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Dr Marques attended the forum as part of her role with the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia (HBPRCA).
The other delegate from the Council was Rachel Climie, a PhD candidate at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research.
“We had a fantastic experience, developed several important communication skills and discussed the importance of science with many MPs and delegates, including Professor Warwick Anderson, Chief Executive of the National Health and Medical Research Council,” Dr Marques said.
“Day one was basically learning how to communicate our science better, to engage with the public and politicians.
“We heard from journalists, political advisers, policy makers, scientists and some people directly involved in increasing public awareness of science.
“There was a lot of opportunities for questions and discussions around science, funding and politics.”
At night there was a gala dinner at Parliament House, where Francine and Rachel had the opportunity to discuss the current funding situation with the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, and one of his policy advisors, amongst other politicians, fundraisers and scientists.
“Day two was at Parliament House. I had a meeting with Melissa Parke, Member for Fremantle, to talk about my research, and Rachel met Senator Richard Di Natale. Both politicians were very excited and supportive of medical research,” Dr Marques said.
“We also heard the Chief Investigator Ian Chubb release an important report about the impact of physics, chemistry and maths on our economy. They directly add $145 billion to the Australian economy each year ($292 billion indirectly, equivalent to 11% of GDP) and 760,000 jobs (7% of all jobs in Australia).
“Later we went to the National Press Club where Ian Chubb delivered an inspirational speech about science in Australia. He said we need to be ‘passionate, patient and consistent’ and that ‘good science will outlive all of us’.
“We had the opportunity there to question Senator Kim Carr, Professor Anderson, Professor Aidan Byrne, Dr Dennis Jensen and Dr Andrew Laming.
“The two-day forum was a great success and I truly appreciate the support the provided by the HBPRCA to myself and Rachel.”
Picture: Dr Francine Marques, left, with Professor Warwick Anderson and Rachel Climie