Lights, camera, action! Next week, we’ll raise the curtain on National Science Week – an annual event to focus hearts and minds on the vast contribution that science makes to society. Once again, Science & Technology Australia will deliver the official national launch in partnership with Questacon. It will feature champions of science from the sector and politics led by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic. Join us on Wednesday 9 August 8–9am AEST at the Theatrette in Parliament House. Please register ASAP!
At the launch, we’ll unveil the 2023 data from the 3M State of Science Index. This global annual survey by Ipsos tracks public sentiment on trust in science and scientists, and consistently shows the overwhelmingly strong support people have for both. We look forward to sharing the data!
We’d love it if you would amplify our social media content on STA's channels to highlight National Science Week. And please tag us when you share your own activities on socials – and use the hashtag #ScienceWeek so we can herogram you! We want to flood social media with a public celebration of Australian science.
This week, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO issued an important paper on Trust in Science. The paper sets out the clear distinction between ‘research quality’ and ‘research integrity’. As Dr Foley observes these terms are often used interchangeably when they are different things. As she notes, the result of that confusion is that debate about the quality of a piece of research can be seen as a reflection on scientific integrity. We applaud her drawing attention to this essential distinction and would encourage everyone to read this important resource.
Also this week, the Science & Technology Australia team met with some of Deakin University’s inspiring institutes who are STA member organisations. Deakin is one of Australia’s powerhouse science and technology universities and we’re thrilled to have them as members. The range of life and society-enhancing research that the institutes are working on is inspiring. STA is privileged to represent all of our member organisations and we are always grateful for the contribution you make to the world.
Earlier this year, STA member SparkLabs Cultiv8 put out a call out to the STA community for the next big idea in the agri–food tech sector. Congratulations to the ten startups funded through the CleanTech Accelerator! Keep an eye out for our next callout to the STA community later this year for the 2024 round – if you have a clever cleantech innovation worthy of a $100,000 investment, this could be you!
Last week, the NHMRC said goodbye to outgoing CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO. Professor Kelso has led the NHMRC since 2015. She is a wise and thoughtful leader who has forged an extraordinary legacy of achievement in this role as a public policy reformer. We thank Anne for her service – and we welcome new NHMRC CEO Professor Steve Wesselingh. We look forward to hearing from Professor Kelso at next week’s Science Policy Fellows Alumni dinner.
Finally, I echo the beautiful words of STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson in memoriam about former Science & Technology Australia President Professor Jim Piper. Australia’s science community turned out in force on Wednesday at his memorial service in Sydney to remember this extraordinary scientist, leader, mentor, entrepreneur and friend. Throughout his remarkable life, Jim nurtured the skills and helped to launch the careers of so many other great Australian scientists. And he invested vast time and energy in the STA community, delighting in your successes. We'll miss him.
Until next time,
CEO, Science & Technology Australia