It's been another eventful year for the Australian Academy of Science, as we continued to support and celebrate excellence in Australian science. There are plenty of highlights—here's a month-by-month snapshot of 2022.
The Academy launched Australia in Space: a decadal plan for Australian space science 2021-2030—a strategy to enable Australia to be a respected partner in the global community of spacefaring nations.
Academy President Professor John Shine joined other presidents of Australia’s learned academies to raise concerns over the Australian Government exercising its veto powers to reject six projects recommended for funding by the Australian Research Council.
We were proud to see five Academy Fellows recognised for their achievements with appointments to the Order of Australia. Among the recipients was Dr Alan Finkel, who was also added to the COVID-19 Honour Roll.
We also congratulated Academy Fellow Professor Veena Sahajwalla, who was named NSW Australian of the Year 2022.
We hosted the first event of our ‘Surprising Science’ annual public speaker series. The series has since explored remarkable achievements in science that were only possible due to scientific disciplines borrowing from each other’s ideas.
We were proud to announce the five recipients of the Academy’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award.
Our Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia penned an opinion piece on women in STEM that was first published by the Diversity Council of Australia, and the Academy made a submission to the 2022–23 Federal Budget recommending permanent mechanisms for independent science advice to government.
We also hosted Connecting the dots: knowledge brokering for impact and innovation, a symposium aimed at empowering early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs), and released the handwritten diaries of virologist Professor Frank Fenner in digital format.
We continued to have science in the justice system, following compelling scientific evidence that provides an alternative explanation for the deaths of Kathleen Folbigg’s children.
We hosted an online forum to inform policy makers about climate adaptation and overcoming vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
We were proud to announce the 20 researchers who received Academy honorific awards this year. We congratulated Academy Fellow Professor Sue O’Reilly, who's only the second Australian to receive a China International Science and Technology Co-operation Award, and we launched a new website for our education program Science by Doing to help teachers promote equitable learning.
The Academy also released a statement condemning the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and stood in solidarity with the Ukrainian scientific community. The Academy reiterated this position via the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) communique.
We launched Getting Ahead of the Game: Athlete Data in Professional Sport, a discussion paper on data governance in professional sport, and hosted the Lloyd Rees Lecture given by president-elect Professor Chennupati Jagadish. We also published a report on what could be done to support the world’s most precious heritage assets in the face of climate change.
We collaborated with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), to commence delivery of the Australian government’s $18.2 million ‘Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund—Strategic Element’, a key part of the new $60.2 million GSTDF fund. We also released the ‘Science and Australia's positive future’ position statement ahead of the federal election.
We published a video about stemming koala extinction rates.
We were excited to announce our 2022 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, including Professor Tom Calma, the first Fellow elected to the Academy who identifies as an Aboriginal person. We also celebrated four of our Fellows being elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in the world. May was also the month that Professor Chennupati Jagadish took over as Academy president from Professor John Shine.
Two-and-a-half years since severe damage caused by a Canberra hailstorm, our heritage-listed Shine Dome was reopened by the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and the Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science.
We congratulated four Fellows recognised in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honors List, and launched a new report, Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Science, calling for action to support the future of scientific research. We also partnered with Springer Nature on a survey, the results of which indicated broad support for mandatory research integrity training in Australia.
For NAIDOC Week, we celebrated Indigenous Knowledges by hosting an online event on Embracing Indigenous Knowledges in STEM, and speaking with Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge, who received the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Travelling Research Award from the Academy in 2019.
Academy President Professor Jagadish commented on the 6th national State of the Environment report findings, asserting the importance of establishing a new national information system led by an independent agency to manage our nation’s biodiversity data. He also urged the government to explore how to deliver stronger emissions reductions over the next decade.
We were excited to help 12 young Australian scientists attend the 71st annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany.
The Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) partnered with the Academy to produce a series of well-received videos highlighting the importance of biosecurity.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade partnered with the Academy to produce a series of videos highlighting the close scientific research relationship between Australia and India. We also celebrated the long and fruitful history of Japanese-Australian collaboration in STEM, as well as recent collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region.
We hosted an online event to discuss how the pandemic is affecting the Women in STEM workforce in Australia and Pacific Alliance countries, and produced a series of videos about research collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region.
Also in August, the digitisation of the Academy’s historic scientific collections received a generous donation by David Anstice AO, and we began broad promotion of how to celebrate science by dedicating a copper tile to a scientist.
We were deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is believed that we are the only body in the Commonwealth to receive its charter directly from the hands of Her Majesty.
In a historic moment, the Academy was accepted as an independent scientific adviser to the Second Inquiry into the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg—a landmark case in the NSW justice system. We also hosted a national roundtable to consider the capability of science to draw out new negative emissions approaches, in addition to current approaches.
Future Earth Australia, based at the Academy, launched its National Strategy for Just Adaptation, bringing Indigenous and other relevant knowledges, adaptation science, the social sciences and the humanities together to reshape the national adaptation and resilience agenda.
We were proud to announce that Academy President Professor Jagadish was elected an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. We also welcomed the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP to the Shine Dome.
We hosted the exciting seventh Falling Walls Lab finale to identify the national winners to take part in the international three-day conference held in Berlin, and supported their participation at the international event. And we congratulate Academy Fellows Professor Veena Sahajwalla and Professor David Lindenmayer, who were among Australia’s top scientists and science teams recognised at the 2022 Eureka Prizes.
We welcomed the announcement that the Academy will lead a new regional presence for the International Science Council to coordinate scientific engagement in the Asia-Pacific. This has been made possible by a $10.3 million investment from the Australian Government over the next six years.
We also welcomed the introduction of measures to address systemic disadvantage faced by female and non-binary senior researchers via the Investigator Grant scheme of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
We awarded an Academy medal to science and research advocate, the Hon Kim Carr, and were also pleased to see our heritage building Ian Potter House reopened 989 days since it sustained significant damage during a 2020 hailstorm.
Academy President Professor Chennupati Jagadish and Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia met with the Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP at Parliament House to discuss ways to bring science to the service of the nation.
We were excited that women working in STEM fields around the world will be able to raise their profile and discover opportunities to progress their careers following the global launch of the Academy’s innovation, STEM Women Global.
We were also overjoyed to welcome hundreds of participants to Canberra in a celebration of the best of Australian science at our flagship event, Science at the Shine Dome.
We announced that a donation of $800,000 by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation will support Ukrainian scientists who have fled the war with Russia or who have been unable to work due to the destruction of their workplace.
We proudly announced the establishment of the David Vaux Research Integrity Fellowship Award, to recognise individuals who have led efforts to foster and promote integrity in science.
We also celebrated that the 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science was awarded to Academy Fellow Professor Trevor McDougall.
Are those Christmas trees in the outback? The Academy produced a video update on the SKA project, an initiative that will revolutionise astronomy.
We published a mid-term review of Australia’s 10-year plan for mathematical sciences, which found there are significant challenges facing teaching and research in the mathematical sciences.
We announced the 17 recipients of six funded awards for 2023: Moran Award for the History of Science Research; Thomas Davies Research Grant; WH Gladstones Population and Environment Fund; Margaret Middleton Fund; Max Day Award; and the Graeme Caughley Travelling Fellowship.
We also hosted a Frew Fellowship Lecture by Nobel Laureate Professor Donna Strickland, who spoke about her ground-breaking research on generating high-intensity, ultrashort optical pulses, and in collaboration with the National Library of Australia we digitised our collection of one of the twentieth century’s most outstanding biologists, Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
And of course it wouldn’t be summer at the Academy without the annual Fellows’ reading, listening and viewing list that reveals the fascinating and diverse interests of Australia’s leading scientists.
With so much achieved, and much more to look forward to, we can’t wait to usher in 2023!
© 2023 Australian Academy of Science