Over the course of a whole month Science meets Parliament – the flagship event of Science & Technology Australia – delivered an innovative and engaging program, all online for the first time ever.
For 21 years, Science meets Parliament has been developing the advocacy skills of STEM professionals, and connecting them to decision-makers to nurture strong relationships and dialogue between the STEM sector and Government.
The early runway events gave delegates practical tips on how the policy process works, when and how to engage with it, and how to pitch their science. The main program featured internationally-recognised experts reflecting on a broad range of STEM and policy interaction spread across two days of exciting online activity.
As its centrepiece, Dr Cathy Foley delivered her first major address as Australia’s Chief Scientist at the National Press Club of Australia to an audience that included the co-chairs of Parliamentary Friends of Science – Science Minister Karen Andrews and Shadow Science Minister Richard Marles.
Science meets Parliament’s nearly 300 delegates got the opportunity to meet with and pitch their science to more than 60 MPs and Senators, as well as enjoying plenty of opportunities to build their own networks in the science community.
They also got a chance to find out more about Parliament House thanks to virtual tours of its beekeeping program from resident apiarist Cormac Farrell and a geology tour from Geoscience Australia Chief Scientist Dr Steve Hill.
Feedback from delegates after the event was overwhelmingly positive, especially around the online delivery format.
“I felt that the virtual delivery enhanced rather than hindered participation,” said one delegate.
“It was a fantastic event, even with most of the presentations are online,” added first-time delegate Dr Qian Peter Su.
“This event step-by-step reveals the process and tips for how STEM researchers can engage with government to make impacts in a logical way. The speakers are surprisingly open and genuine in providing advice, tips and opinions. The on-demand playback function not only allows flexibility but the opportunities to repeatedly watch some interesting topics for better information digestion. [I would] strongly recommended [it] to others,” said delegate Dr Yanyan Zhao.
The event concluded with concurrent gala dinners held in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide and featured talks from Minister Karen Andrews, Shadow Minister Richard Marles, and ANSTO’s Pamela Naidoo-Ameglio.
Science & Technology Australia thanked all its sponsors, partners, participating MPs and Senators, and the event’s delegates for making Science meets Parliament 2021 such a significant success.