Science Meets Parliament 2017

Science Meets Parliament is an annual event of Science and Technology Australia (STA). It involves bringing 200 of Australia’s leading scientists and technologists to Canberra to stimulate and inform parliamentarians of how science contributes to society and informs public policy. The event also assists in professional development through providing participants with an insight into political, policy, media and parliamentary processes.

This year I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Science Meets Parliament which was held on March 21 and 22. The event enabled me to get to know the views of some of Australia’s most influential and passionate parliamentarians, science advisors, STEM professionals and media personalities.

Day one was all about professional development, building connections and collaborations. It included useful advice on how to turn science into news, how science is used to shape public policy, how to convince a parliamentarian without using the word money/funding, and how to pitch my science in 60 seconds. I really felt optimistic about my future after listening to the commitment of the government and the opposition to science and technology in Australia in years to come.

On day two, I met Honorable Senators Chris Back and Chris Ketter face-to-face in their parliamentary offices. I was really impressed by the way they listened and engaged with me about how to grow crops in salty soils. I was also inspired by the speeches and parliamentary forum. The glowing endorsement of curiosity driven research by Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Australian of the Year, particularly resonated with me even after the completion of the event.

The University of Adelaide External Relations branch also hosted a breakfast event which allowed us to interact, promote science and build connections with our local parliamentarians and alumni.

I would like to thank Australian Society of Plant Scientists for giving me this opportunity to represent plant scientists at this event.

By Dr Jayakumar Bose, DECRA Fellow | School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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