A strategic breakthrough in building public support for research and science

A strategic breakthrough in building public support for research and science

9 February 2010

The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences believes the new science communications strategy, ‘Inspiring Australia’ (released February 8) opens the way for a strong and open relationship between science and society, CHASS President, Professor Linda Rosenman said today.

Professor Rosenman said the strategy was a breakthrough in building effective programs for public engagement and understanding of the potential of new research and discovery to meet challenges before Australia.

“The report recognises the contribution of the humanities, arts and social science disciplines in problem-solving, and notes the social sciences and humanities are critical to the interface between science and society,” she said.

The Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Academy for the Social Sciences in Australia, Mr Dennis Trewin, said the Academy should quickly move to take a full and active part in the science communications strategy. Mr Dennis Trewin said his Committee would give priority to those activities where societal and behavioural research is crucial for future productivity growth and social inclusion. Interaction with policy makers and communication of the key findings is an essential element of these activities.

“Social scientists agree that young Australians must be encouraged and inspired to study mathematics and other core sciences so that they can aspire to research and knowledge based careers,” he said.

The Council particularly welcomes Recommendation 7 for an annual Science and Society Forum, and Recommendation 15 for tracking and evaluation of the strategy.

President Rosenman said CHASS was already developing proposals for a national forum in the humanities arts and social sciences, to boost Australia’s research and innovation work. “The forum will provide a platform for transdisciplinary approaches to major issues – and the science communications strategy will allow the Council and its member organisations to ensure it also extends to public engagement.”

Inspiring Australia

CHASS has more than 80 member organisations. It works for greater recognition of people, projects and organisations working in HASS and to help them contribute to Australia.

For further comment: Helen O’Neil, Executive Director, CHASS, (02) 6201 2740