The Federal Minister for Industry, The Honourable Mr Ian Macfarlane MP, says young people must be made aware of the excitement, importance and potential of careers in science if more are to be attracted to tertiary study in the field.
Visiting Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus as part of National Science Week, Mr Macfarlane added that universities, government and industry must embrace interaction and shared innovation to further the cause of Australian science.
Welcomed by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Martin Betts, Pro Vice Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Debra Henly and Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Allan Cripps, the Minister used his visit to announce the Federal Government’s ongoing support of National Science Week through the Science for Australia’s Future program.
The program has received an increase in funding and will continue operating for at least four more years.
Mr Macfarlane was also shown examples of the diversity and innovation produced within Griffith Sciences, with demonstrations featuring a self-charging car, 3D printed bike and the recently launched CliniHelp app for monitoring Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
“I am the son of a scientist and the grandson of a scientist. Science is at the heart of our society and our community, but as well as answering questions about our place in the world, Australian researchers are also using science to solve practical problems and increase our standard of living,” Mr Macfarlane told Griffith Sciences academics.
“National Science Week showcases the real diversity of the scientific research underway in Australia and Science for Australia’s Future provides opportunities for year-round engagement through a large variety of user-friendly events, including university open days, museum events and activities for young people.
“Our goal is to build National Science Week participation from 6 per cent to 10 per cent of Australians.”
Mr Macfarlane said universities such as Griffith were important partners for the Federal Government as it sought to put science, research and innovation at the centre of industry policy.
“We support science and research focused on areas of national priority and we’re investing strategically in projects that will have long-term and ongoing benefits, with investment totalling $8.6 billion this year alone,” he said.
The Minister said that as part of the National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda, the Federal Government was putting in place a plan to draw together industry with science and research, as well as skills and training.
“This includes a long-term strategy to create new jobs by encouraging greater collaboration between these three pillars, with a focus on commercialisation and productivity growth,” he said.
National Science Week runs until Sunday, August 24.