National Science and Technology Council: Fourth Meeting
The fourth meeting of the National Science and Technology Council was held in Canberra on 13 November 2019, attended by Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, and Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP.
Minister Andrews highlighted the ongoing work of the Council in areas of critical importance to Australia’s future, such as the adoption of new technologies and engaging students in STEM subjects.
The Council discussed the contribution science, research and innovation (SRI) make to Australia, and how SRI endeavour can deliver benefits in the national interest, particularly generating and commercialising the new ideas and technology that drive job growth and productivity. Barriers to collaboration and translation of science and research into tangible positive impacts for Australian citizens were considered, along with the respective roles of research organisations, universities, industry and government in reducing these barriers.
The Council discussed Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Minister Andrews noted the recent release of the AI Ethics Principles, and her AI summit Techtonic: Shaping Australia’s AI Future at Old Parliament House on 15 November 2019. The summit is the culmination of extensive work on AI across government, but also marks the beginning of the next phase of the conversation on how to maximise the benefits of AI for Australia. The Council will continue to provide advice on how Australia’s science and technology system is placed to deliver on these aspirations.
Members continued the discussion from last meeting on lifelong learning in light of the release of the Provider Category Standards and Australian Qualification Framework reviews. The Council also discussed the advice it recently provided to the COAG Education Council on priority areas to ensure students stay engaged in STEM subjects throughout their school education. Building on and accelerating the work already underway across Australia is essential to improving student participation and performance in STEM. Members reaffirmed their commitment to continue attention on the STEM education pipeline as fundamental to the SRI system.