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News from Science & Technology Australia

27 Sep 2021 10:26 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)


As we hurtle towards the final quarter of 2021, the cumulative effects of lockdowns are hitting hard. We urge everyone in the STA community to ask for help when you need it, and seek out the support and kindness of this remarkable membership network.

We look forward to seeing many of you at our President and CEO Forum on 11 October. We will convene the nation’s senior STEM sector leadership to set the agenda heading into an election year. This leadership dialogue is always a powerful vehicle for us to use our collective voice. STA is also delighted to be developing an alumni cohort to amplify the work of the Australian Science Policy Fellowship program run by the Office of the Chief Scientist. We will hold a powerful networking opportunity for STA’s senior leaders to expand strategic networks across the public service by meeting Fellows and Alumni at the end of the President and CEO Forum.

STA has been active on the Australian Research Council pre-prints issue. After a lengthy process, the ARC made a public statement last week reversing the ban on pre-print citations in future funding rounds. The new definition on pre-prints incorporates feedback gathered from our physical sciences members about the myriad tools, datasets and products that are commonly placed on pre-print servers to be cited in cutting-edge research proposals. It is a source of continuing anger in the research community that the revised policy does not resolve the issues for applicants in the current and recent rounds. The ARC is relying on applicants exercising their appeal rights to seek a resolution. STA has continued to raise this matter. Further information on the history of the issue is here.

There’s a flurry of further STEM policy submissions activity and consultations over the next month. This includes a rapid consultation on standard IP contracts for research organisations, the next steps in the National Research Infrastructure roadmap with an exposure draft expected soon, and an MRFF consultation. More detail on each of these is outlined below. With the change of Science Minister and a new Greens spokesperson on science, we have also renewed relationships with key advisers.

Our Superstars of STEM continue to smash new media records, with growing public profiles and appearances. Among a host of recent highlights, Superstar Dr Jiao Jiao Li won the Australian final of the Falling Walls competition, and Superstar Dr Vanessa Pirotta and Superstars trainer and Wiradjuri astrophysicist Kirsten Banks appeared on QandA’s science special last night on the ABC.

Finally, we are in the process of finalising our new Director of Policy and Engagement. I look forward to introducing you to the new appointee soon.

Until next time, 

Misha Schubert 
CEO, Science & Technology Australia 


The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) has opened consultations for the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy. This strategy will be used to ensure a coherent and consistent approach to funding research from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and will be in place from 2021-26. Along with this review AMRAB is also asking for feedback on their related priorities which must be consistent with the strategy. In both cases they are asking:

  • How could the current strategy be altered to better meet the purpose set out in the MRFF Act?;
  • Current critical and future issues and factors impacting on the health system, including primary prevention, and on the health and medical research sector;
  • Options for how the next strategy could address these critical issues and factors; and
  • Given the new and significant impact of COVID-19 on health services and health research how should the new strategy address COVID-19 related topics and impacts.

A webinar will be held on September 28. Submissions close October 11.


As part of the university research commercialisation project being run by the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment, the Department has developed a standard Intellectual Property framework. The purpose of this framework is to enable university-led research commercialisation and collaboration.

STA will engage in this consultation. We seek your input on questions posed in the consultation paper, including:

  1. Should such standard agreements be mandatory or optional? 
  2. What is needed to ensure the framework can be applied consistently?
  3. What parts of standard agreements need to be flexible rather than fixed?
  4. If you have experience with the current Australian IP toolkit, what has worked and what hasn’t?
  5. Are there other agreements and process that need to be considered in implementing an IP framework (cross-institutional research, international collaborations, IP resulting from PhD candidate research etc)
  6. If this IP framework has merit, should it be applied to ARC and DESE research programs or all publicly funded research?
  7. What materials would make it easier to implement and understand the new framework?

To provide input to STA’s submission, please email Policy Manager Peter Derbyshire before 8 October.

Submissions to the department close 18 October.


Reports of interest:

Opportunities for submissions:

Further information: Peter Derbyshire, STA Policy Manager -


To add a conference or event: contact STA Events & Membership Manager Lucy Guest –


  • If you would like to be one of 100 women in STEMM on the next Homeward Bound voyage you should apply by 14 October. The visionary leadership program runs for one year and culminates in a voyage to Antarctica.
  • Applications are now open for the 2021 Tasmanian STEM Excellence Awards, celebrating Tasmanians who have excelled in their field. Apply by 27 September.
  • The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) offers undergraduate students from around Australia scholarships to spend their summer holidays working on supervised research projects. The scholarships are open to honours and masters students, and are a fantastic opportunity to broaden academic interests and experience. Apply by 30 September.
  • The Women in Leadership Development program supports women attaining and succeeding in leadership positions in the STEM sector. Applications are open for their 2022 program until 10 October.
  • Curious Minds are looking for enthusiastic women to become volunteer Curious Minds STEM coaches to empower girls in years 9 and 10 to excel in STEM. Applications close Sunday 3 October.
  • Women & Leadership Australia is offering partial scholarships to women in STEM areas wanting to undertake leadership training. Applications close 24 September.
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is looking to fill two Research Fellow positions open to female applicants only at a Centre node and in a related research area of your choice.


Do you know of a terrific STEM idea, technology, innovation, product or program that has been successfully commercialised? Then we want to hear from you. STA is launching a new project where we’ll aim to highlight research translation and commercialisation success stories. Get in contact with our Communications Manager, Martyn Pearce.

Get in the picture: Are you following STA on Instagram? If you’re a member organisation using Insta as one of your communication channels, please follow us and we’ll follow you back!

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