Two of the Academy’s objective are the promotion of excellence in scientific research and the provision of independent scientific advice to assist policy development and program delivery. As part of achieving these key objectives the Academy undertakes specialist projects. These projects focus on highly topical issues where there is a critical need to summarise and communicate science to a wide audience.
Australia in 2050
Towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable way of living
The complex challenges of environmental sustainability and social equity have become increasingly important for Australia’s future. How science and scientists can contribute to considering and addressing these complex challenges has been the focus of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Academy project – Towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable way of living. This three year project, commenced in mid-2010, has two main phases, the first of which has now concluded.
Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 is a two volume book that is the culmination of the project’s first phase. Volumes one and two are the result of a five day residential workshop held in Bowral in 2011. Negotiating our future’s first volume contains a series of chapters that synthesise group discussions on the challenges of environmental sustainability and social equity. Each group used different foci (system resilience, social and cultural perspectives, scenarios for Australian futures or quantitative models) to consider these complex challenges. Using the five days of vibrant workshop discussions, and resultant book chapters, a synthesis was developed. The key idea resulting from the workshop and summarised in the first synthesis chapter is an exciting proposal for national foresighting through the development of Living scenarios.
The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers publication was prepared by a Working Group and Oversight Committee made up of Academy Fellows and other Australian scientists with internationally recognised expertise in immunology. It was launched on Monday 26 November 2012, with both hard and electronic copies being made availabe.
The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers was prepared by a Working Group and Oversight Committee made up of Academy Fellows and other Australian scientists with internationally recognised expertise in climate science.
It was launched at the Shine Dome on Monday 16 August 2010 as part of National Science Week.
National Nanotechnology Research Strategy
The Australian Academy of Science is preparing a research strategy for nanotechnology with support from the Policy Section of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy, Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. This research strategy will highlight Australia’s current research strengths across a broad range of nanotechnology disciplines and subsequently identify opportunities for these strengths to be leveraged over the coming decade.
Australia’s resilient economy and high standard of living are supported by production and export of minerals to developed and developing nations. Our international competitive advantage in minerals is based on huge, high-quality deposits that were discovered in the last century. Demand for Australian minerals continues to expand but replacement by new economic mineral deposits has not kept pace, despite significant exploration.
Representing research, government and industry sectors, the UNCOVER Committee has convened under the aegis of the Australian Academy of Science to address the decline in Australian mineral exploration success through implementation of the 2010 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank recommendations.
The Computer Science project is the first of the Academy's new initiatives to conduct science foresighting studies. These studies will consider the scientific potential for specific scientific areas of study over the next few decades. The Future Science – Computer Science scopes future capacities and applications of high performance computing over the next 10-20 years. The project culminated with the production of a report in 2013. Planning is underway for further foresighting studies.