National Committees for Science

Biennial meeting of National Committees for Science Chairs

The chairs of the National Committees met at the Shine Dome in April

The Chairs of the Academy’s National Committees for Science met at the Shine Dome in April for their biennial meeting. The committee chairs shared their short- and long-term goals and considered how they can enhance their work with the Academy to more effectively and strategically promote their disciplines. Academy President, Professor Andrew Holmes AM PresAA FRS FTSE, Vice-Presidents Professor TJ Higgins AO FAA FTSE, Professor C Jagadish AC FAA FTSE and Foreign Secretary Professor Cheryl Praeger AM FAA also participated. A report of the outcomes of the meeting will be published on the Academy’s website.

Review into membership levels of ICSU unions

The Academy is undertaking a 10-year review into the benefits of membership of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and its member organisations. The Academy is Australia’s adhering body to ICSU and 20 of its scientific unions and 11 interdisciplinary bodies. The review is expected to be complete in late 2016 and the recommendations will come into effect in 2017.

The National Committees, which advise the Academy on Australia’s representation to the international unions, are being consulted throughout the review process. For more information about the review please contact the National Committees office at

Committees in focus

National Committee for Material Science and Engineering

The National Committee for Materials Science and Engineering is aligned with the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS) and includes representation from the Australian Materials Research Society (AMRS). The committee chair will soon move from Professor Jim Williams FAA FTSE (ANU) to Professor Jagadish AC FAA FTSE.

The committee believes that networking and engagement with the materials science community is vital for this highly interdisciplinary scientific discipline. Through the AMRS, which acts as an umbrella organisation with links to many Australian scientific societies, the NCMSE fosters and encourages discipline-wide communication, with a particular focus on early- and mid-career materials research scientists. The AMRS is pleased to be hosting the International Conference of Young Researchers in Advanced Materials (ICYRAM 2018) in Adelaide in October 2018 on the theme of Translating Science into Commercial Reality.

National Committee for Chemistry

The National Committee for Chemistry is chaired by Professor Paul Mulvaney FAA. The committee advises the Academy on matters relating to the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which it undertakes in partnership with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

The committee seeks to shape future directions for chemistry in Australia through the production of a decadal plan for the discipline. The plan, Chemistry for a better life—the decadal plan for Australian chemistry 2016–25, was launched in February. It is the first step in advancing Australia’s most important value-adding sector and the result of extensive consultation with the chemistry community. The plan proposes solutions to help Australia to reach its potential as a world class international manufacturing hub, contributing to Australia’s prosperity.

In addition to its national strategy work, the committee works closely with the National Committee for Physics in nominating the biennial Geoffrey Frew Fellow. The Fellowship is presented to distinguished overseas scientists in order to participate in the Australian Spectroscopy Conferences and present travelling lectures around Australia. The current Frew Fellow Professor Ursula Keller from ETH Zürich participated in the Australian Spectroscopy conference ANZCOP in Adelaide in December 2015 and gave five stimulating talks in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in April 2016. 

More information

For more information on the meetings and other business of the 22 National Committees for Science, read the quarterly National Committees for Science Update newsletter, published for the information of the members.

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