Science Policy and Diplomacy Newsletter—Issue 6 June 2021

Science Policy and Diplomacy Newsletter Issue 6 June 2021

The Science Policy and Diplomacy Newsletter of the Australian Academy of Science highlights important science policy discussion and events in Australia and around the globe. We report on the involvement of science in national and international policy and diplomacy, and the Academy’s contributions to these discussions.

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Science at the Shine Dome 2021
 

News from the Academy

New format for Science at the Shine Dome

In 2021, the Academy is delivering Science at the Shine Dome in a new format to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions while engaging new audiences online. Science at the Shine Dome will include online presentations by award recipients, a hybrid-style symposium exploring the theme Science and the Public Good, and a prestigious ceremony celebrating the admission of new Fellows to the Academy.

Science and the Public Good
 

The program of events of Science at the Shine Dome has begun and will continue throughout the year to 4 November. To find out more about upcoming events and to register to attend, please go to the event website.

Science and the Public Good symposium

Science affects every aspect of our lives. Our health, education, transport, environment, food, communications, work and recreation all benefit from scientific discoveries. The Australian Academy of Science's annual symposium, Science and the Public Good, will explore the critical importance of studying mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics, and how this fundamental knowledge is essential to scientific advances.

Science and the Public Good will be live-streamed around the world from the iconic Shine Dome in Canberra. Hear from distinguished scientists from across Australia as they talk about their work and the importance of the broader disciplines. You are invited to join us from anywhere across the globe to participate in this thought-provoking event.


Policy and diplomacy news

2021–22 Budget

As outlined by the Academy on Budget night in May, the 2021–22 Federal Budget contains mixed news for science. In this article in The Conversation, Academy President Professor John Shine reflects that while the money in the budget for telescopes and vaccines is positive, the lack of funding for basic science risks leaving Australia behind.

The science of immunisation—common questions answered

The Academy has launched a guide for a broad audience about the science of immunisation to help counter misinformation and uncertainty surrounding vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.

The guide, which was developed with the support of the Australian Government Department of Health, answers common questions about immunisation.

Decoding Science: How does science know what it knows?

The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have published an interactive resource, Decoding Science, that explains how scientists ask questions, compare results and build knowledge. The resource has a video, stories from scientists, and a quiz.

Science for Australians

A telescope pointing to the night sky in CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope
How does science work? Image: CSIRO

Launched in 2020, Science for Australians initiative is designed to illustrate the benefits of science to the public and policymakers. Check out the most recent Science for Australians articles below.

How does science work?

Science is a system of knowledge: knowledge about the physical and natural world, knowledge gained through observation and experimentation, knowledge organised systematically. Read more

Science in Australia

Australians depend on science and research to increase productivity, achieve sustainable economic growth, create jobs and improve national wellbeing. Read more

Transform21: Global science portal for a year of transformations

The International Science Council (ISC) has launched a dedicated science portal—Transform21—to share news and opinions from its network of scientists and change-makers on the way to COP26 and COP15. 2021 must be a year of transformation. As countries worldwide prepare for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a pivotal moment to transform into more sustainable, more resilient societies and economies informed by the latest scientific knowledge.

Science for Policy Handbook

Science for Policy Handbook provides advice on how to bring science to the attention of policymakers. The book combines advice on new skills and practices for individual researchers, along with discussions of elements of institutional change—knowledge areas and processes in which to invest. It puts co-creation at the centre of Science for Policy 2.0, a more integrated model of the knowledge–policy relationship. The Science for Policy Handbook presents the lessons learnt by practitioners in science advice in the European Union and is applicable beyond the EU context.


Opinions in science policy and diplomacy

Clever country in a changed world: re-thinking Australian science policy

A Policy Options Paper published by the Australian National University’s National Security College observes science and technology as a key site of geoeconomics competition between countries. In the paper, Paul Harris, Adjunct Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, evaluates the new world order of science. Harris calls the need to systematically re-think how the Australian science system engages with the rest of the world and delivers value to the nation, outlining a new approach to advance the national interest and sharing specific policy recommendations.

This paper is available as a PDF and an audiopaper. The paper is also discussed in an episode of the National Security Podcast.

Lessons learned from Covid-19 for the science–policy–society interface

In an article, Lessons learned from Covid-19 for the science–policy–society interface published by the International Science Council, Kristiann Allen and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) evaluate the collective global experience of the COVID-19 pandemic that has provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationship between science, policy and society. Navigating the pandemic has illuminated the common misperceptions made about science–policy interfaces and revealed lessons learnt. In this article, the authors unpack these lessons learnt and delve into the role of science–policy interfaces in policy and decision making.

Brokerage at the science–policy interface: from conceptual framework to practical guidance

An article published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, and co-authored by the Chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, discusses the conceptual framework of brokerage at the science–policy interface. Building on the conceptual analysis and examination of the nuances of brokerage observed in practice, the authors propose a set of guidelines to translate the concepts of brokerage to practical application.

Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?

In the article Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?, Christiane Gerblinger argues that experts must communicate their advice in a manner that makes it easy for politicians to utilise in policymaking. Examining three cases of evidence-informed policymaking decisions of the Australian public service, Gerblinger evaluates three ‘expert being ignorable’ typologies that contribute to understanding why and how some experts, and expert advice, is convincing.

Reimagining Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

The Reimagining Climate Adaption Summit 2021 was held from 19-22 April 2021 via Zoom. The sessions were recorded and are available to watch. Future Earth Australia, in partnership with the Sydney Environment Institute (University of Sydney) and the Institute for Culture and Society (Western Sydney University), brought experts from research, business, practice, decision-making and communities together for the event.

In this article in The Conversation, the organisers of the summit reflect on the four key themes which emerged throughout the event: learn from diverse knowledges and perspectives; involve communities; don’t shy away from hard discussions; and consider all types of capital.


Events

Coming Academy events

Impacts of COVID-19 on international research collaboration

Getting ahead of the game: Athlete data in professional sport

Science at the Shine Dome: Matthew Flinders Lecture by Professor Andrew Holmes

Food for thought: Alternative food sources

Impacts of COVID-19 on international research collaboration; Getting ahead of the game: Athlete data in professional sport; Science at the Shine Dome; Food for thought
 

Academy submissions

May 2021

Consultation on NHMRC’s draft Open Access Policy

On 12 May 2021, the Australian Academy of Science provided a submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The submission provides feedback on the NHMRC’s draft Open Access Policy and Open Access Policy – Further Guidance documents.

April 2021

University Research Commercialisation Scheme

On 16 April 2021, the Australian Academy of Science provided a submission to the University Research Commercialisation Scheme consultation by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. The Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum and five National Committees for Science also made submissions to this consultation. Read all the submissions.

March 2021

National Gene Technology Scheme, Consultation Regulation Impact Statement

On 17 March 2021, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering commented on the proposed regulatory framework to support the implementation of the Third Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme. The academies strongly support the objectives of the Legislative and Governance Forum to future-proof and modernise the gene technology system.

Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020

On 12 March 2021, the Australian Academy of Science provided a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee on the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020.

Consultation on Mitochondrial Donation in Australia

On 15 March 2021, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences provided a joint submission to the Department of Health consultation on mitochondrial donation in Australia. The submission offers support for the Department’s proposed strategy and offers perspective on the features of the proposed model.

February 2021

Developing Australia’s Space Industry

On 10 February 2021, the Academy made a submission to the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources inquiry into Developing Australia’s Space Industry.

2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission

On 10 February 2021, the Academy made a submission to Treasury on the 2021-22 Federal Budget.

December 2020

Inquiry into National Security Risks Affecting the Australian Higher Education and Research Sector

On 17 December 2020, the Academy provided a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security inquiry into national security risks affecting the Australian higher education and research sector. The submission discusses the importance of international collaborations for Australian science.

The Attachment to the submission is the Academy’s position statement on international science collaboration.

Media diversity in Australia

On 17 December 2020, the Academy provided a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications in response to their inquiry into media diversity in Australia.

November 2020

Modern Manufacturing Strategy road maps

On 10 November 2020, the Academy made a submission to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources in response to the industry roadmaps under the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

Data Availability and Transparency Bill

On 6 November 2020, the Academy provided a submission to the Office of the National Data Commissioner in response to their consultation on the exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill. The submission highlighted the value of Government data to the research community, the relevant of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) Guiding Principles for scientific data management and the importance of access to research data to support research integrity practices e.g. peer review.

Review of ERA and E&I

On 3 November 2020, the Academy provided a submission to the Australian Research Council’s consultation on the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) and Evidence and Impact (EI) programs. The submission provides recommendations for reform of both ERA and EI.

© 2021 Australian Academy of Science

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