A report to be launched in Cairns tomorrow (Wednesday 8 May) outlines proposals to strengthen tropical Australia’s engagement with the sciences.
“Science shapes much of the debate and the decision-making process in issues critical to the future of northern Australia,” project manager Associate Professor Allan Dale said.
“To build a prosperous and sustainable future for our region, we need to improve our scientific literacy, and strengthen our engagement with science — as stakeholders, students and science workers.”
Science Engagement and Tropical Australia: Building a prosperous and sustainable future for the North, was funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
The project was led by Professor Hurriyet Babacan and managed by Associate Professor Dale, both from The Cairns Institute at James Cook University. The Expert Working Group (EWG) was chaired by eminent scientist Professor Peter Andrews, AO.
“The Expert Working Group concluded that tropical Australia is disadvantaged in the quality and impact of its science engagement, which weakens the north’s ability to make genuine economic, social and environmental progress at the same rate as other parts of the nation,” Associate Professor Dale said.
“The report contains 20 recommendations along seven key themes, which aim in the short-to-medium term to kick-start improved science engagement in tropical Australia.
“These are recommendations that seek to engage the people of tropical Australia with the sciences – from broad national discussions, such as climate change, to local and personal involvement in the discussions, planning and research that will shape our future.
“To achieve that we need to better connect science with our communities, including remote Indigenous communities. We also need to include the tropics in national science planning, and strengthen our region’s communication infrastructure.”
This tropics-focussed report addresses the goals identified in Inspiring Australia, a national strategy for engagement with the sciences.
“Inspiring Australia, for the first time, positioned the role of northern Australia in the national science effort,” Associate Professor Dale said. “Getting a strong and cohesive agenda for northern Australia is the key to the region’s sustainable development.”
Issued May 7, 2013
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