Today is the last day at Science & Technology Australia for our powerhouse CEO Misha Schubert. On behalf of the STA Board and executive, our staff team, and everyone from across our member organisations, we say a huge thanks for four incredible years leading the organisation.
It has been a privilege for us all to work with you, and we wish you all the best for the future.
A note from our outgoing CEO Misha Schubert:
Today is my last day as CEO of Science & Technology Australia. I sign off with a heartfelt thank you for your support and engagement with me, the STA staff and Board over the last four years. I am so proud of the stellar achievements of the STA community – and the extraordinary work each of you do.
This community is truly inspiring. We set high standards of excellence for ourselves and each other. Kindness and generosity are our lodestars. We are steadfast partners with Indigenous people and organisations in STEM – and champions for the urgent imperative to elevate and invest in Indigenous knowledges, talent and ways of working. Our vast membership network is full of diverse leaders and brilliant intellects who apply their prodigious expertise to make the world a better place. Thank you for all that you do in that powerful cause.
I started in this job in early March 2020. It was at the outset of a global pandemic that shut national borders, torpedoed national economies, and forced prolonged lockdowns to manage acute public health risks in the era before we had COVID-19 vaccines.
Then science came to the rescue. In world-speed record time, science, technology, engineering and maths had sequenced the virus genome, plugged it into a raft of cutting-edge new vaccine technologies, and moved them swiftly into rigorous safety approvals, clinical trials and to market. It was a potent reminder to all Australians – and the world – about how crucial STEM expertise is – not just to our safety, but to our prosperity.
Science powered our economy back up and got it running again. It was a potent reminder of why we must always keep science and science investment safe – because it keeps our country and its people safe. Now we must escalate those investments urgently to meet the next big challenges on the horizon.
Yesterday, our Board and staff gathered in Canberra/Kambri to shape the next strategic plan for Science & Technology Australia. It was a day of inspiration. As we reflected on our achievements across the past four years and set bold goals for the next horizon, it told a powerful story about an organisation and a membership that has transformed its profile, influence and impact.
STA is a trusted voice – offering clear, strategic, actionable advice to policymakers across the breadth of Parliament. And the organisation itself has gone from strength to strength – doubling its membership and revenue, doubling the number of Indigenous member organisations, and diversifying its revenue streams and services to strengthen its financial security.
STA led the sector’s advocacy for the first review of the Australian Research Council legislation in two decades – on which our former President Mark Hutchinson served – which sparked legislation to abolish the Ministerial veto, shift to a two-stage EOI process and enshrine a legislative safeguard for discovery research. STA’s powerful advocacy secured $2.2 billion in new investment for research commercialisation, including the new seed capital fund Australia’s Economic Accelerator, the National Industry PhD Program,and new ARC Industry Fellowships. The organisation’s work secured commitments for major research grants at the ARC to be delivered on time and to a fixed timetable published well in advance – delivering crucial certainty for both industry and researchers. We advocated for new patent box breaks to apply to clean energy technologies, reversed the pre-prints ban imposed by the ARC in 2021, and seeded ideas that would evolve into the Australian Government’s ‘Be That Teacher’ campaign.
All of these are major wins that wouldn’t have been possible without STA’s powerful and deeply engaged membership. I’m proud that STA has consistently been the voice of our diverse and hugely talented 140 member organisations, representing more than 115,000 people working in STEM.
As I finish, I want to express my thanks to the STA Board and leadership – they are impressive advocates for the sector, deeply influential in policy, and have consistently supported me and the organisation over the last four years. I thank the whole STA staff team: a small group of driven, clever, generous people who carry a vast program of work to deliver this success for our sector and our country. It has been a pleasure to work with every one of them. The STA Board has commenced its work on the next CEO appointment. STA’s Deputy CEO Dr Sandra Gardam will serve as Acting CEO.
My vast gratitude to you – our members, and all the STEM talents you represent – for your work with me, with the organisation, and for the nation.