31 July 2013

Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb has launched his position paper Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach today at the National Press Club.

“The headline question is simply put: what sort of Australia do we want?’’ Professor Chubb said.

“Do we accept that we can plan a better future than we might otherwise have … 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.’’

The position paper describes a need to strengthen four elements – education, new knowledge, innovation and influence – which are underpinned by the enabling sciences and mathematics, engineering and the technological sciences.

It says that for STEM to be most effective, it must be conducted through a renewed social compact between practitioners and the public.

“We must continue to build trust so that the community can make informed decisions based on evidence not decibels,’’ Professor Chubb said.

The position paper has already drawn strong support from industry and been cited as the most important action to create the right environment and systems for innovation.

“I note that the Business Council of Australia’s action plan released today also calls for a national strategy to be implemented as a matter of urgency. We have to make this work in the national interest,’’ Professor Chubb said.

The paper and Professor Chubb’s speech can be downloaded from the Office of the Chief Scientist website – – after 12.30 p.m.

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