Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Chief Scientist Calls for a National Strategy for Science

By Professor Ian Chubb

A transcript of the Chief Scientist's launch of the position paper: ‘STEM in the national interest: A strategic approach’

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Today, I am launching a position paper urging a strategic approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (which I will call STEM) in Australia. For those who do not have a copy but who do have an interest, the paper is available on the website of the Office of the Chief Scientist.

For today, I have planned a talk, this launch, in essentially three parts.

The first part is a question – with some supplementaries to show that I have learnt something by coming here over the years. The second part will be an assumption flowing from my answers to the first; and the third will be a way forward – a path we could choose to follow.

The headline question is simply put: what sort of Australia do we want? Do we want to build one that provides the coming generations with the opportunities and the lifestyle that many of us have enjoyed, or do we not particularly care?

Do we accept that we can plan a better future than we might otherwise have? Do we want to position Australia securely in a competitive even hostile world? Or do we lapse into some sort of torpor based on the delusion that if the past was OK, and the present isn’t too bad, then the future will look after itself?

In case I have left you in any doubt, I am firmly in the camp that thinks we have to act. I think that we have to take as much control of our destiny as we can....

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.