2020-21 Australian Science Policy Fellow: Mostafa
Mostafa Numan, Department of Defence
What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?
Conventional computer architecture fails to provide acceptable performance for today’s data and computation intensive applications due to inherent Von Neumann bottleneck. My research focused on investigating non-conventional computing platforms that involved parallel processing to mitigate the gap. Prior to commencing the Science Policy Fellowship Program, I had been researching how automatic software code deployment onto reconfigurable computing platforms, for example FPGA, could achieve the goal in a space and power constrained environment. My PhD research to design a Network-on-Chip (NoC) for artificial intelligence and cognitive computing workload also pursued the same goal.
What policy area are you working on through the Science Policy Fellowship Program?
I am based in the Defence Science and Technology Group of the Department of Defence. The organisation works closely with the Australian science, technology and innovation ecosystem to deliver scientific advice and solutions that provide capability enhancement for Defence and the national security community. Our team leads and contributes towards coordinating and reporting key strategy, policy and enterprise initiatives, in which science, technology and innovation play a key role. Some initiatives emerge dynamically in response to events in the defence world, others are executed to the drumbeat of defined enterprise processes.
How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?
Scientific research and policy development may sound very distinct, but in practice they share a similar process flow. The transferrable skills I honed during my research career fits well in policymaking as well. My ability to identify the root cause of a problem, to collect information from reliable sources, to apply analytical skills to extract key points and solve problems, and to communicate the findings to audiences with varied backgrounds – are all helping me to contribute to policy development in a government environment.
How has the program changed your career aspirations?
I worked in different fields of engineering and research, and that enriched me with a wide STEM background. The Science Policy Fellowship Program gave me the opportunity to connect the dots of my career to construct an amazing constellation. The exposure, mentoring and networking opportunity the Program offers are encouraging me to explore the diversity of career options within government where I can draw on my all my experience and knowledge, and grow as a successful policymaker.
What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?
I relish the opportunity of adding value in government decision making and knowing that my work has a direct impact on science and technology capability enhancement of Australian defence. I am still contributing to STEM as I always wanted to, but this time from policy viewpoint – which is very satisfying. I also enjoy the dynamic APS environment and being among so many talented people.