Australia’s leading scientists welcome draft national science and research priorities

September 07, 2023

The Australian Academy of Science welcomes the release of the Australian Government’s draft national science and research priorities. 

President of the Australian Academy of Science Professor Chennupati Jagadish said that to shape our future it is crucial that Australia strategically identifies and invests in sovereign science capabilities.

“We must focus and scale up our effort to build or maintain comparative advantage and to address scientific matters unique to Australia,” Professor Jagadish said.

“To be effective, priorities need us to make choices, unite Australian scientists, and concentrate resources around ambitious missions or grand challenges.

“The new priorities align with some of the main challenges facing the nation—moving to a net zero future, adapting to a changing climate, building an innovative economy and healthier communities—and they cut across traditional disciplines.

“Setting these directions is a solid start. However, it is imperative that the final priorities be backed by a robust implementation plan that clarifies how the Australian scientific ecosystem—scientists, institutions, funders and enablers—will incorporate the new priorities in their work. 

“Previous science and research priorities were not effective because they were lacking in implementation, monitoring and evaluation and therefore did little to focus and scale up science in the identified areas.

“It is important that these priorities are implemented through investment-led schemes across government, while leaving investigator-led schemes focused on the free pursuit of knowledge.

“We need both, and both can be achieved with a carefully designed implementation plan,” Professor Jagadish said.

The Academy thanks Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FAA FTSE for consulting widely and leading the national conversation on behalf of the government to inform this work.

The Academy looks forward to contributing to the upcoming consultation.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science