“Scientists can be politically active without politicising their science,”
Anna-Maria Arabia, Chief Executive, Australian Academy of Science
Lively debate, panel discussions, news ideas, epiphanies and an immersion in the world of politics – and all that in just 12 hours. The first day of Science meets Parliament has drawn to a close and delegates have gone away with some valuable key lessons. These included ways for scientists to showcase impact, become a valuable source of advice, and engage parliamentarians effectively.
More than 200 delegates, with a vast array of backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematical disciplines, came to understand the time pressures, challenges and priorities of Parliamentarians while forging new ways to communicate their research effectively.
It was clear from the start of this year’s event that despite their very different roles, scientists and politicians have more in common than one might think. Both have their own processes, their own language, their own timeframes, but more importantly, they both have a desire to make a difference in society.
This shared goal is what makes Science meets Parliament so valuable.
Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel officially opened the conference, admitting that for some STEM professionals, descending on Canberra is akin to landing on an alien planet. However, he also acknowledged the common ethos between the two professions, and how important it is to understand this when communicating scientific outcomes.
Dr Finkel gave delegates quite a few pearls of wisdom, including to follow the four A’s for research to have an impact on public policy: ATTITUDE, AMBASSADORS, ACCESS and AMMUNITION. You can read his full speech on the Chief Scientist’s website.
Following the opening address, we ventured into panel discussions, which focused on the best ways to turn science into news, how science can be used to shape public policy, and ways to engage effectively with politicians.
Delegates were inspired, informed, educated and challenged in preparation for meeting with parliamentarians on day 2 of Science meets Parliament tomorrow.
Final words of advice from today
For delegates heading to parliament tomorrow, remember the words of Dr Bobby Cerini from Inspiring Australia, “inspiration comes from people taking the time to communicate what they’re passionate about.”
And for any politicians meeting a scientist – something to keep in mind from Dr Finkel, “If you think question time is gruelling, you should submit a grant application.”
Keep up-to-date on all the action by following #SmP2017 and @ScienceAu on Twitter.
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