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2010 Mid West Science Summit | Inspiring Australia


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Inspiring Australia: a national strategy for engagement with the sciences

Presentation to the Mid West Science Summit in Geraldton, WA.

Geoff Crane, Questacon
November 2010

Published in: Education
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2010 Mid West Science Summit | Inspiring Australia

  1. 1. Inspiring Australia: A national strategy for engagement in the sciences Geoff Crane Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
  2. 2. “We have to get serious about science communication” Innovation Minister Kim Carr, 8 February 2010
  3. 3. PART ONE: A bit of history
  4. 4. What’s Questacon? We’re also known as The National Science and Technology Centre Questacon is a big hands-on science centre next to Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra We also send our exhibitions around Australia and the Asia-Pacific region And we have a suite of outreach programs that tour the length and breadth of Australia.
  5. 5. In fact… I was here in Geraldton for the last week of August in 1991 with the Shell Questacon Science Circus We performed science shows in schools from Dongara to Northampton and opened our public science exhibition in the hall at Geraldton Senior College And just last week the Science Circus celebrated its 25th anniversary!
  6. 6. Questacon
  7. 7. Questacon
  8. 8. Questacon
  9. 9. Questacon
  10. 10. Questacon
  11. 11. A new brief Given responsibility for the existing Science Connections Program in July 2009 Released Inspiring Australia in February 2010 after national consultations Dual roles: to be a science centre with travelling exhibitions and outreach programs as well as developing policy and providing leadership
  12. 12. “Science communication matters because so many of the decisions we make these days are based on science. Decisions about who gets what, when, where and how. Decisions that influence people’s chances in life. Decisions that may well determine the fate of the planet.” Innovation Minister Kim Carr, 8 February 2010
  13. 13. PART TWO: The strategy
  14. 14. Developing Inspiring Australia Steering committee with representatives from Questacon, ABC & CSIRO, the Chief Scientist for Australia and chaired by DIISR Consultative meetings and submissions from 200 individuals and organisations Report released 8 February 2010 Funding announced 8 September 2010 Initiative to start 1 July 2011
  15. 15. Inspiring Australia The strategy aims to build a scientifically engaged Australia with • an innovative society • a technologically skilled workforce • a scientifically literate community • scientifically well informed decision makers Highlights that the social sciences and humanities are critical to the interface between science and society
  16. 16. Needed more than ever Building a healthy relationship between science and society Sharing the excitement of discovery Facilitating dialogue and consensus Countering misinformation, doubt and pseudoscience
  17. 17. Inspiring Australia recommendations 1. A new initiative 2. Vision & priority setting 3. Leadership 4. Coherent action 5. Pride in Australian achievement 6. International recognition 7. Science & society 8. Engaging Australian communities 9. Building partnerships – using networks 10. Strengthening the media’s role 11. A focus on youth and the future 12. Unlocking Australia’s full potential 13. National framework – local action 14. Utilising new media 15. Developing an evidence base (so there’s a lot to be getting on with)
  18. 18. Reactions to the report “A new national approach to communicating science will unite the sector and strengthen Australia’s prized and highly regarded scientists and scientific heritage” Dr Cathy Foley, President of FASTS
  19. 19. Reactions to the report “Australian Science Communicators (ASC) welcomes Inspiring Australia, a report which sets the agenda for science communication for the nation” Dr Jessie Shore, President, Australian Science Communicators
  20. 20. Reactions to the report “The report recognises the contribution of the humanities, arts and social science disciplines in problem-solving, and notes the social sciences and humanities are critical to the interface between science and society." Prof Linda Rosenman, President of CHASS
  21. 21. Reactions to the report “The review has done a service by gathering the first compendium of projects and activities that have sprung up spasmodically throughout the nation from people who are motivated to engage the broad community with science.” Dr Peter Pockley, Australasian Science
  22. 22. “Inspiring Australia calls for a clear vision, strong leadership and coherent action” Innovation Minister Kim Carr, 8 February 2010
  23. 23. PART THREE: What we’ll be doing
  24. 24. First steps This is a transitional year moving from Science Connections to Inspiring Australia Official start date is 1 July 2011, but we’re working on it now Communicating with stakeholders (you!)
  25. 25. Funding $21 million announced for 3 years from 1 July 2011 Leveraging value: co-contributions to projects and not duplicating effort The initiative will only work if lots of other organisations - including yours - join in
  26. 26. Four elements Recognising achievement National Science Week Unlocking Australia’s potential Connecting with mainstream media and new media (2010 election commitment)
  27. 27. Recognising achievement The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognising excellence in • research • primary and secondary teaching Sponsor of Eureka Awards • science journalism • promoting understanding of science • people’s choice
  28. 28. Recognising achievement
  29. 29. Recognising achievement
  30. 30. Recognising achievement
  31. 31. Recognising achievement
  32. 32. National Science Week A collaborative effort: 1000 events Australia wide Success depends on the efforts of volunteer coordinating committees in each state and territory to bring together the great events held by science organisations Will continue over next three years, including grants to support events
  33. 33. National Science Week
  34. 34. National Science Week
  35. 35. National Science Week
  36. 36. National Science Week
  37. 37. Unlocking Australia’s full potential Co-funded Inspiring Australia officers or seed funding in states & territories – providing for year round events ($44 000 for events in WA during 2010) Programs for youth, regions and remote communities Science and Engineering Challenge Integrating science into events like writers’ weeks and music festivals
  38. 38. Unlocking Australia’s full potential International Year of Biodiversity 2010 - through the Council of Australasian Museum Directors, esp. Western Australian Museum & Australian Museum International Year of Chemistry 2011 - through the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  39. 39. Unlocking Australia’s full potential
  40. 40. Unlocking Australia’s full potential
  41. 41. Unlocking Australia’s full potential
  42. 42. Unlocking Australia’s full potential
  43. 43. Connecting with mainstream and new media An expert working group on science in the media, led by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC), will report soon Fresh Science media training for scientists Now trialling scicommunity, a web site for science communicators to share stories about public engagement Planning to support cadetships for science journalists
  44. 44. Connecting with mainstream and new media
  45. 45. Connecting with mainstream and new media
  46. 46. Connecting with mainstream and new media
  47. 47. Connecting with mainstream and new media
  48. 48. Connecting with mainstream and new media
  49. 49. “We need to strengthen public engagement with science and research, to build support, understanding and consensus of scientific evidence and the role it plays in shaping our future” Innovation Minister Kim Carr, 20 September 2010
  50. 50. PART FOUR: The future
  51. 51. We’ve already started work on Expert working groups on media and evaluation Science communication conference in partnership with the Royal Institution of Australia Developing an Inspiring Australia brand Establishing an officers working group and intergovernmental framework of principles
  52. 52. Over the next 3 years we’ll Support science journalism cadetships Provide training for scientists in science communication Consider more expert working groups Provide support to CHASS and FASTS Work with science-related agencies and businesses like yours to build Inspiring Australia as a coherent and trusted brand Hold a science & society forum Evaluate what we’re achieving
  53. 53. How can you join in? Actively support the Inspiring Australia initiative: • identify a contact officer to facilitate information flow • consider aligning some current science communication activities with Inspiring Australia principles • contribute to forums, expert working groups • engage with new audiences
  54. 54. “Some scientists will know the satisfaction of a major breakthrough. Some will find one thousand ways that don’t work. But all scientists take forward the same great mission: to interpret the world – and to help us change it.” Innovation Minister Kim Carr, 12 October 2010
  55. 55. Geoff Crane This presentation is online at: Bookmarks for web sites mentioned in this presentation are online at: