At a time of intense pressure on public finances, last week’s federal Budget included some modest but important new investments in science and technology. Science & Technology Australia welcomed the Government’s recognition that science is one of the smartest strategic investments we can make in the country’s economic future. Science Minister Ed Husic posted this helpful explainer of Budget initiatives in his key portfolios.
As always, Science & Technology Australia held a Post-Budget Briefing to share extra detail with our members on the Budget outlook for STEM, the research sector (including universities and Australia’s major research granting agencies) and industry sectors. STA’s Policy Director Dr Sarah Tynan - with quality input from across the STA staff team, our Policy Chair Sharath Sriram and President Mark Hutchinson - shared our analysis of key measures and consultation opportunities. Our members can access our policy brief in the members-only section of the STA website.
On Friday, we also convened the powerful grassroots STEM leadership network of Science & Technology Australia at our annual Leadership Dialogue. This event ensures valuable insights from the membership on issues affecting the science and technology sector inform our advocacy in the year ahead. This gives STA a uniquely powerful ability to speak on behalf of the nation’s scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.
The 2022 Leadership Dialogue started to gather crucial insights to feed into the Government’s plan to revitalise Australia’s Science Priorities.
The review’s terms of reference propose expressly elevating and investing in First Nations science. At our Leadership Dialogue, Science & Technology Australia’s 111-strong member organisation network and the thousands of scientists they represent unanimously backed this proposal. It was a powerful endorsement from Australia’s science community for Australia to elevate the vast STEM knowledge and deep expertise of First Nations people, communities and organisations in Australia’s national science and research priorities.
Next week will see an historic first in-person gathering for the National Indigenous STEM Professionals Network (NISTEMP) on Gadigal Country in Sydney. NISTEMP draws together champions and leaders in First Nations STEM to mentor the next generations into STEM studies and careers, and deepen the exchange of First Nations STEM knowledges. STA has been honoured to support the formation of the network since 2020, and STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson and I are delighted to attend the inaugural event at UTS.
We are delighted this fortnight to welcome four new STA member organisations: Australian Science Communicators, Beaker Street, The Centre of Resource Excellence Learning Foundation, and the Australian National Phenome Centre. Australian Science Communicators is the peak body for science communicators and science journalists in Australia. Beaker Street is a brilliant Tasmania-based not-for-profit making science accessible to all and connecting the public with science and scientists. The Centre of Resource Excellence Learning Foundation works to broaden the opportunities for students to succeed in STEM careers that are aligned with the needs of industries and economies of the future by turbo-charging how we teach STEM in schools. And the Australian National Phenome Centre is a bioscience powerhouse that is solving some of the world’s most challenging problems in food, health and the environment.
We are thrilled to welcome them all as members, and add their voice and expertise to our advocacy for the sector.
Want to work with your local Parliamentarian, represent the science community and get your expertise to decision-makers? Apply now for STA’s prestigious STEM Ambassadors program. We have 25 MPs and Senators from around the country eager to forge a relationship with a STEM professional. But be quick, applications for this sought-after program close on Monday.
Finally, congratulations to our amazing STA Superstar of STEM Dr Zoe Doubleday, who won an ATSE Award for her groundbreaking work to develop new tracing technologies to prevent seafood fraud, and Dr Marissa Betts, whose beautiful film Rola: Stone took out the Geoscience Professionals Award at the Earth Futures Festival. You can watch that stunning short film here. Congratulations also to Professor Saeid Nahavandi from our member organisation The Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation at Deakin University. Professor Nahavandi won the ATSE Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his incredible work on intelligent systems and simulation technologies, including haptics.
Until next time,
CEO, Science & Technology Australia