Who is STA?

About Science & Technology Australia

Science & Technology Australia (STA) is Australia’s peak body in science and technology. Representing more than 68,000 scientists and technologists working across all scientific disciplines, STA is a respected and influential contributor to debate on public policy. Our mission is to bring together scientists, governments, industry and the broader community to advance the role, reputation and impact of science and technology across the nation.

Originally known as the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), the organisation was established in 1985 to advocate the values and benefits of science to government and industry. STA is based in Canberra and has a detailed understanding of, and experience in, the policymaking and political process. We work closely with the Office of the Chief Scientist, the scientific academies, heads of government science agencies and granting bodies, and industry. Our considered advice on policy and legislation is routinely sought by the nation’s decision-makers, and we are an important link for the appointment of scientists, researchers and technologists to government advisory panels and boards.

Science & Technology Australia has three formal objectives:

  • encourage scientific dialogue between government, the science and technology community, and industry;
  • promote public understanding of science; and
  • foster close relations between the societies.

In support of these goals, STA undertakes major reviews of key issues for science (for example, the landmark Women in Science in Australia: Maximising Productivity, Diversity and Innovation) and submissions to government-initiated reviews (recently, Innovation System Review 2014, and Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research 2012).

STA’s annual flagship event, Science meets Parliament (SmP), places 200 science and research delegates at the heart of the Federal Government for face-to-face meetings with parliamentarians. It is a unique and highly regarded event, allowing politicians to better understand how important science and innovation is to Australia economically, socially and politically, and to discuss issues of interest to them and their electorate. SmP provides scientists with an opportunity to better understand the political, policymaking and media processes.

SmP is complemented by Science meets Policymakers, which brings scientists together with senior public servants with the aim of explaining how the government policymaking process works, and how to influence that process to achieve greater benefits to Australia from science and technology.

In response to the challenges facing Australia in growing knowledge-based businesses, in 2015 STA piloted Science meets Business, a new program bringing the nation’s top business and science leaders together for a day-long, high-level policy discussion designed to re-energise the debate around very low levels of collaboration between these two critical sectors in Australia. This highly successful event attracted 200 high-level participants and featured frank and nuanced conversations about future policy reform.

Additionally, STA sponsors and organises Topical Science Forums, public events featuring some of the nation’s best scientific minds on the big science and technology issues. These are also broadcast on the STA YouTube channel. The formal members of STA are some 60 Australian scientific and technological societies and organisations, with total membership of 68,000 individual scientists, engineers and technologists. Key officers of STA are:

Emeritus Professor Jim Piper AM
Jim Piper, a laser physicist, is an emeritus professor of Macquarie University, where he was deputy vice-chancellor (research), and the director of the Macquarie node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.
Chief Executive Officer:
Ms Catriona Jackson
Catriona Jackson
Catriona Jackson has three decades of experience in government, media, and strategic communications at the highest levels. She has worked as a journalist, a senior adviser in Federal Parliament and as director of Communications at the ANU.