User login

About us


The Academy was founded on 16 February 1954 by Australian Fellows of the Royal Society of London with the distinguished physicist Sir Mark Oliphant as founding President. It was granted a Royal Charter establishing the Academy as an independent body but with government endorsement.

The Academy's Constitution was modeled on that of the Royal Society of London. It receives government grants towards its activities but has no statutory obligation to government.

President Andrew Holmes


Professor Andrew Holmes AM PresAA FTSE FRS

Professor Andrew Holmes is a Laureate Professor of the School of Chemistry at The University of Melbourne. In October 2004 he was appointed ARC Federation Fellow and inaugural VESKI Fellow at the Bio21 Institute at The University of Melbourne and at CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies. Professor Holmes has been recognised for his groundbreaking work on light-emitting polymers. He has also been the recipient of a long list of awards including the Royal Society’s Royal Medal and the Descartes Prize. He was elected to the Academy in 2006 and served as Foreign Secretary from 2010 to 2014. He became President of the Academy in May 2014.


The objectives of the Academy are to promote science through a range of activities. It has defined four major program areas:

  • recognition of outstanding contributions to science
  • education and public awareness
  • science policy
  • international relations
Strategic Plan 2015-2020
Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Strategic plan: 2015–2020


The vision of the Australian Academy of Science is a scientifically informed community that embraces excellence in science and is guided by and enjoys the benefits of scientific endeavour


The Australian Academy of Science champions, celebrates and supports excellence in Australian science, promotes international scientific engagement, builds public awareness and understanding of science and provides independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice.

Excellence in science

The Academy will champion, celebrate and support excellence in Australian science.

Our objectives are to:

  1. celebrate and support excellence in science
  2. foster a strong and diverse cohort of future scientific leaders
  3. ensure election of Academy Fellows is representative of Australia’s scientific strengths.

We will achieve these by:

  • developing and promoting the Academy’s science awards
  • supporting the National Committees for science to champion their disciplines
  • producing expert publications
  • supporting the Early and Mid-Career Researcher Forum
  • holding prestigious Theo-Murphy events for emerging scientists
  • working to improve gender equity in Australian science
  • continually improving the Academy’s election processes.

We expect to achieve wide-spread recognition of scientific excellence, stronger scientific disciplines, and a strong cohort of emerging scientific leaders.

International engagement

The Academy will promote international scientific engagement

Our objectives are to:

  1. facilitate Australia’s access to global science and technology, and promote strategic partnerships between Australian and overseas researchers
  2. contribute Australian expertise and leadership in regional and global science networks.

We will achieve these by:

  • assisting the Government to deliver its international science activities
  • advocating for a strategic and comprehensive international science engagement program
  • developing our international exchange programs
  • providing science leadership in South-East Asia
  • nominating Australian scientists to international bodies.

We expect to achieve better opportunities for Australian scientists to work with and benefit from international collaborations, and a stronger focus on science in our region.

Scientific literacy

The Academy will build public awareness and understanding of science.

Our objectives are to:

  1. enhance the quality of Australian school science and maths education
  2. expand public awareness and appreciation of science.

We will achieve these by:

  • enhancing, sustaining and extending the impact of our Primary Connections and Science by Doing programs
  • seeking opportunities to develop a national ‘maths by inquiry’ school education program
  • developing and promoting our flagship NOVA: Science for Curious Minds program
  • increasing our public and social media reach using innovative communication strategies
  • running national science events
  • holding an annual scientific symposium.

We expect to achieve enhanced school science and maths education, with more engaged, numerate and scientifically literate students, and a greater public understanding and appreciation of science and of the Academy.

Influential voice

The Academy will provide independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice.

Our objectives are to:

  1. be a trusted, authoritative and influential source of advice to government and industry
  2. ensure Australia has a comprehensive and effective national science strategy
  3. encourage the science sector to speak with a unified voice, with the Academy taking a lead role.

We will achieve these by:

  • working with Fellows to provide expert scientific policy advice in identified priority areas
  • collaborating with ACOLA and likeminded science organisations
  • establishing a national science sector alliance to advise government and advocate for change
  • engaging with politicians and policy makers
  • building a compelling case for science funding.

We expect to achieve a stronger voice for science, a greater understanding of the Academy’s role in policy, and increased influence with government, industry and other sector stakeholders.

Operational excellence

Underpinning it all is our commitment to operational excellence in governance, human resources, financial and business management. Our objectives are to ensure long-term sustainability, efficient operation and to embrace the highest standards of professionalism in order to allow our small and dedicated secretariat to achieve our ambitious strategic agenda with and on behalf of the Academy Fellowship.

Coat of arms

Academy of Science Coat of ArmsAzure a representation of the building of the Australian Academy of Science at Canberra ensigned of a Mullet of seven points Argent on a Canton Argent a representation of the Royal Crown proper And for the Crest On a Wreath of the Colours a demi Swan rousant Sable Ducally gorged Or the wings charged with a conventional representation of the nucleus of an Atom with three Particles in orbit Or as the same are in the margin hereof more plainly depicted. On the dexter side a Kangaroo and on the sinister side a Talbot both proper and Ducally gorged Or as the same are also in the margin hereof more plainly depicted the whole to be borne and used for ever hereafter by the Australian Academy of Science on Seals or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms.

The Academy Council had certain allusions in mind when choosing elements of the arms.

On the shield there are three charges. The seven-pointed silver star represents the Commonwealth of Australia. The representation of the Academy building was used because of its unique and simple design; its use conforms to ancient heraldic practice when it was common for the bearer of arms to include a conventionalised representation of his own castle. The third charge, a royal crown on a silver canton, was included by special permission of The Queen in recognition of the royal foundation of the Academy in 1954 when the Charter was presented by hand of the Sovereign in Canberra.

In the crest biological science is represented by the swan and physical science by the conventional symbol on its wing. Moreover the black swan is uniquely Australian. The use of the ducal coronet might be regarded as a symbol of the Academy’s status.

The dexter supporter is taken from the Australian arms, but with the heraldic ‘differencing’ of the coronet. The sinister supporter is identical with the supporters of the arms of the Royal Society of London and was included, with the permission of the Council of the Society, to signify the close relations of the two bodies and, in particular, the fact that Fellows of the Royal Society resident in Australia made the first moves to establish the Academy.

Academy secretariat

The secretariat of the Academy is home to a vibrant team of experts including scientists, educators, policy and project managers, and communicators. Led by Chief Executive Dr Sue Meek AO, the staff support Fellows and National Committees for Science to champion scientific excellence, promote and disseminate scientific knowledge, and provide independent scientific advice.

Ethical investing

The Academy’s Investment Subcommittee is responsible for the composition of the Academy’s investments. The subcommittee includes the Academy President and Treasurer and external experts.

The subcommittee makes investment decisions by giving due consideration to conflicts of interest, both actual and perceived, with Academy policy statements, thereby ensuring the Academy’s high standing in the community is maintained. Direct investment in companies that source income primarily from gambling, tobacco, the sex trade, environmentally damaging and / or exploitative practices and the manufacture and / or supply of munitions should be avoided.