Canberra to canvas opinion on science direction

The federal government has launched what it called a national conversation to guide the direction of Australia’s science priorities.

Launching a national debate at Burwood Girls High School in Sydney, Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic encouraged Australians to get involved in the discussion, to help identify priority areas that will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits for Australia.

Husic said: “With our scientific knowledge constantly evolving and improving, a science system geared to our future is essential for our national prosperity and the well-being of the Australian people.

“We want to hear the views of a wide range of Australians on the issues they are facing that require a solution drawing on the breadth of our science and research communities.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley (pictured) will engage people from across Australia over the coming months as part of plans to lead the revitalisation of science priorities.

Husic said: “A discussion paper to guide the conversation has now been released.

“Investing in science is investing in our future. Engaging with Australians is key to refreshing Australia’s National Science and Research Priorities and our National Science Statement.”

Dr Foley said she wanted to see input from as wide a cross-section of the community as possible, including the research and business communities, people at the cutting edge of innovation and commercialisation as well as indigenous Australians.

She said: “This is about coming up with a set of priorities that will guide science in the years to come, ensuring we are all pulling in the same direction.

“We want to ensure we can tackle the big challenges – and that means supporting a strong and energetic research sector and a real sense of collective focus.”

An online portal has been set up to allow people to submit their views. Dr Foley will also conduct a series of roundtables with a broad cross section of the Australian community.

Picture: CSIRO/Dr Cathy Foley

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