Science decadal plans aim to build a stronger, healthier, more prosperous Australia

Plans under development

Decadal plans will make recommendations regarding research directions, infrastructure priorities, workforce needs, career structure and educational reform.

Several of the Academy’s National Committees for Science are leading the development of 10-year (decadal) plans for chemistry, agricultural science, and the Earth sciences. The committees are seeking input from across government, industry, academia and the education sector to identify the future needs of each discipline and outline priorities for investment over the next 10 years.

The plans will make recommendations regarding research directions, infrastructure priorities, workforce needs, career structure and educational reform.

The National Committee for Chemistry, chaired by Professor Paul Mulvaney FAA, presented the first draft of the Chemistry Decadal Plan to the committee in July. The Plan is in the exposure draft phase and is available to the scientific community for feedback. The development of the plan is on schedule and the Academy expects to launch the final version toward the end of the year.

Chaired by Professor Sue O’Reilly FAA, the National Committee for Earth Sciences is also progressing its decadal plan, with a survey to assess the current state of knowledge in Earth sciences in Australia. The survey will be distributed to the scientific community in the coming months. Dr Bill Shaw, President of the Australian Geoscience Council, has joined the steering committee for the decadal plan.

The National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, chaired by Dr Jeremy Burdon FAA FTSE, has begun the consultation process for the Agriculture Decadal Plan. Meetings will continue to be held around Australia over the next few months, bringing together representatives from a broad spectrum of the agricultural sciences. These workshops aim to identify and prioritise the most important scientific questions in the field for the next decade. Workshops have already been held in Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide. The next workshops will be held in Wagga Wagga, Sydney and Melbourne.

photo of participants in the Adelaide workshop for the Agriculture Decadal Plan.
Participants in the Adelaide workshop for the Agriculture Decadal Plan.

If you would like to contribute to developing these plans, please email the Academy, or read more about the LASP project and the decadal plans for science.

Funding for these decadal plans was allocated from the Australian Research Council’s Learned Academies Special Projects scheme.

National Committee for Astronomy launches decadal plan

Cover of astronomy decadal plan

Australia in the era of global astronomy: The decadal plan for Australian astronomy 2016–2025 was launched on 7 July at the Astronomical Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting in Fremantle and on 12 August at a Parliamentary Friends of Science event in Canberra.

Led by the National Committee for Astronomy, Chaired by Professor Stuart Wyithe, the plan is the culmination of an astronomy community-wide process to produce an agreed strategic vision for the next decade. This is the third in a series of highly successful Astronomy decadal plans, which have been referred to by government as the benchmark for guiding discipline development.

The plan sets out a roadmap for Australian astronomy to continue to make world-leading discoveries over the coming decade, achieved through a strong platform of cutting-edge optical/infrared and radio telescopes, supported by theoretical and computational astrophysics.

The next decade will see major development for the international Square Kilometre Array, and the advent of 30-metre class extremely large optical/infrared telescopes such as the Giant Magellan Telescope. Professor Wyithe said these investments will come to fruition in the coming decade, providing key opportunities for innovation and industry partnerships, and positioning Australia to continue as a global astronomy leader in the future.

Mid-term review of Australian Space Science decadal plan

The National Committee for Space and Radio Science is currently conducting a mid-term review the 2010–19 Decadal Plan for Australian Space Science, which started with a census of the Australian Space and Radio Science (SRS) community earlier this year and will continue at the Australian Space Research Conference in Canberra in late September.

Newsletter number 101 September 2015

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