The Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research (formerly Academy Early Career Award), replaces the Academy Award for Younger Scholars which was introduced in 1987). The award is named in honour of the Academy's past president Paul Francis Bourke (1938–1999) who was a product of the History School at the University of Melbourne and went on to become one of the first Australian historians to obtain American style doctoral training. Whilst at Flinders University, he served as Professor of American Studies and also as Pro-Vice Chancellor. From Flinders University, he went on to become the Director of the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU and also served as the President of ASSA (1993–1997). Amongst scholars, the contribution Paul made to the field of performance measurement is considered to be invaluable.
The Workshop Program is a principal component of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia's (ASSA) promotion of excellence in research in the social sciences. By means of the Workshop Program the academy is a major facilitator of collective intellectual work in the social sciences in Australia. The aim of the Workshop Program is to identify issues of national concern in the social sciences and to focus specialist attention on them. A related aim is to position the Workshop Program at the cutting edge of social science research in this country.