[ASA] E-Bulletin from Science & Technology Australia

John O'Byrne john.obyrne at sydney.edu.au
Sun Sep 9 22:28:07 AEST 2012

* For distribution to your members*

Dear STA members

1.	Science meets Parliament 2012
Thank you all for your overwhelmingly positive response to Science meets Parliament 2012.  We have a record number of delegates and parliamentarians attending this year, and a terrific program.  
We are particularly delighted that Prime Minister Gillard will be addressing delegates this year.

2.	Geek the Vote campaign
This year we are have asked the wider community to pledge to help get a copy of the Geek Manifesto on every federal politician’s desk by 17 September
Science & Technology Australia (and many of our friends in the science sector) were reading ‘The Geek Manifesto’ and think it is time every MP reads it too. Why? Because even though politicians aren’t obliged to make every decision according to the available scientific evidence and nothing else, they definitely should make sure they take scientific advice on issues when it is relevant –and let’s be honest there are few public policy issues where it’s not.
We would like to send 226 copies of the Geek Manifesto to Federal Parliament – that’s one copy for every politician in the House. 

We are half way there but time is running out – will you and others in your network pledge to buy one copy before 17 September when our 200 scientists go to Canberra to deliver them during Science meets Parliament?

Deadline to pledge: 17 September 2012.  Cost per copy: $35 (incl GST).

Click on www.sta.org.au now to take the pledge and please ask your friends to do the same.

3.  Inspiring Australia Survey
The Inspiring Australia team from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) is seeking feedback on the Australian science engagement scene and would like your help. 
Please find below a link to a five-minute survey which provides an opportunity for you to let us know your thoughts.
Inspiring Australia Survey 2012
The survey closes 30 September 2012.

4.  Recent reports regarding Federal Government grants
You and some of the members of your societies may be concerned about reports indicating a "funding freeze" on federal government grants. Some have speculated that this freeze may apply to ARC and NHMRC grants.
Indeed there have been reported comments and concerns from organisations which operate in the science sector and by the Opposition to indicate that this may be or is the case.  
I wish to provide an update on what is known at the present time following my discussions with senior officials in Canberra.  The Department of Finance has been asked to undertake a review of all grants distributed across portfolios so that a careful assessment can be made about how much money is being expended, where it is being distributed, and what might be deemed discretionary.  This exercise will take approximately 2 weeks.  At this stage there is no indication that it will effect ARC and NHMRC grants.  While nothing can be ruled in or out, it is certainly premature to raise alarm bells.  That said Science & Technology Australia has and will continue to raise concerns about the long term negative consequences of stop/start funding in research.  Encouraging are the recent public statements by the Prime Minister about boosting maths and science education, an area which is increasingly addressed by her.  Also, the Prime Minister will address delegates at Science meets Parliament this year speaking about why science matters.  I will keep you abreast of any further information I receive.  And needless to say if there were cause for concern, Science & Technology Australia stands ready to mobilise our resources to protect research.

5. 	Events of interest
To coincide with activities happening at Parliament House during Science meets Parliament the ANU Colleges of Science have organised complementary events:
Science, politics and the public: breaking down the barriers. Event details are available here: http://sciencepoliticsandpublic.eventbrite.com/
Q&ANU: Academic freedom in a world of cures, cloning and climate: Event details are available here:  http://qandanu.eventbrite.com/ 

Best wishes


Anna-Maria Arabia
Chief Executive Officer
Science & Technology Australia
Giving voice to Australian Science & Technology for over 27 years

T: 02 6257 2891
M: 0412 940 921
F: 02 6257 2897

PO Box 259
Canberra City ACT 2601
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