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News from Science & Technology Australia

15 Feb 2022 1:20 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

What a hectic fortnight it has been.

It began with the Prime Minister’s announcement at the National Press Club of a $2.2 billion investment in research commercialisation. This includes a $1.6 billion fund - Australia’s Economic Accelerator – to offer grants up to $500,000 and $5 million to enable researchers to take their science and technology to proof-of-concept, prototype and market. Science & Technology Australia’s long-term leadership has advocated for just such a scheme. Further details on the package can be found on the DESE website. We were particularly delighted that two of STA’s key leadership figures and commercialisation trailblazers – STA President Mark Hutchinson and STA Policy Chair Sharath Sriram – featured as successful case studies in the action plan. You can also find FAQs on elements of the plan here and here. STA warmly welcomed the investment.

And the fortnight closes today with excellent news for women in STEM. Today, the Australian Government and Science Minister Melissa Price have announced a $2 million investment in our game-changing Superstars of STEM program. This will extend the opportunities of the program to another 120 women over the next four years. We thank the Government and Minister Price for this powerful investment in the talent of Australia’s women in STEM. This unique program - created by STA in 2017 - works powerfully to boost the public and media profiles of diverse women in STEM and fast-track their careers. By building this critical mass of visible role models, and through skilled outreach into the nation’s schools, this program is inspiring the next generations of girls and young women into STEM. Its success is documented in a detailed evaluation report that STA has launched today. It shares data, case studies and clear evidence of its success. We publish it to share knowledge of how to spur gains in pursuit of gender equity. 

The Australian Research Council Amendment (Ensuring Research Independence) Bill 2018  was this week referred to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee for an inquiry and rapid report by 15 March. We expect a call for submissions will be made soon. STA continues to engage on these and related matters.

STA’s Board met this week for our first full Board of the new year. STA’s cluster representatives expertly relay information from your cluster reports and meetings to the full Board to inform our whole-of-sector advocacy. We also held a strategic planning session to set STA’s strategic framework and approve the annual work plan for 2022. It’s going to be a very busy year!

Finally, it’s now just over two weeks until Science Meets Parliament! If you haven’t already, please register your delegates ASAP and encourage your members to apply for one of our coveted scholarships - open until Monday. It’s a powerful program of skills development.

Until next time, 

Misha Schubert 
CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

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