Recent contributions to government policies—June to August 2018

August 28, 2018

The Academy regularly provides the Australian Government with feedback on important policy measures. Following is a round-up of the Academy’s submissions since June.

See all Academy submissions in full

House of Representatives Inquiry into Funding Australia’s Research

Growing Australia’s base of public support and facilitating further private investment in research and development is necessary if we are to keep pace scientifically and economically with international collaborators and competitors over the coming decades. 

The critical requirements for Australia in the context of research funding are:

  1. long-term funding growth and program stability
  2. a comprehensive, funded international STEM strategy with capacity to drive strategic country-level engagement with major science initiatives and with priority partners
  3. gender equity and diversity in STEM
  4. increased collaboration between academia and industry
  5. streamlined and efficient research funding processes. 

Read the submission (6 July 2018)

The Academy’s Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum also made a submission to the inquiry.

Read the EMCR Forum's submission (30 June 2018)

Supplementary on the Review of the Defence Trade Controls Act

The Academy made a supplementary submission to the Review of the Defence Trade Control Act in response to a suite of proposals made by the Department of Defence. The Academy believes that further restrictions on Australian researchers’ ability to engage in international research collaboration would be significantly detrimental to Australia’s national interest.

Read the submission (16 July 2018)

Senate Inquiry into the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program

The Academy welcomes the intent of the recent increase in funding for some aspects of improved stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef. The Academy's position has always been that research to better understand, manage and protect the reef should be premised on excellence, conducted at scale, focused on science-informed priorities, coordinated across agencies, and supported by rigorous and transparent processes of peer-review.

The Academy notes with concern many of the ongoing stressors to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The proposed funding does little to address these issues. In the aftermath of unprecedented back-to-back coral bleaching and mass mortality in the northern and central reef, the Academy is concerned with the direction of attention away from curbing the escalation of the major stressors on the reef in favour of small-scale restoration projects . The Academy is also concerned about the redirection of funding from experienced and well established Commonwealth agencies in favour of a nongovernmental organisation (NGO).

Read the submission (20 July 2018)

Women in STEM Discussion Paper

The gender disparity in STEM education and employment outcomes is both inherently inequitable and represents a significant cost to Australia’s economic prosperity and national interests. The Academy firmly supports the principle that all Australians should be afforded equal opportunities to engage with, participate in and benefit from STEM education and employment.

Many of the changes that are required to realise this vision rest with businesses, educational institutions and with sector and community organisations, while others fall within the remit of Australian governments. The Australian Government and sector organisations have invested significantly in recent years in programs and policies to promote engagement and participation of girls and women both in the general workforce, and specifically in STEM. However, programs in Australia today have in the main been developed independently and without a coordinated approach. As a result, they are widely variable in their delivery mechanisms and scale, and only a few programs have in place formal mechanisms for evaluating efficacy and impacts. For this reason, the Academy warmly welcomes and supports the Australian Government’s commitment to developing a national strategy to coordinate efforts to increase girls’ and women’s participation in STEM. 

Read the submission (27 July 2018)

The Academy’s Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum also made a submission to the discussion paper.

Read the EMCR Forum's submission (27 July 2018)

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