Earning Our Future—Science priorities for the federal election

November 23, 2018

The Australian Academy of Science today outlined science priorities for the 2019 federal election so Australia can earn its future.

To thrive in an increasingly uncertain world, the future economy and workforce will be underpinned by science of the highest quality and intensity.

Earning Our Future: the platform of the Australian Academy of Science:

  • recommends that the mutual obligations of scientists and government be made clear
  • provides measures to build national capacity
  • keeps community benefit at the heart of all we do.

Academy President Professor John Shine said as the countdown begins to the federal election, Australians deserve a coherent and visionary plan for science.

“Australia has a choice: determine our future and develop the science plan to drive it or be swept along trailing the decisions of other nations,” Professor Shine said.   

The Academy’s election statement includes 10 recommendations that provide a clear vision for science in Australia.

  1. A charter between scientists and government—to establish a relationship built on trust, respect, and mutual obligation.
  2. A formal structure for science advice—to provide independent science information to politicians, government and the Commonwealth Science Council. Australia would benefit from formal structures that produce independent, timely and relevant science advice to government and to the parliament.
  3. Boosted commitment to STEM education—all Australian schools, teachers and students should have access to the Academy’s proven science and maths education programs.
  4. Increase gross national R&D spending to three per cent of GDP over a decade—with longer and more ambitious research grants and greater security for early- and mid-career researchers. Australia cannot afford to let careers for researchers drift.
  5. State-of-the-art science infrastructure—acknowledging the government's existing research infrastructure commitments, a further investment of $1.85 billion is required through a long-term mechanism such as an Australian National Research Infrastructure Investment Fund.
  6. A new international engagement strategy—that allows Australia to meet its agreed Sustainable Development Goal obligations, and that strategically positions Australia and its STEM capabilities.
  7. A stronger commitment to equity in science—Australia needs access to all its available talent regardless of who or where they are, and we must ensure everyone takes action through the Women in STEM Decadal Plan.
  8. Pursue national research priorities—with a focus on Australia’s strategic advantages and where no other country could or would address our nation’s research challenges.  
  9. Develop a best practice framework for responsible research and innovation—to ensure research is in step with community expectations.
  10. Review how effectively research is being supported—only then can we know that maximum benefits are being returned.

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