Science & Technology Australia’s five fixes for science jobs and skills


they would put us on a path to being a global STEM superpower, without costing the world

Right now, the world is in a fierce science and technology race. In the US, the recent CHIPS and Science Act will supercharge outlays on science and semiconductor advanced manufacturing by a massive $52bn.

Australia should be every bit as bold in our ambitions, and we can do so with strategic and targeted modest investment.

So how can Australia seize the “future powered by science” Prime Minister Albanese outlined in his Science Vision Statement?
Science & Technology Australia has five policy fixes in science jobs and skills to ensure our country can keep up with our economic competitors.

* we need a comprehensive national strategy to advance Australia’s science and technology ambitions
* we also need to train Australia’s first generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists – a constellation of scientist-entrepreneurs to be the country’s next commercialisation stars
* we desperately need to stop the “brain drain” – currently fuelled by chronic job insecurity in science careers – that drives many of our brilliant researchers overseas
To keep more of our top research talent we need the country’s research funding agencies to shift to longer-term grants and fellowships of five to 10 years. And we need the employers of scientists to match those longer-term grants with long-term employment certainty
We would love to see our last two in the October Budget.

* we want Labor’s election pledges to legislate new investments in research commercialisation confirmed in the Budget papers

* and we need to top-up investment for new discovery research – with a potential role here for the Government’s new National Reconstruction Fund.

To ensure we have the breakthroughs for an economy powered by science, even a modest boost to the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council grant budgets would deliver dividends in discoveries.
These five policy fixes would put us on a path to being a global STEM superpower, without it costing us the world.

Misha Schubert is CEO of Science & Technology Australia