11 April 2012

Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

$10 million boost for Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council

A $10 million funding grant from the Gillard Government will ensure Australia's four Learned Academies can undertake new research projects, under the direction of the Prime Minister's Science Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) and the Chief Scientist.

The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACoLA) will engage Australia's top scientists to work with the Chief Scientist and the Australian Research Council (ARC) to address the complex and diverse challenges in shaping the Australian economy and society for the future.

Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans said ACoLA will conduct research to identify Australia's natural, geographical and cultural competitive advantages to help the country thrive in a competitive world.

"World class science and research will lead to the innovation Australia needs to ensure the strength of our future economy," Senator Evans said.

"To remain competitive, Australia must ensure that science and research is underpinning industry and innovation and driving them to adapt to the modern economy."

The ARC will call for projects from ACoLA and the Learned Academies to primarily address priority areas that arise out of PMSIEC and advise the Gillard Government about enhancing Australia's competitive future.

The first issues to be addressed as part of PMSEIC's future work program are expected to include the role of science and technology in the Asian Century, lifting national productivity; building broader scientific competence in the workforce and addressing skills shortages in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics research areas.

ACoLA will also build on recent research commissioned by Australia's Chief Scientist to address critical skills shortages in Australia's Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics research sector.

The $10 million funding over three years will be provided under the ARC Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects funding scheme.

The 23rd PMSEIC meeting was held in Sydney last month and will next meet in Canberra in July.

Media contact: 
Amy McKenna, Minister Evans' office, 0408 570 603