Inspiring a nation of scientists

$520 million for the Synchrotron, $294 million for the Square Kilometre Array and $1.5 billion for all 27 national collaborative (NCRIS) facilities.

These are some of the winners from the National Innovation and Science Agenda announced last week.

And the reaction from the science world has been one of relief and optimism.

This is a step change in how we drive the benefit of our nation’s ideas, small and large. The “Ideas Boom” is the boom we have to have”, said Peter Yates, Chairman AusSMC.

This new agenda represents a turning point. It means we can grow an economy based on our outstanding science, and which makes the best use of our significant scientific capital,” Les Field, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Vice-President, UNSW.

“We are delighted by this news. Quantum computing is a transformational technology in which Australia has an international lead, and there is now an opportunity for translating this research right here in Australia,” Michelle Simmons, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW.

But what we’re most excited about is the $48 million to inspire all Australians, from pre-schoolers to the broader community:

  • Expanding the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science to recognise the efforts of youth and early career research excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Supporting Australian students in competitions, such as the International Science and Mathematics Olympiads, and hosting the 2019 Asian Physics Olympiad.
  • Developing play-based learning apps and science and mathematics resources for early childhood educators.
  • Supporting and expanding community engagement initiatives, including Inspiring Australia and citizen science projects.

We joined hundreds of other interested scientists, business people, entrepreneurs, and small business owners at the stakeholder briefing in Melbourne this week, who were there to find out what was in it for them. Stakeholder briefings are being held around the country.

Understandably, for such a big new agenda, not all those details have been nutted out yet, so it’s possible we’ll all get a chance to inform the rollout.

The main message was… stay tuned.

Read more reactions at: www.scimex.org/newsfeed/expert-reaction-federal-government-innovation-statement. And here’s a point of view from RiAus: http://riaus.org.au/articles/nisa-breakdown-need-know

Plus more informal responses #ideasboom on Twitter.

And the official webpage is: www.innovation.gov.au

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