Episode 35 – Science Meets Parliament 2024

May 30, 2024

In this episode, we reflect on Science Meets Parliament 2024 – a bespoke training event run annually by Science and Technology Australia. This event brings together emerging scientists and Australian federal parliamentarians to strengthen connections between STEM professionals and decision-makers.

I chat with Sharath Sriram, President of Science Technology Australia, RMIT Professor and start up founder. We also hear from attendees Preeti Castle, Mark Hutchinson, Alfonso Chinnici, Warwick Bowen, and Parwinder Kaur, to get their impressions of #SMP2024.

We reflect on Sharath’s National Press Club address and Australia’s place in the world of innovation. Sharath describes Australian innovation ecosystem funding as three interconnected pieces – higher education, government and industry investment – and comments on how the three components need to be better connected. Low R&D investment from industry results in research being commercialised abroad rather than with local industry. We then discuss the industry settings in Australia that may sit behind the current malaise in private sector investment.

Our discussion then turns to the ‘missing middle’, a term coined by Minister Ed Husic at the National Innovation Policy Forum, and the need for national scale up infrastructure (as touched on with Katherine Woodthorpe in the January 2023 podcast). We also discuss the need for increases in domestic technology transfer capacity, which follows the calls made by Natalie Chapman on this podcast earlier this year. We close our discussion on how Australia might position itself in global innovation and how benefits might flow back to the Australian innovation ecosystem.

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