual learning.

The Foreign Policy and Defence program examines the key challenges and opportunities confronting Australia, the United States and our allies and partners. The program commenced in 2011 and has produced influential analytical reports and policy recommendations on issues ranging from the future of the Australia-US-Japan-India Quad to AUKUS, extended deterrence, and regional development and diplomacy.

The Economic Security Program examines the intersection of economics and national security in areas such as financing national defence, supply chain security, critical minerals, regional infrastructure finance, and industrial policy and the energy transition. Launched in 2022, the program combines information, expertise and consultation across sectors and recommends practical approaches for Australia, the United States and key stakeholders.

The Emerging Technology Program commenced in 2022 and focuses on addressing the tensions arising between innovation, national security, privacy, trust in information, and national sovereignty with the rapid developments in artificial intelligence, bio-science and other domains. The program conducts original and unique research and convenes government, industry and academia to collaboratively identify solutions.

The Women in the Alliance Initiative was launched in 2023 to establish a network of professional women from across different sectors in Australia and the United States to foster collaborative work, professional development, and inclusive and innovative solutions to the policy issues confronting both countries.

The Sydney International Strategy Forum was established in 2023 as an annual convening of thought leaders from the United States and Australia to explain emerging geopolitical and economic trends and to explore strategic approaches that harness solutions from government, the private sector, the academy, and key allies and partners.

Social responsibility

The United States Studies Centre is committed to positively impacting our staff, students and stakeholders through socially responsible operations, teaching, research, events, and everyday activities. Staying true to this vision will guide us toward continued growth and success in fulfilling our motto — analysis of America, insight for Australia, and solutions for the Alliance.

Our three key focus areas

  • diversity and inclusion
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • sustainability

Diversity and inclusion

The Centre recognises the value of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we strongly support a culture where everyone can thrive at all levels of the organisation. We ensure everyone in our workforce feels valued and respected, with equal access to resources and opportunities to succeed. We are committed to creating a community reflecting the combination of women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTIQ+ individuals, people with disability, refugees, and veterans.

Mental health and wellbeing

The Centre is committed to providing a safe, respectful place of work and learning that fosters positive mental health and wellbeing. Maintaining our health and wellness and supporting the health and wellness of those around us is an important part of our daily life at the Centre. We coordinate activities aimed to increase the capabilities of staff to assist others (and self) when in distress; promote initiatives that support mental wellbeing and a positive workplace culture; and review relevant policies, procedures, and practices to ensure they adequately address psychosocial risks and consider mental wellbeing.


The Centre is committed to motivating change by integrating sustainability principles to build a more sustainable workplace. We aim to identify and assess the environmental and social impacts of the centre's operations and activities and seek to manage them consciously and responsibly.

Our progress and future commitment

  1. Workplace health safety and support programs
  2. Fair recruitment processes
  3. Getting involved in volunteer work
  4. Purchasing sustainable, fair-trade products
  5. Investing in environmentally conscious best practices activities
  6. Reducing the carbon footprint
  7. Reducing the Centre’s use of paper, plastic, water and energy
  8. Improving staff policies and procedures
  9. Cultural competency training for students


In recognition of the exemplary culture of the Centre, in 2023 the Centre was awarded the X-Ref awards for Best Workplace and Culture Change. To learn how you can join our team, please visit our Careers page.

The Perth USAsia Centre

The Perth USAsia Centre was established as a collaboration with The United States Studies Centre, the American Australia Association and The University of Western Australia. The Perth USAsia Centre is an independent think-tank that connects Australia to the Indo-Pacific to advance the public interest, build stronger relationships and educate through research, networks, engagement, and analysis. USSC and Perth USAC collaborate on a range of programs where US, Australian and Indo-Pacific interests converge.

USSC Annual Reports

  • 2022 Annual Report
  • 2021 Annual Report
  • 2020 Annual Report
  • 2019 Annual Report
  • 2018 Annual Review
  • 2017 Annual Review
  • 2016 Annual Review
  • 2015 Annual Review
  • 2014 Annual Report
  • 2013 Annual Report
  • 2012 Annual Report
  • 2011 Annual Report
  • 2010 Annual Report
  • 2009 Annual Report
  • 2008 Annual Report