National peak body Science & Technology Australia (STA) has applauded the release of the Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation report today.
With five national imperatives and 30 recommendations for government, the 2030 Strategy represents an important step towards making Australia a clever country again.
STA President Professor Emma Johnston said with science and mathematics results in schools falling nationally and no current long-term investment strategy for Australian science and technology, the 2030 Strategy couldn’t come at a better time.
“The Australia 2030 plan lays out a proactive and optimistic approach to creating a strong innovation culture and inspiring the nation to strive for bold national missions,” said Professor Johnston.
“It’s visionary and exciting, and supports many of the principles STA has been advocating for over many years.
“We applaud recommendations that aim to increase the quality, value and volume of Australian research and development funded by industry and we welcome recommendations which focus on enhancing the national culture of innovation.”
“We urge the Government to act on the recommendations put forward in the Australia 2030 plan as soon as possible.”
Professor Johnston welcomed the integration into the plan of STA’s submission to Innovation and Science Australia – most notably prioritising and supporting a diverse STEM workforce; investing in building public understanding of and confidence in science; and empowering Australian researchers to be at the forefront of new data technologies.
“We highlighted the need to embrace a diverse and inclusive STEM workforce; and to bring the Australian public along for the ride. It’s important the community plays a part in focusing the efforts of Australia’s brightest minds,” Professor Johnston said.
However, she said STA was disappointed to note the lack of emphasis on curiosity-led research.
“Curiosity-driven research, or blue-sky research, is absolutely vital to any plan to build an innovation culture,” Professor Johnston said.
“We can’t build a stronger economy without growing our support for basic research. Without the basic science, translation and commercialisation of science and technology simply cannot occur. We urge Innovation and Science Australia – and the Government – to embed strong support for this important foundational work as we work towards building an innovation nation.”
“In responding to this plan, the Government has the opportunity to support both the creation and application of knowledge, to build a strong foundation for a strong, healthy, thriving, world-leading Australia.”
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