Invest in international science or languish: Science Academy’s bold new plan

Australian Academy of Science Media Release

Australian Academy of Science President Professor Suzanne Cory today said the Government must urgently invest to ensure Australian science remains internationally competitive and relevant.

In a bold new Australian Academy of Science publication released today, Australian science in a changing world: innovation requires global engagement, internationally recognised and connected Australian scientists have developed a plan to ensure Australia’s place on the world stage over the next century.

“In this age of science and technology, advances are rapid. Those who do not stay informed and connected will very quickly be left behind and forgo the economic benefits,” Professor Cory said.

“We are a decade into the ‘Asian Century’, and Australia has a rapidly closing window in which to effectively engage with our Asian neighbours, while maintaining and strengthening our historic links with Europe and North America.

“Australia produces only around 2 per cent of the world’s science knowledge. To access the remaining 98 per cent, we need to be well-connected with the global science network. But currently there is no overarching strategy for Australia’s global science engagement.”

The Academy proposes an integrated international science program worth $250 million over 10 years – just 0.25 per cent of total Australian Government spending on science, research and innovation.

Recommendations include:

  • Funding for strategic research partnerships and collaborative innovation projects
  • Annual global science and innovation watch report to inform policy
  • Expanded network of science and innovation counsellors in Australian embassies
  • Special envoys to promote Australian science and innovation globally
  • National advisory board for international science collaboration
  • Scientific programs to support Australian foreign and aid policy objectives
  • Creation of a Commonwealth science secretariat as an adjunct to CHOGM, and an Asia-Pacific science and innovation community

“Australia faces a choice – we can take the steps necessary to strategically engage with our increasingly technology-driven world, or we can continue our present course of retreat,” Professor Cory said.

“If we wish to build upon Australia’s very fruitful investment in science during the last century, and maximise our advantages in the Asian century, Government must act on the recommendations in this report.”

Press release

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