Who’s killing Science?

Anna Maria Arabia (STA) speaks to 3Q’s Sarah Macdonald and says that while Australian scientific innovation is world class, it’s future is at risk if the government and private sector stop investing.

Australia loves its sport champions, actors and writers. But we rarely sing the praises of our scientific innovators.

Yet Australia is amongst the world leaders in medical science and astronomy just to name a few.

Australian scientists invented our indestructible dollar bills, the iconic Aeroguard, the bionic ear, and the life changing wi-fi technology used in computers around the world.

Funding for science is well below the OECD average and with growing international competition Australia stands to fall further behind the pack.

What’s your view on the current state of science funding? Is there enough recognition of the value that science contributes to Australian society? 

Have your say by posting a comment below. 

As Anna Maria Arabia, the CEO of Science & Technology Australia tells 3Q’s Sarah Macdonald, Australian innovation will not reach its full potential if we don’t adequately invest in the development and commercialisation of Australia’s world class research.

Anna-Maria explains that rather than boosting innovation and entrepreneurial activity one of the key government programs that supports early stage venture capital is drawing to a close.

She also tells 3Q about a recent summit that brought together the superannuation industry and the science sector to investigate potential investment opportunities to support Australian innovation.

About 3Q – Questions that Count

3Q is a panel based talk-show produced by Essential Vision.  3Q aims to foster intelligent, but not too earnest, discussion from people who know their stuff.

More information here.

4 thoughts on “Who’s killing Science?

  1. Yesterday I heard that the Federal Government is building a Research Centre near the new Adelaide Hospital. Wouldn’t that money be better spent by investing in CSIRO (most Divisions of which are struggling to get funding) rather than a complete new building?

  2. Visiting Cuba in 2007 I was able to get a tour of the biotechnology centre in Havana – after the collapse of the Soviet Union Cuba lost access to oil & went through a “peak Oil” with major disruption to power supply etc During my visit to the lab I was told that during this period of oil crisis the Cuban government continued to fully support science believing its importance to future wealth creation warranted extroidinary support.
    One scientist told me he hardly left work during that period as it was the only place where there wasn’t power blackouts (important in a hot humid country!!). As a result today Cuba produces and exports the world’s most effective hepatitis B vaccine to more than 30 countries and has also developed the world’s first synthetic vaccines for the prevention of pneumonia and meningitis. The Cuban devloped meningitis vaccine is believed to be the only effective vaccine against meningitis meningococcus groups B and C. There are many other areas Cuba leads in biopesticides, pharmacueticals etc
    I was amazed at what I saw and how a devloping country can support science so well while I saw such a stark contrast on my return – an Australia without much vision in its leadership that seems content with letting the infrastructure, training, and research funding run down!

    Quote “The future of our homeland must necessarily be a future of men of sciences” Fidel Castro 1960


  3. In 1987 when I started at CSIRO, the Australian population was 16.2 million. CSIRO had, as I recall, something over 7000 staff. Now, 25 years later, the population is 22.9 million and CSIRO has about 6,500 staff. My current research projects cover carbon nanotubes, graphene, nano electromechanical systems, and nanomaterials health and safety, NONE of which even existed when I started here. By what metric can Australia in general, and CSIRO in particular, be judged to have succeeded in supporting science? Australia has blindly embraced exploitation economics and we will soon have nothing left but holes in the ground while we wonder what happened to the lucky country.

  4. We have heaps of inovation but Australian companies lack the enthusiasm or financial assistance to commercialise. That leaves us trying to sell our innovation to overseas companies and leaving Australian taxpayers with no net gain for their investment. Maybe the problem can be fixed by helping companies startup and develop within Australia. If we reduce the cost of doing business in Australia the lack of funding could resolve itself, eventually.

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