Transnational Research Institute on Corruption (TRIC) is a cross-disciplinary institution within the Australian National University. The appointment of deputy directors from different colleges reflects the ongoing recognition that solutions to corruption can be drawn from all areas of the academy. TRIC is a virtual institution with a mission to conduct research on public corruption and devise ways to reduce it. The study of corruption is a multidisciplinary activity. Scholars of corruption are found in Law, Economics, Political Science, Philosophy, Public Administration, Environmental Studies, National Security Studies, Development Studies, Criminology, Business Studies, Sociology, Anthropology and more. Many people at the ANU work in areas where corruption studies are relevant. In addition to the discipline areas listed above, substantive areas such as forestry policy, justice administration, environment policy, public health, water policy, pharmaceuticals, energy, banking, education policy and more are all ripe areas for academic study of corruption.
As well as discipline studies and policy studies, area studies also provide a base for the study of corruption, such as corruption in the Pacific Islands and Eastern Europe.
Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain. The World Bank estimates that one trillion dollars per year is paid in illegal bribes, and about $40 billion is looted each year by corrupt officials. Corruption follows opportunity and is both local and global. Corruption hurts people, disrupts communities and societies, and has great personal and economic costs. Corruption includes bribery, misappropriation, extortion, patronage, self-dealing (hiring one’s friends or one’s own companies to provide funded services), job manipulation and state capture.
Corruption studies at ANU focus on both the global arena as well as on domestic activities. While most look to poorer countries as being entrenched in corruption we should not ignore our own backyard. Three states have anti-corruption agencies. Tasmania has announced it will establish one, and there is pressure for one in Victoria and in South Australia. The Commonwealth has recently appointed a Commissioner for Law Enforcement Integrity, and the Commonwealth Ombudsman has a strong interest in corruption research and prevention.