Day Two of Science meets Parliament 2022 was another powerful experience for delegates to learn about creating professional relationships for advocacy, effective discussion, and hear from some world-leaders in science communication.
Platinum Partner Address
Sharing inspiring opportunities for scientists to transform lives in Pacific nations, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Chief Executive Andrew Campbell reminded delegates “science is literally saving the world”.
Advocacy with Impact: Strategy, Coalitions, and Clarity
Helping to hone delegates’ clarity and skill, brilliant strategist and Indigenous change-maker Tanya Hosch urged delegates to find the allies of their cause, nurture relationships of trust for the long haul, and listen carefully to those they are briefing.
“Everyone wants to feel respected, heard, and understood. You can really disarm people to hear what you’re saying if they feel you’re also listening to what they’re saying.”
SECNewgate partner and campaign strategist Feyi Akindoyeni explained to delegates how great advocacy requires bringing every tool one can to help audiences understand the material.
And that making advocacy headway means being in for the long haul: “You’re not getting married on the first date.”
Superstar of STEM and mask safety advocate Kate Cole’s advice was that stepping into the media could fast-track coalition-building, and bring other experts to your attention and alliances.
She also urged delegates to step into the spotlight and share expertise: “Having technical knowledge in my head is useless if we can’t use it to create positive change.”
Titanium Partner Address
Defence Chief Scientist Professor Tanya Monro affirmed the power of expertise to inform great policy, and exhorted delegates to realise the power of the deep public appreciation for science. “It’s a hugely important time to be a scientist in Australia.”
Key Skills for Science Advocates: Submissions, Soundbites, an Sage Testimony
Specialising in submission writing skills, soundbites, and sage testimony, our expert panel spoke of the power of brevity, clarity and accuracy.
Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Peter Chesworth urged delegates to be helpful to the process, know our subject and know our audience, and importantly- “put your key ask upfront”.
Academy of Technology and Engineering CEO Kylie Walker advised delegates to be clear, calm and purposeful, and to “find [their] inner Zen master” when doing media or testimony.
And former Cooperative Research Centres Association CEO Dr Tony Peacock reminded delegates to be brief, clear and accurate.
“Only write a submission if it’s going to be useful, and you actually have something to say.”
Preparing to Meet a Parliamentarian or Advisor
Ahead of many of our delegates’ meetings with MPs and Senators next week, a stellar panel shared a lifetime of tips on how to prepare well to get the most from those opportunities.
Nobel Laureate and ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt encouraged approaching these meetings with the aim of building a long-term relationship to be a source of trusted expertise.
“Make a human connection – and be memorable in the right way.”
UNSW Scientia Professor and NSW Australian of the Year Professor Veena Sahajwalla had the reminder to “go in with both your head and your heart” – conveying both your expertise and your passion.
Longtime former policy adviser and fintech executive Harry Godber discussed researching the MP, getting a good understanding of their interests, and tailoring a pitch to hold their interest.
“Advisors are like the arms of the Parliamentarians. They are often the ones that can engage most deeply, and they will be eager to help.”
Australian Academy of Science CEO Anna-Maria Arabia urged delegates to build relationships at every opportunity, and make themselves memorable.
A key message of hers was self-belief: “You are the expert in your field in that room.”
An Evening with Brian Cox and Kirsten Banks
Later in the evening, delegates had the honour of hearing from Professor Brian Cox in conversation with Wiradjuri astrophysicist Kirsten Banks, discussing scientific curiosity, music, and key learnings from COVID for bringing science into the public consciousness.