Message from the Chief Executive

August 30, 2019
Anna-Maria Arabia

August saw the Academy launch its ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan. With the valued input of Fellows and external Indigenous advisors, it is a practical and  achievable action plan for the next 12 months. I encourage all Fellows and others involved with the Academy’s activities to become familiar with the plan and consider how, as individuals and as an organisation, we can collectively bring about change that steps us closer to reconciliation in Australia.

I am delighted that two very significant steps have been taken toward the implementation of the national 10-year plan to advance women in STEM launched just five months ago. Early in August the Academy published the STEM Women searchable database that connects women with career-advancing opportunities, and makes it much easier to find women experts in a wide range of disciplines. The database now lists nearly 2000 women, some of whom have already accessed new opportunities . Its development would not have been possible without the support of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and Science & Technology Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Science Media Centre.

The second achievement was the recent call by the Minister for Science and Technology Karen Andrews for organisations to become Women in STEM Champions, and publish their gender equity progress on the STEM Women website. This enables STEM sector leaders and emerging champions to share knowledge, act, evaluate and create accountability, all of which were identified as crucial to improvements in many industries and sectors across Australia.

I encourage you to read the Academy’s recently released Q&A on genetic modification (GM) to help more people understand the science of GM. This publication, like the immunisation and climate change Q&As before it, will become a benchmark source for people looking for credible, authoritative and accessible information, not only in Australia but across the world.

Of course, as well as all these achievements, August is always a full month as National Science Week focuses our attention on the value of making science accessible and fun for everyone. This year the Academy was involved in a wide range of activities and I encourage you to read the week’s overview in this month’s newsletter. Thank you to the many Fellows and other scientists, educators, government and industry representatives and community members who supported us, and to all  who participated in the events. We’re already thinking of ideas for next year!

I hope you enjoy reading the August newsletter.

Anna-Maria Arabia

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science

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