70th anniversary President’s message

February 16, 2024
Academy President Professor Chennupati Jagadish.

Today we celebrate our 70th anniversary since the foundation of the Australian Academy of Science.

Our country has a deep reservoir of talent within the sciences, including some of the world’s most eminent researchers and professionals.

Nearly 600 Fellows are currently elected to the Australian Academy of Science for their outstanding contributions. Each Fellow is nominated by their peers and chosen through a rigorous election process. They are our national treasure.

Every day, the Academy convenes its Fellows and other researchers and draws on their expertise to bring science to the service of the nation.

We play a crucial role in translating scientific knowledge in a timely way, so it is available to inform policy decisions and actions, enabling you, and everyone in our community, to benefit.

As we enter our eighth decade we are as committed as ever to our mission to advance Australia as a nation that embraces scientific knowledge and whose people enjoy the benefits of science.

Along with other Australian Fellows of the Royal Society of London, the Academy’s first President, Sir Mark Oliphant, chose to stay in Australia rather than pursue lucrative opportunities overseas.

When asked why, he gave this reply.

“(I have a) deep confidence in the part which science can play in making us strong and prosperous, and an idea that the proper use of science within its diverse territories may point the way to a secure and good life for all.”

Seventy years on, I share that same confidence in the role of science and its potential for good.

The establishment of the Australian Academy of Science created the opportunity to recognise local talent and make their expertise available domestically and to grow recognition of Australia’s contribution on the global stage.

We strive to ensure that wherever decisions are made, they are informed by evidence, whether that be in our parliaments, courtrooms, boardrooms, classrooms or in the public square.

And we invite all Australians, from every corner of society, to collaborate with us to benefit from the value of science and share in the treasure that is our Fellowship and the knowledge they generate and share.

We closely guard our independence. It matters to us and provides great value and reassurance to you.

We are non-partisan, we do not carry vested interests, we are not a government organisation, and we are not beholden to any single institution.

We are also a leading voice on diversity in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM). We welcome and support diversity in our Fellowship and provide guidance to empower the STEM sector to become more diverse and inclusive.

We are committed to advancing reconciliation, to working respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and increasing understanding of Traditional Knowledges.

And we actively support our future: our early- and mid-career researchers who are both shaping our world and who will be custodians of it. 

Thank you for your ongoing interest in and collaboration with the Australian Academy of Science.

As we look to the future, the Academy will continue to work towards ensuring a healthy science system and make the best expertise available to the service of the nation.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC PresAA FREng FTSE 
President, Australian Academy of Science

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