Australia's Chief Scientist

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) for our Future

Download a copy of the first bulletin here (22kb).

27 August 2013

The entire STEM enterprise – education, research, innovation, and influence both nationally and internationally – is critical to our future: a means to a better end.

Australia supports its STEM enterprise in a diverse but diffuse manner, and has for many years. Such an approach has served Australia well over the period – but the world is changing rapidly.

This is a matter confronted elsewhere. Many countries with a STEM enterprise to which ours relates, also support multiple programs through multiple portfolios. Several countries have developed strategies however, to ensure that their STEM enterprise is coordinated to ensure they build the capacity they need to support their communities – or develop their capacity to minimise the risk of falling behind.

We need to be certain that multiple arrangements do not inadvertently reduce Australia’s capacity to look after itself, nor reduce our capacity to contribute our knowledge and skills to global efforts.

Accordingly, I have proposed that we commit to developing a long-term and cohesive national strategy for STEM. Such a strategy would result in the coordination of our support for STEM by ensuring that we consciously deploy our resources for maximum benefit, and that gaps in the pipeline anywhere from early education to strategic international alliances are known and accepted – or rectified.

The next ‘Earning Our Way Through Science’ bulletin will outline what actions have been taken by other countries to deploy their STEM enterprise.