Two of Curtin University’s leading researchers have been selected as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors from the nation’s peak science body, Science and Technology Australia, to work with federal politicians to ‘bridge the gap’ between science and politics.
Twenty-six Australians have been selected as ambassadors and will regularly meet with Parliamentarians to ‘deepen ties between Parliament and the STEM sector’.
According to Science and Technology Australia, the program aims to deepen connections between Parliamentarians and STEM professionals in their communities to help politicians access research, data and evidence that could inform policy-making.
The program delivers Parliamentarians direct access to experts in the fields of science and technology whilst simultaneously giving STEM researchers the chance to use their research to inform policy.
Dr Jacob Martin, a nanotechnologist based in Curtin’s Hydrogen Storage Research Group and Carbon Group, will be a STEM ambassador to WA Senator Matt O’Sullivan.
“The program creates opportunities for us science experts to share our expertise and assist in evidence-based policymaking,” Dr Martin says.
Radio astronomer Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt will be working closely with Member for Durack Melissa Price.
According to the university, Professor Johnston-Hollitt previously led the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy’s galactic and extragalactic science team to uncover the ‘mysteries of the Universe.’
She is currently the director of the Curtin Institute for Data Science (CIDS) and the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF). Since becoming the director of the CIDS in 2020, Professor Johnston-Hollitt’s leadership has seen the institute become Australia’s largest university-based data science institute.
“It is fantastic to see Parliamentarians entering into a dialogue with STEM researchers on complex science and technology issues,” she says.
“This program provides both Parliamentarians and the researchers with an opportunity to share both knowledge and appreciation of STEM and how it is improving the lives of Australians, and how Government works to implement science-derived benefits.”