COMMONWEALTH SCIENCE COUNCIL: THIRD MEETING

The Commonwealth Science Council held its third meeting in Canberra on 21 October 2015. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of the work of the Council in providing strategic advice on science, innovation and technology issues to the Australian Government.

Members expressed strong support for the Government’s focus on innovation and its connection with science and technology, and discussed the importance of a strategic approach to Australian innovation and science. Members recommended that the Government work to develop a comprehensive and whole-of-government National Innovation and Science Agenda.

As part of the broad discussion on the Agenda, the Minister for Education and Training presented the final report from the Research Infrastructure Review. Members noted that the Government is developing a response to the recommendations in this report in the context of a National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science led discussion on capability mapping against the practical challenges associated with Science and Research Priorities. Members noted that current data collections do not provide an understanding of the full profile of public investment in science and research. The Minister asked the National Science, Technology and Research Committee to audit data collection to ensure data will support assessment of investment in priority areas.

Members considered the outcomes of consultations on the Government response to the suite of recommendations from the Chief Scientist’s report: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future. Members acknowledged that the Government has commenced a range of new activities to support STEM since the release of the report; and noted that there is considerable scope for new initiatives to boost innovation, support high quality education and training, maximise research potential and strengthen international engagement.

The Minister for Education and Training and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science also provided an update on the progress of the Government’s plan to boost commercial returns from research.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the important contribution of Professor Ian Chubb AC to the Council and the Australian community in his tenure as Chief Scientist, and thanked him for his service.

The Council will next meet in the first half of 2016.

21 October 2016 – Record of third Commonwealth Science Council meeting