Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Aspiring to Inspire

By Simon Grose

Can the government’s Inspire Australia strategy raise public appreciation of science?

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

Why doesn’t this magazine sell as many copies as Women’s Weekly? Why isn’t Radio National’s Science Show as popular as Alan Jones’ breakfast show?

These kinds of questions – and the frustration behind them – bother science communicators, science journalists, scientists and others who yearn for a more scientifically literate society. The expectation is that such a society would be more likely to encourage politicians and enterprises to propose evidence-based policies, would be more sensible than superstitious, more sanguine than shortsighted, and could cement this rational refit by attracting more of its citizens to become scientists.

The latest effort to provide answers is the Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy. Its aspirational goal is to create a “scientifically engaged Australia – a society that is inspired by and values scientific endeavour, that attracts increasing national and international interest in its science, that critically engages with key scientific issues and that encourages young people to pursue scientific studies and careers”.

Launched a year ago, it has been followed by a report from an expert working group. Together they generally propose old favourites – media training for scientists, science training for journalists, summits and forums, surveys and portals, ambassadors and champions, programs in schools, and scientists as...

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