In a speech to the National Press Club, Professor Glover will describe the growing emergence in our time of a “creeping cynicism – even outright hostility – towards evidence and expertise”.
He’ll describe how agendas are displacing analysis in much of our public debate.
“And yet – as we strive to cure cancer; save lives from preventable disease; navigate disruption; lift living standards; overcome prejudice; and prevent catastrophic climate change – expertise has never been more important,” he will say.
Professor Glover will note that standing up for specialist expertise doesn’t discount the wisdom of the layperson.
“And it doesn’t mean universities have all the answers: far from it… (But) my plea is this: let’s not deride experts, nor the value of expertise,” he will say.
“Because in an era where extremists and polemicists seek to claim more and more of the public square, our need for unbiased, well-researched information has never been greater.”
Universities and university expertise are invaluable as people seek to reclaim the role of facts in public debates.
Beyond their role in building evidence and knowledge, Professor Glover will also reveal the extent to which universities are powering Australia’s startup economy.
He’ll launch a new report – ‘Startup Smarts: universities and the startup economy’ – which finds that more than four in five startup Australian founders are graduates.
“It confirms that universities and their graduates are the driving force in Australia’s startup economy,” he will say.
“By the time today’s kindergarten students finish high school and are considering university study, startups will have created over half a million new jobs across the country.”
“And this new sector of our economy – a sector indivisible from our universities – raised $569 million in 2016 – 73 per cent more than the previous year.”
The startup success story driven by universities is also vital in regional Australia, where the idea of the ‘silicon paddock’ – using technology to take farm-based businesses to the markets of the world – is now a reality.