The report: “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future” reinforces calls by Universities Australia on the need for a long-term, strategic approach to investment in science and research.
“Science and research are the pillars upon which Australia’s productivity, living standards and community well-being are built. They are critical to Australia making a successful transition to a knowledge economy, and our ability to succeed in an intensely competitive global market,” said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
“Improving our economic and productive performance requires strategic, long-term and stable investment, even in difficult economic times. It aims to embed STEM learning at all levels of the education system and workforce. This investment will deliver maximum returns only if there is a long-term plan for science and research that identifies strategic priorities, acknowledges the need for research career programs and encourages the study and teaching of STEM courses that align skills with workforce needs,” said Ms Robinson.
The report recommends a range of actions to build a stronger Australia with a competitive economy through:
- Building competitiveness;
- Supporting high quality education and training;
- Maximising research potential; and
- Strengthening international engagement.
“Universities are a critical part of the nation’s economic and knowledge infrastructure. They provide skilled graduates, underpin our research effort and are the cornerstone of delivering education services internationally,” Ms Robinson said.
“Countries around the world have recognised that they cannot be complacent if they are to prosper and compete in the rapidly changing global economy.
“Our competitors are putting in place explicit strategies to support research and innovation as prime drivers of economic and social prosperity and we must do the same,” Ms Robinson said.
Today’s recommendations build on the Chief Scientist’s earlier position paper, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach, calling for a whole-of-government approach to investment in STEM.