Amid all the attention on the SKA decision, an important report was released on the health of Australian science, writes Staff Association President, Dr Michael Borgas.
THE IMPORTANCE of the message from Professor Ian Chubb should not be underestimated. Science plays a crucial and versatile role in advancing the national interest.
The Chief Scientist is concerned. The study of mathematics, physics and chemistry is on the slide.
Read the Chief Scientist’s speech to the National Press Club here.
Undergraduate enrolments in Agriculture and ICT are down sharply – bad news for food security and the so-called digital economy.
The declining trend in the amount of basic research undertaken has not gone unnoticed. Professor Chubb says:
“In the past two decades the proportion of the Commonwealth’s expenditure directed to basic and strategic research has steadily decreased, and the proportion directed to applied and experimental research has steadily increased.
“There is no apparent rationale for this trend.”
Policymakers must understand that to turn things around, both the quantity and quality of science funding must be significantly improved, in real terms over a sustained period.
It’s a message the Staff Association will take to Canberra in September, when Science meets Parliament.
Dr Michael Borgas is the President of the CSIRO Staff Association.
The Health of Australian Science – Report from the Office of the Chief Scientist