If held end-to-end, the meetings organised today would have filled more than 24 hours, as 200 STEM professionals were matched with a Member of Parliament or Senator who shared an interest in their area of expertise today. Their meetings gave them the chance to pitch their work and celebrate the achievements of their sector.
Among the ideas shared was Senator Kim Carr calling on scientists to think how they could help politicians with their work, and Australian of the Year Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim emphasising the importance of keeping curious and his desire to work with the community and advocate for public-private partnerships.
Those that were lucky enough to also attend the National Press Club lunch heard Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, articulate the importance of scientific collaboration, his vision for the future of science in Australia, how disruption is the new constant and the importance of women in STEM. He also announced the Australian National Science Statement 2017.
Senator Sinodinos offered lots of advice, but emphasised the need to relate science to peoples’ lives, stressing “the context around science and research is important.”
Following the lunch, delegates ventured into the lion’s den for Question Time, before a final session on how science and politics mix. Rounding out the two day conference was a few needed wines among friends.
What participants had to say about #SmP2017
“I was encouraged by the level of engagement by the politicians and advisors and really impressed by them being genuinely interested in what we had to say…it was great that it worked as a conversation,” Dr. Darren Saunders, STA Secretary and Senior Lecturer at UNSW in Medicine.
“The politician we met was quite open to our inputs…he was very interested in what ANSTO contributes, he even showed interest in coming and visiting our institution, so hopefully he will go back with very good memories and strong ties. I think coming to this event for any mid-career or senior scientist would be quite beneficial, the first day of training was also great, so I say go for it,” Mitra Safavi-Naeini, Imaging quantification Research Leader at ANSTO.
“I thought Science meets Parliament was fantastic, my meeting helped to really humanise the politicians, I was surprised at how informed they were about environmental research issues,” Margo Brewin, Land Management Officer, Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Fantastic meeting with @LaundyCraigMP – thank you for listening to our ideas! #SMP2017 #ecrchat #industry #collaborations #STEM pic.twitter.com/IGyZITYNCB
— Dr Francine Marques (@FZMarques) March 22, 2017
Wonderful opportunity to meet & chat with Hon .@kevinAndrewsMP about Australian Science & Technology.#SMP2017 .@DefenceScience .@ScienceAU pic.twitter.com/qxGeRDb9yy
— Crystal Forrester (@CrystalForrest6) March 22, 2017
Thnaks @fitzhunter for your generous time. Science, CVD and agriculture.#SMP2017 @ASCEPTanz @BakerResearchAu pic.twitter.com/Kcsxao61lq
— Chengxue Helena (@helenaqcx) March 22, 2017
Science meets Parliament 2017 would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors and partners, particularly our major supporter, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Our other sponsors and partners were:
- Platinum sponsor: DST Group, Google, CSIRO
- Gala Dinner Sponsor: Australian Government, ANSTO
- National Press Club Sponsor: GE
- Gold Sponsor: Macquarie University
- Silver Sponsor: Refraction Media
- Bronze sponsors: National Computational Infrastructure, National Tertiary Education union, University of Technology Sydney
- Forum Sponsors: Australian Academy of Science, ATSE
- Farewell Cocktail Sponsor: MSD
- Catering partners: Taylor & Francis Group
- Tech partner: AARNet
- Supporting Partner: CRC Association