The 26th meeting of the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) was held on 16 April in Melbourne where members gathered for their first meeting of 2013.
The process for determining strategic research priorities had been presented to the last PMSEIC meeting in December.
The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) reported back on the outcomes of a workshop of experts held on 8 February, which developed strategic research priorities to address the societal challenges facing Australia.
The priorities will ensure that Government support for research is adequate in areas that are of immediate and critical importance to Australia and its place in the world.
The meeting was also given a report on the Securing Australia’s Future program, undertaken on behalf of PMSEIC by the Australian Council of Learned Academies, including two interim project reports – Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production and STEM: Country Comparisons.
The report Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production focuses on shale gas in Australia and the opportunities and risks presented by this resource.
The STEM: Country Comparisons report is an analysis of what other countries are doing to develop participation and enhance performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Also discussed was the case for an Australian Science and Technology Strategy.
The purpose of the Strategy is to present a vision for science and technology and its critical role in building a strong, prosperous future for Australia.
The Strategy will provide a coherent framework for science and technology related policies and programs.
The Council also recognised the contribution of its longest-serving personal member Professor Fiona Stanley AC who is resigning after 19 years of service.
Professor Stanley has made a significant contribution to PMSEIC, particularly through her leadership of the working group on “Developmental Health and Well-being – the Future of Australia”.
PMSEIC will reconvene later in the year.