Faculty of Science is Inspiring Australia
17 April 2013
The University of Sydney has entered into a partnership with NSW Trade and Investment and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to support Inspiring Australia, the Australian Government's national strategy for engagement with the sciences.
"Inspiring Australia arose from a commitment to creating more innovation. The strategy works on many fronts to promote widespread awareness and appreciation of science and its relevance to everyday life," says NSW Manager, Jackie Randles.
"There are expert working groups working across six areas of inquiry, including marine, desert, Indigenous and science in the media. The prestigious Eureka Prizes and Prime Minister's Prizes for Science are now part of Inspiring Australia, as is National Science Week, the annual celebration of science that is now in its 16th year."
All states and territories are Inspiring Australia partners and work with local institutions to implement the strategy at a state level.
The University of Sydney's Faculty of Science is hosting Inspiring Australia in NSW, a partnership established by Jas Chambers from its Division of Natural Sciences.
Jas is also the Chair of the NSW Inspiring Australia and National Science Week Executive Committee.
"Inspiring Australia aligns with the University's commitment to outreach," says Jas.
"With so much innovation underway here on campus, we in science are delighted to take the opportunity to advance strategic leadership in ways that will improve outcomes for scientists at both the state and Commonwealth level."
In implementing the strategy, Jackie says that a big focus of her work will be on increasing promotional opportunities for science and scientists.
"We can all benefit from knowing how science can help solve many of today's most pressing problems.
"If we can raise awareness of the incredibly varied and important work undertaken by scientists, more people will understand why scientific research is beneficial to all of us and critical to Australia's economy.
"As a result, more kids might pursue scientific careers and Australians from all walks of life will have a better understanding of why science is important and needs investment."
Jackie says in terms of public engagement with science, there are all kinds of popular and successful community science initiatives already underway that others can learn from.
"A big part of my job will be to tap into community networks and encourage more people to introduce science themes into their community festivals and events."
To help people do this, Inspiring Australia is offering regional grants for community science initiatives that are locally relevant and driven from the ground up.
At a national level, Inspiring Australia promotes the benefits of ensuring scientific literacy in business and government.
"If politicians and senior executives don't keep step with what's happening in science, how are they going to be able to make informed decisions about the opportunities that will arise down the track?
"So in addition to strengthening community networks, I'd like to help bring more science into the boardroom, so that senior business leaders regularly consider how scientific discovery fits into their future plans."
The NSW Regional Science Grants program supports regional community groups to develop science activities and events to mark National Science Week 2013 (10-18 August). Applications close 31 May.
Find out more about Inspiring Australia in NSW at: http://sydney.edu.au/science/outreach/inspiring/
Contact: Katynna Gill
Phone: 02 9351 6997