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Professionals Australia launched the Still the Clever Country? campaign at the Australian Academy of Science’s Shine Dome with Professor Ian Chubb delivering the keynote address.

The campaign presents two significant reports and a series of fact sheets on the issues that face the future of science in Australia.

Still the Clever Country is the result of a survey conducted of over 500 of its scientist members to tackle the barriers to productivity improvements and innovation through science and R&D. It provides valuable insights from those experienced in their fields.

Sister publication, Realising Innovation through Science and R&D provides a blueprint for dealing with workplace and structural issues in science with recommendations for government and industry.

Key recommendations coming from the reports suggests that Australia needs to invest in the science and R&D workforce, deal with deprofessionalisation, enhance Australia’s STEM capabilities, encourage effective reward and recognition strategies and address workforce developments

Furthermore, the report suggests that attracting the next generation of scientists is crucial. The survey found, that seventy-six per cent of Australian scientists were concerned about how science could attract the next generation and ranked this as a second only to funding concerns.

For students looking to enter the workforce, it means fewer entry-level graduate and internship opportunities.

In Professor Chubb’s address, he noted that maintaining our status as a clever country is fundamental to our economic sustainability as well as ensuring a fair and just future for Australia. Professor Chubb also described the progress towards a strategic approach to Australian science policy further to the recommendations set out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future

Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton highlighted the need to not only invest in STEM education but the STEM workforce with a focus on education and training offering workers career pathways, not just skills for initial jobs, and emphasised the need for ongoing investment in the science capability of the workforce rather than deprofessionalisation.

To read the full reports, visit the campaign website.