Science Meets Parliament 2024

Science Meets Parliament

We’re delighted to announce SMP2024 will be held on 20–21 March 2024 in person at Australian Parliament House.

Science Meets Parliament is Australia’s most powerful vehicle for deep engagement between the STEM sector and policymakers.

This event offers an unrivalled program of bespoke training to forge deeper connections between federal Parliamentarians and those working in science and technology. It plays crucial role to build relationships to bring STEM expertise even more deeply into the service of the nation.

It does so by giving STEM experts a deeper understanding of how to engage effectively with policymakers. And it helps policymakers to connect with key experts in science and technology.

Our national gathering of STEM leaders includes expert-led professional development, a welcome reception, a Parliamentary forum, national gala dinner, a televised National Press Club address, and opportunities for delegates to meet in small groups privately with Parliamentarians..

An annual highlight on the Parliamentary calendar, Science Meets Parliament 2024 will deliver outstanding opportunities to elevate visibility and understanding of STEM in Parliament and Australian Government Departments.

SMP2024 Patrons

Cathy Foley

Australia's Chief Scientist

Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM FAA FTSE


Professor Brian Schmidt

Vice-Chancellor & President Australian National University

Professor Brian Schmidt AC FRS FAA FTSE

Science Meets Parliament holds a very special place in my heart because it was the first official speaking role that I had as the Minister for Industry and Science. And it was a unique opportunity to be able to meet with you all.”

The Hon Ed Husic MP,
Minister for Industry and Science

I met with Allegra Spender. She was fantastic, very engaged. We talked about the importance of biological collections, their untapped knowledge and the need to train a new generation of taxonomists.”

SMP Delegate feedback, 2023

Who should attend Science Meets Parliament?

Science Meets Parliament is open to all Australian STEM professionals in academia, industry and government. This includes PhD students through to leaders in the STEM sector.

STEM professionals with an interest in broadening their networks and learning how to engage effectively with policymakers are encouraged to attend the event.

Eligibility to meet with a Parliamentarian

Only delegates attending from STA Member Organisations will be invited to express their interest in having a meeting with a Parliamentarian.

Registration inclusions

  • Access to runway content, delivered online, in the week leading up to SMP;
  • Attendance at Science Meets Parliament, 20 and 21 March in Parliament House, Canberra;
  • One ticket to the National Gala Dinner;
  • One ticket to the closing networking event;
  • Option to attend Question Time or bespoke tours around Parliament House.

National Press Club Address

Tickets to attend the National Press Club address and luncheon are limited, and therefore an optional additional purchase. Delegates who do not attend will have lunch catered at Parliament House and watch the live broadcast of the Address.



View the full program and delegate feedback from Science Meets Parliament 2023

Past SMP events

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for Science Meets Parliament please have a look at our partnership information and levels for further information.

Tickets and registration

STA Members

Delegates representing STA Member organisations
Early Bird prices until
25 January 2024
ECR $1,395 | Member $1,575

(Prices will increase by 10% after Early Bird period)

Registration includes:

  • Access to online runway sessions which will be delivered in the week prior to SMP;
  • Attendance at Science Meets Parliament, in Parliament House, Canberra on 20 and 21 March 2024;
  • Option to meet with a Parliamentarian during SMP;
  • One ticket to the gala dinner.

Group registration available via link above. 

Non-STA Members

STEM professionals not associated with an STA Member organisation
Early Bird prices until
25 January 2024
Non-STA Member $1,750

(Prices will increase by 10% after Early Bird period)

Registration includes:

  • Access to online runway sessions which will be delivered in the week prior to SMP;
  • Attendance at Science Meets Parliament, in Parliament House, Canberra on 20 and 21 March 2024;
  • One ticket to the gala dinner.


Applications open for SMP2024 scholarships
SMP2024 Scholarships
Apply by 1 February 2024

With the generous support of our sponsors,
STA members can apply for the following scholarships.

First Nations scholarship 
LGBTIQA+ scholarship
Regional and remote scholarship

We are seeking sponsors for:
Technology scholarship
Disability scholarship
Neurodivergent scholarship 

Scholarships cover registration fees, transport & accommodation to attend SMP2024 in Canberra.

Gala dinner

Celebrate the STEM community in the Great Hall of Parliament House
SMP welcome reception & gala dinner
Ticket price: $250

One Gala dinner ticket is already included in all delegate registrations.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

6:30 - 10:30pm, Australian Parliament House, Canberra

Full tables can be purchased, each table seats 10.


SMP offers a powerful program of bespoke training to equip scientists with advanced skills in policy engagement, communications, advocacy and influence.

STA Members have the opportunity to meet with Parliamentarians during the two day program. Scientist meetings with MPs and Senators.

High-energy events including a National Press Club address and gala dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament.

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM AEDTPractice your pitch

A compelling pitch, word picture or analogy can powerfully distil complex scientific knowledge. This is key to capture the imagination of policymakers and the public alike. Learn from some of Australia’s best science communicators on how to pitch your complex science to lay audiences including Parliamentarians taking meetings for Science Meets Parliament and the media.

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM AEDTPreparing to meet a Parliamentarian

What should you know before you meet with your Parliamentarian - and how should you prepare? Hear from Science Meets Parliament veterans and Parliamentary engagement experts on what to expect in your meeting, how to make it a success, and how to follow-up.

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM AEDTWhy science matters for great policy

For almost quarter of a century of Science Meets Parliament, Australian legislators have relied on their engagements with our nation’s scientists to inform public policy, ensure interventions are effective, and forge connections to make better laws informed by the latest scientific evidence. Former Australian Democrats leader, non-executive director and gender equality advocate Natasha Stott Despoja reflects on the powerful role of this Australian innovation.


8:00 AMArrival, registration, coffee cart
8:30 AMWelcome to Country
8:50 AMWelcome to SMP
9:00 AMOpening Keynote: Securing Australia's future in a global R&D race.
9:30 AMSTEM Leadership Panel - sponsored by CSIRO

Where are we at in the sweep of human history and scientific development – and where should the next era take us? What are the big opportunities on the horizon for Australian science – and how can we seize them? Where will we land on the refreshed science priorities? How do we start to scale investment in Australian R&D closer towards a 3% of GDP target and build stronger sovereign capability?

10:20 AMA Parliamentary and Power Primer: Understanding Australia's Democratic system.

The aim of this session is to help Australia’s brightest emerging talents in science, technology and research understand the democratic structures and processes that shape policymaking in Australia. 

A fun and lively primer on how Australia’s federal Parliamentary system is constituted, the roles of the two chambers of federal Parliament, how executive Government is formed from the Parliament, and outline how legislation is created, reviewed, amended and passed. 

10:50 AMPresence, prescience and poise: the role of policy advisors.

Senior policy advisors play a hugely pivotal role in Australia’s political system, acting as eyes and ears for Ministers and MPs, mastering complex policy fields, and engaging with stakeholders on policy ideas and legislation. Three of the very best in the business share insight on how they work, the pressures on their time, and the most effective ways to get helpful information in front of them and their boss.  

12:00 PMNational Press Club Address
2:10 PMKey skills for advocates: Submissions & soundbites (getting an issue on the radar).

How can you elevate your expertise to shape public debates and legislation with well-written submissions to inquiries with strong media quotability? And what should you know before giving evidence to a Parliamentary hearing? Seasoned experts share their compelling insights on how to write submissions that are credible, quotable and actionable for policymakers - and how to keep yourself safe in the steely glare of a Senate committee. 

3:00 PMNext steps to elevate First Nations Knowledges: Sponsored by Abbvie
4:00 PMEnd of Day One Sessions
6:30 PMWelcome Reception in Marble Foyer
7:30 PMGala Dinner, MC & Speakers
10:30 PMEnd of Gala Dinner


8:00AM - 6:00PMMeetings with Parliamentarians
7:30 AMArrival, registration, coffee cart
8:00 AMParliamentary Forum

How do Australia’s Parliamentarians and political parties see the role of science, expertise and evidence? In a wide-ranging discussion, leading MPs and Senators will talk about what science means to them and their party, why Australia needs science, their policy offerings to strengthen science and the science workforce, and advice for scientists on engaging with politicians and the Parliament to inform policy and legislation

9:00 AMKeynote speakers
10:00 AMScience & evidence in public policy: a leadership dialogue

How is public policy made? What’s the role of the public service in identifying emerging opportunities, how do they gather input from trusted stakeholders, and how do they support Ministers? And to drive research advances that solve Australia’s most complex challenges, Government Departments need to deepen engagement with each other to power innovation from fundamental research through to commercialisation. How are Government Departments coordinating policy to ensure advances don’t fall between cracks?

10:40 AMAudience Q&A
11:00 AMMedia Panel - Getting science into the news cycle

During this conversation with senior journalists and news presenters, they will share insights on how to get science into the media, what makes a great news ‘hook’, how to build a long-term relationship with journalists and producers, and how the media cycle works. 

11:40 AMAdvanced Cultural Capability

We cover some foundational skills and insights in cultural capability - conventions, protocols and the origins of traditions, and things to avoid - to deepen cultural capability across our sector.  

1:00 PMKeynote speaker
2:00 PMQuestion Time & Tours
3:30 PMNetworking
6:00 PMEnd of SMP 2024


Gala Dinner


National Press Club Address


Welcome Reception

Named Sessions

Leadership Dialogue


Coffee Cart




What does my registration include?
All registration types include access to online runway sessions on 13 March and attendance at the 2 day program, 20 & 21 March, of bespoke professional training and one ticket to the gala dinner.

Delegates from an STA Member Organisation have the opportunity to meet with a Member of Parliament.

Flights and accommodation are not included in any registrations. For tips on accommodation and transport, please see the Event Information section below.

What is the difference between an STA Member and Non-STA Member registration?
STA member organisations may access unlimited registrations at a discounted rate. Additionally, SMP 2024 delegates, attending from STA member organisations, have the option to be considered for a meeting with a Member of Parliament. To see a full list of STA Member organisations, please visit our website.

Where can I find the conference’s refund policy?
The full event Terms and Conditions can be found here. Section 5 details the refund policy.

What happens if I can no longer attend? 

If you can no longer attend SMP 2024, the National Press Club address and/or the National Gala Dinner you may transfer your registration to someone else.

You must notify Science & Technology Australia by emailing us at, providing the name and contact details of the delegate receiving the transferrable.

For STA member delegates, we encourage you to transfer your registration to someone within your member organisation.

If you are unable to transfer your registration, you will be subject to our refund policy found in the event Terms & Conditions.

Who is eligible for ECR registration?
Any STEM Professional who is within nine years post-PhD, excluding career breaks, is eligible.

What financing options are available?
Thanks to generous sponsors, Science & Technology Australia offers a range of scholarships. Please check eligibility requirements. If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us at

How can I pay for my SMP23 registration?
All delegates regardless if they are registered as a group or an individual, will be offered two options for payment: credit card or transfer via EFT as per invoice details.

I am part of an STA member organisation. Who do I get in contact with to organize my registration?
We strongly encourage STA member delegates to contact their STA member organisation before registering for SMP24.

If you are unable to get in contact with your STA member organisation, please email

Why isn’t the National Press Club address included in my registration?
The National Press Club is a small venue with a limited seating capacity, ss such we are unable to include a ticket with any registration type.

You may purchase National Press Club tickets separately during the registration process. A waitlist will be implemented.

Event Information

What time do I arrive at Parliament House for SMP 2024?
Please arrive at the Australian Parliament House between 8–8:30 am on Wednesday 20 March 2024.

We ask delegates to make time for transport, getting through security and checking in with the event staff.

The professional development program will start at 9 am sharp.

What is the dress code for SMP 2024 and the National Gala Dinner?
The dress code for SMP 2024 business attire, including meetings with Parliamentarians.

The dress code for the gala dinner is formal.

What are the transport options in Canberra?
To get to Parliament House from your accommodation, you may take a taxi, hire a car or through the Uber app.

STA member delegates are welcome to access the discount codes for Thrifty car hire, available through the Member Benefit Scheme. Please contact for more information.

Where can I stay in Canberra?
We recommend booking in accommodation ASAP as the event coincides with a Parliamentary sitting week.

The closest hotels to Parliament House and the National Press Club are Hotel Realm, Hotel Kurrajong and Burbury Hotel.

STA member delegates are welcome to access discount codes for TFE Hotels available through the Member Benefit Scheme. Please contact for more information.

Meeting with a Member of Parliament

Can I have a meeting with a Member of Parliament?
Delegates who are representing an STA member organisation are eligible to be considered for a meeting.

I am a member of an STA member organisation. Am I guaranteed a meeting?
No. Due to the limited availability of MPs and Senators, we cannot guarantee enough Parliamentarians for the number of event delegates.

We will try to match at least one person per STA member organisation with a Member of Parliament for a meeting.

We encourage delegates to make their biographies clear and interesting to maximize the success of the meeting-matching process.

Can I choose which Parliamentarian I meet with?
No. The Science & Technology Australia team will match SMP delegates with MPs and Senators based on the nominated topics they can speak to and participant availability.

Can I choose what time my meeting is?
No. Meetings will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 and all day on Thursday 21 March 2024, which are Parliamentary sitting days. As MPs/Senators have limited time to take meetings their availability determines the meeting times.

Can I have my meeting online?

No. All meetings will take place in person on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March 2024. The only exception is if an MP/Senator has to cancel and reschedule the meeting online at a later date.

What happens if my meeting gets cancelled by the Member of Parliament?
If your meeting gets cancelled by your MP/Senator, we will try our best to reschedule your meeting on the same day or online at a later date. However, this is not guaranteed and is subject to the availability of the MP/Senator.

What happens if I can no longer attend my meeting?
You must inform the STA team ASAP using

Can I bring a presentation for my meeting?
No. We ask that delegates do not bring a presentation along to their meeting with an MP/Senator.

However, if there is a small, interesting item that showcases the research you do, you may be permitted to bring that item.

Please contact to confirm if this item would be appropriate for the meeting, including if it will be permitted through Parliament House security.

Will my meeting be one-on-one with a Member of Parliament?
No. A small group of event delegates from 2–4 people will meet with a Member of Parliament. You will get a chance to meet and coordinate with the other delegates prior to the meeting.


For enquiries about SMP2024, please contact:

Lucy Guest
Director of Events and Membership
T: 02 6113 0781
or visit our Contact Us page