Open for Discussion

Open for Discussion


Join lecturer in public policy, Dr Chris Neff from the University of Sydney as he turns his sceptical eye and curious mind to the world of research. Each episode an academic will join Chris in his office to explore the latest research on topics that affect us all. From housing prices to diet guidelines and everything in between, Chris will question what the evidence says, debunking myths and assumptions along the way. Open for discussion is a podcast series produced by the University of Sydney. As Australia’s first university we’ve been challenging traditions for more than 160 years. Visit our website for more information or to browse additional resources:


Avoiding and evading: talking multinational tax - Dr Shumi Akhtar  

In this episode, Dr Shumi Akhtar, a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney Business School, joins our host Dr Chris Neff to share new perspectives on how we can think about and judge multinational tax avoidance. Worldwide approximately $100 to $250 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance by multinationals. Dr Akhtar is a regular media commentator who recently addressed the Australian senate on corporate tax avoidance. She explores the contribution of multinationals to society and her research efforts to discover how much tax they are paying and should pay.

Elite Athletes vs Couch Potatoes: can the Rio Games bridge the divide? – Dr Steve Georgakis  

In the lead up to Rio 2016, Chris is joined by Senior Lecturer Dr Steve Georgakis to discuss the growing commercialisation of sport and the impact this has on participation. Steve was on his way to represent his country at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when he suffered a career-ending injury. While devastating at the time, he credits this experience with cementing his love of sport and interest in pursuing research in this area. In this episode Chris and Steve question the role of the Games. Is it worth all the money we spend on it? Does it encourage us to exercise more, be healthier or even a more patriotic nation? For full transcript and additional resources go to:

Home Ownership: facts and fiction - Professor Nicole Gurran  

Chris is joined by Professor Nicole Gurran from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning to talk housing affordability and how we can help more people afford to live where they want. In this episode Chris and Nicole confront the supposed ‘housing crisis,’ cutting through the confusion and sorting fact from fiction. Is the great Australian dream of home ownership really over? For full transcript and additional resources visit

The Big Sleep: what is it and how to get more - Professor Ron Grunstein  

Chris is joined by Dr Ron Grunstein, a professor of sleep medicine at The University of Sydney’s Woolcock Institute. Ron’s interest in sleep began when he did his postgraduate training at Stanford University Sleep Laboratory. His first patient was an anesthetist with narcolepsy, a condition that caused him to fall asleep and collapse suddenly while in surgery. Ron was immediately fascinated and this kick started his 40 year career in the field. Chris and Ron discuss the latest research on the science of sleep, detangling fact from fiction and exposing the big business of big sleep. For full transcript and additional resources visit:

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