The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney (USSC) has announced the appointment of Dr Stephen Kirchner as the director of its new Trade and Investment program and Ashley Townshend as the director of the Centre's Foreign Policy, Defence and Strategy program.

Dr Kirchner was previously an economist with the Australian Financial Markets Association, as well as a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Technology Sydney Business School, and an economist with Standard & Poor’s Institutional Market Services based in both Sydney and Singapore. He has worked as an advisor to members of the Australian House of Representatives and Senate, and is also a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute in Canada, where he has contributed to research projects comparing public policies in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Ashley Townshend has been acting director of the USSC's Foreign Policy, Defence and Strategy program for the past six months while former research director James Brown took on a voluntary role as the president of the NSW RSL. Mr Brown has returned to the Centre in a part-time capacity in 2018, serving as a senior fellow.

Mr Townshend was previously a research fellow and lecturer at the USSC and continues to teach for its postgraduate programs. Before joining the Centre, Mr Townshend was a research associate at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, and a visiting lecturer and senior tutor in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. He has served as a visiting fellow at Fudan University, Shanghai; an instructor on the Warrior-Scholar Project at Yale University; and a visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

"Both Stephen and Ashley bring experienced leadership to these crucial programs at a time when the Centre's research output has been rapidly accelerating," CEO of the United States Studies Centre Professor Simon Jackman said.

"The Centre's new Trade and Investment program had great success with its first report release in 2017, which looked at the invaluable US-Australia investment relationship and was launched by Treasurer Scott Morrison in Parliament House in August. I'm so excited to see where Stephen leads this vital research area in 2018.

"Ashley has already shown himself to be immensely capable of guiding the growing Foreign Policy, Defence and Strategy team over the past few months. His research on US Asia policy was the Centre's most-read report in 2017, and this year will require his steady hand to guide analysis of what continues to be a tumultuous time for international relations."

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