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New Science Minister acknowledges importance of science

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The new Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, has acknowledged the importance of science and innovation for shaping Australia’s destiny.

At his National Press Club address on 22 March 2017, the Minister spoke about Australia’s current economic setting and the challenges we face, specifically:

  • Managing the transition from the resources boom to more balanced, broad-based growth;
  • Accelerating productivity growth, if we’re to match the income growth of recent decades;
  • Facilitating structural change engendered by new technologies, globalisation and trade;
  • And all this against the backdrop of mediocre global growth and heightened uncertainty.

The Minister noted that disruption and change are inevitable and the government’s innovation policies are all about facilitating a mindset shift towards innovation across all industries and helping businesses respond to disruption in the market so that the benefits of new economic opportunities are reaped.

“The scientific community is a critical contributor to the new Australian economy. It drives our traditional sectors to be smarter and more competitive – on and off shore,” Minister Sinodinos said.

He also noted that collaboration is a key focus for his portfolio, specifically improving collaboration between researchers and business to “translate publicly funded research into real products”.

The Minister highlighted the government’s utmost respect for the role of science in policy-making and spoke about the new National Science Statement, which was also released on 22 March 2017. He said The Science Statement is “an enduring framework to guide our decisions on what we need and what we want from science.”

The National Science Statement sets out the government’s long-term commitment to science, including funding for the provision of “the best research infrastructure in the world”.

To realise its vision, the government will act in three leadership roles:

  • supporting science by providing funding and other resources for the spectrum of basic to applied scientific research, critical scientific infrastructure and equipment, and science and mathematics education, directly investing in Australia’s future
  • participating in science by producing, using and sharing research, data and information, operating scientific research infrastructure and engaging with science internationally
  • enabling science by setting institutional arrangements that shape the science system and its interactions with business and the community, including the translation of research into economic and other benefits.

All of these initiatives have direct relevance to what we do here at AARNet in our role as a key research infrastructure provider for the nation’s universities and research institutes. Our high-capacity ultra-fast national and international data communications network and collaboration services such as CloudStor underpin knowledge creation and discovery by seamlessly connecting researchers, instruments, storage and computational facilities and other scientific resources.

We look forward to the opportunities ahead, to collaborating with government and the research and education sector, and evolving our network and services to drive a wave of transformation and innovation that will change the lives of Australians for the better.

Read or Listen to the Minister’s full address

View the full National Science Statement


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