Log in

News from Science & Technology Australia

16 Dec 2022 10:41 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

And that’s almost a wrap for 2022! 

It’s been a year of remarkable change for the science and technology sector - and strong growth and influence for Science & Technology Australia.

This week, we launched the new National Industry PhD Program. Over the next decade, this groundbreaking initiative will equip 1300 PhD scholars with next-level industry skills and experience, and make it far easier for businesses to reach into the country’s immense research sector talent pool. The program will be delivered for the Department of Education by a consortium led by Campus Plus (one of our members), Science & Technology Australia, and Cruxes Innovation (also an STA member). Applications for the program will open early next year. Sign up now to the mailing list for updates (and please help spread the word!)

As CEO of Science & Technology Australia, I’m deeply honoured to be among the group of leaders and experts invited this week to serve on the new Ministerial Reference Group to be chaired by Education Minister Jason Clare MP as part of the Universities Accord process. This reference group will be a sounding board and source of advice to the team working on the accord. The Accord Panel is being led by Professor Mary O’Kane AO - and the span of topics it has been asked to consider thoughtfully are broad. I’m so looking forward to contributing. 

What a big finish to an exciting year of achievements for our community. 

The year started with the announcement of a $2.2 billion research commercialisation fund by the Government. Ahead of the election, Science & Technology Australia confirmed written support for these measures from both major parties of Government, ensuring these investments continued whatever the outcome of the election. STA has made the case tirelessly for a research translation and commercialisation fund. This is one of many major wins for our members in 2022.

Also in February, Science & Technology Australia’s game-changing Superstars of STEM program secured renewed Australian Government funding to continue for a further four years. This acclaimed program has now helped more than 150 brilliant women scientists to turbo-charge their profiles and careers by becoming skilled media commentators. It is a shining example of a hugely successful initiative to advance diversity in STEM, which can inform the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review's work.

In October, we recruited another outstanding cohort of 60 women and non-binary scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians as Superstars of STEM. We announced these inspiring new Superstars in November, and can’t wait to start them in their program in 2023. We are deeply grateful for Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic’s continuing strong support for this program, and for the backing of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

In March, Science & Technology Australia delivered a high-impact Science Meets Parliament - featuring global science communications star Professor Brian Cox, two Nobel Laureates and a host of other star talent. The event included our trademark high-quality professional development for scientists, meetings with Parliamentarians, and fabulous Australia-wide gala dinners in June. 

STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson delivered a landmark speech at the National Press Club in March. He made a compelling argument for Australia to train its first generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists as the next step in the drive to commercialise more great Australian research. This is a powerful plan that STA will continue to advocate in 2023. 

In June, Minister Husic’s brilliant speech at the SMP gala dinner outlined the Government’s commitment to a “future powered by science”.

In August, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Minister Husic jointly launched National Science Week with a strong turnout of MPs and Senators from all across the Parliament, including Shadow Science Minister Paul Fletcher and former Science Minister Melissa Price. Science & Technology Australia was honoured to work with Questacon - the home of National Science Week - to deliver the official launch and opening media for a week to engage more Australians in science and technology. We continued our partnership with 3M to release the 2022 findings from the 3M State of Science Index. This year’s study revealed the incredibly high levels of trust Australians have in science to combat misinformation, and the public’s strong desire to hear more from scientists in the media.

In November, Science & Technology Australia delivered a powerful event for the Parliamentary Friends of Science on clean, green energy technologies– with a strong turnout of MPs and Senators – with support from our friends at the AAS and ATSE.

Science & Technology Australia’s membership grew strongly in 2022. We are building powerful momentum in our role as the key connector of people and ideas in Australia’s STEM sector. 

STA now represents 120 member organisations - up from 77 in 2020 - and 105,000 scientists and technologists nationwide. This is no accident. Over the last few years, STA has been more visible in public policy discussions, generated more media coverage, and shaped more legislation and policy decisions affecting our members. Putting together our Policy Wins page was a strong reminder that together, STA and its members are a powerful voice for the sector. 

We are deeply fortunate to be led by outstanding experts from our sector. Our powerhouse President Professor Mark Hutchinson and stellar STA Board Secretary Jas Chambers have overseen a year where STA has revitalised its constitution and governance, setting itself up for the next stage of the organisation’s growth. 

Mark’s outstanding leadership in the sector was recognised in his appointment to the ARC Advisory Committee to the CEO in April, and to the ARC Review Committee’s eminent panel in August. When he steps aside next year after our next AGM, he will pass the torch to Professor Sharath Sriram, our amazing Policy Chair. Mark and Sharath - alongside our dynamic Vice-President Dr Anita Goh - are standard bearers for the present and future of science, and the immense role it can play in creating the economy of tomorrow. We thank them, and all of our brilliant STA Board members for their generous contributions to STA and the sector.

STA is delivering powerful change for its members and the sector. This is a testament to the drive, creativity, and hard work of everyone involved with STA, with special thanks to our superb staff - Dr Sandra Gardam, Lucy Guest, Dr Sarah Tynan, Martyn Pearce, Evelyn Fetterplace, Emma Hibbert, Emily Downie and Shannon Wong - and our finance whiz Penny Thomson.

And huge thanks to our brilliant members who keep our finger on the pulse of the issues Australian scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians face, and help us shape clever policy ideas to solve complex challenges. We look forward to working with and for you in 2023. In the meantime, we hope you all get a well-deserved and rejuvenating break.  

Until next time, 

Misha Schubert 
CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software