MEDIA RELEASE: STRATEGIC RESEARCH PRIORITIES VITAL FOR AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE

24 June 2013

Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb says the 15 priorities for strategic research announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard are vital to addressing the most important societal challenges facing the nation.

The Prime Minister has released the strategic research priorities with the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Dr Craig Emerson, and the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Don Farrell.

“We must be strategic about the science our nation needs. We can no longer assume the areas critical to our nation’s interest will be there when we need them. By ensuring a proportion of government support is directed to these areas, we move towards a more secure future,’’ Professor Chubb said.

The 15 research priorities will address the five most significant, immediate, challenges facing our community: living in a changing environment, promoting population health and wellbeing, managing our food and water assets, securing Australia’s place in a changing world and lifting productivity and economic growth.

“Australians seek assurance that regardless of the winds of change, we will always have the knowledge and know-how needed to address the challenges facing us as a nation and the global community of which we are a part. These Strategic Research Priorities seek to provide that assurance,’’ Professor Chubb said.

The Strategic Research Priorities will ensure departments and agencies of the Commonwealth direct a proportion of their budgets, consistent with their mission, to addressing the societal challenges and replace the 10-year old National Research Priorities. They build on the Government’s 2012 National Research Investment Plan.

Departments and agencies will be given until July 2014 to align with the new Strategic Research Priorities.

Professor Chubb is Chair of the Australian Research Committee (ARCom) which developed the Strategic Research Priorities. He will write to all departments and agencies engaged in the funding of research outlining the implementation process.

“Today, we start moving to coordinate research investment and focus research on areas of national importance and competitive advantage. This will make Australia stronger,’’ Professor Chubb said.

Media enquiries: Mick Bunworth 02 6102 8179 or 0410 029 407 or Alexis Cooper (02) 6213 6723 Mick.Bunworth@chiefscientist.gov.au or Alexis.Cooper@chiefscientist.gov.au

The Strategic Research Priorities and fact sheets are available from science.gov.au.