PM to chair new Commonwealth Science Council

Wednesday, 15 October, 2014


The newly formed Commonwealth Science Council is expected to meet twice each year, with the PM in the chair at one meeting at least. The new body replaces the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, which has not convened since the last federal election.

The role of the Science Council will be to advise the government on areas of national strength, current and future capability and on ways to improve connections between government, research organisations, universities and business.

The Australian Government will invest $12 million to improve the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools across the country. There will be $500,000 seed funding for an innovation-focused Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) pilot program.

The government will:

  • Invest $7.4 million to provide innovative mathematics resources for primary and secondary school teachers and students.
  • Invest $3.5 million to provide greater exposure to computer coding across different year levels in Australian schools to expand the pool of ICT-skilled workers.
  • Provide $500,000 for an innovation-focused Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) pilot program to help develop the next generation of innovators and job-ready graduates.
  • Increase student participation in the ‘Summer schools for STEM students’ program, with a focus on girls, disadvantaged and Indigenous students and those living in regional and remote areas. The government will provide funds to support travel and accommodation for participants.

The Commonwealth Science Council will include the Minister for Industry, Minister for Education, Minister for Health and the Chief Scientist. Other ministers will participate in the Science Council’s discussions as required.

Five eminent scientists, researchers and educators and five business leaders will make up the majority of the Science Council to ensure discussions address the need for industry and science to work together closely to boost Australia’s competitiveness.

The Science Council’s members are:

  • Professor Timothy Davis
  • Professor Ian Frazer AC
  • Professor Nalini Joshi
  • Professor Tanya Monro
  • Professor Brian Schmidt AC
  • Mr Ken Boal
  • Dr Michael Chaney AO
  • Dr Jackie Fairley
  • Mr David Knox
  • Ms Catherine Livingstone AO

The Science Council's first meeting will be held before the end of 2014.

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