MTPConnect Goes to Canberra

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19 March 2021

Pictured (L-R): MTPConnect Chair Sue MacLeman, Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley and MTPConnect Managing Director & CEO Dr Dan Grant at the National Press Club in Canberra.

MTPConnect has been supporting the ‘Science Meets Parliament’ initiative being delivered this week by Science and Technology Australia, including the National Press Club by incoming Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM.

The event provided a great opportunity to position science and broader STEM issues at the centre of the national policy debate.

MTPConnect Chair Sue MacLeman, in attendance with directors Alex Fowkes and Dr Douglas Robertson and Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant, also delivered an address at the famous Press Club lectern, prior to Dr Foley.

To a room packed with STEM leaders and VIP guests including the Minister for Industry, Science & Technology, Hon. Karen Andrews MP and the Shadow Minister for Science, Hon. Richard Marles MP, Ms MacLeman explained how the MTP sector is well-positioned to generate the much-needed, post-pandemic “tech bump”’ and play a key role in building Australia’s sovereign capabilities and supply chain resilience necessary to address future public health crises.

“This is the power of science,” she explained. “It can improve lives, save lives - and grow the economy.”

“The importance – and potential – of our sector was reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

“On the front line for research, diagnosis, management, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, the MTP sector rapidly mobilised to meet the pandemic challenge. Companies pivoted their activities and resources where needed while researchers fast-tracked their vaccine, diagnostic, device and therapeutic development work,” Ms MacLeman said.

Following Ms MacLeman’s remarks, Dr Foley delivered her first major address as Australia’s incoming Chief Scientist. Her speech - ‘What next for science and research in Australia?’ - focused on how we collaborate to solve humankind’s greatest challenges.

“Science underpins Australia’s drive to become a global leader in low-emissions technologies; to transform manufacturing and build stronger sovereign capability; to have enough food to feed ourselves and to export; and to safeguard the health of our people, from navigating a pandemic to tackling chronic illnesses afflicting half of all Australians,” Dr Foley said.

She also addressed the importance of translating and commercialising Australia’s research.

“There is no shortage of excellent research in Australia. Our discovery research must continue… the question for me is how to strengthen the connections – connecting the work of scientists, researchers and innovators, with industry and policymakers,” Dr Foley said.

To find out more about Dr Foley’s inspirational personal story and her scientific discoveries, read a transcript of her speech or take a look on ABC iView.

Science & Technology Australia gives voice to 80,000+ scientists & technologists, and runs Science Meets Parliament and the Superstars of STEM program.