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Australian Government partners with university to help students embrace STEM

3 September 2015

Joint media release with the Federal Member for Fisher, the Hon Mal Brough MP

Australian industry will have new options to enhance their competitive edge through partnerships with our world-class university research resources, as the Australian Government continues to implement a suite of policies to build stronger connections between business and science, Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said.

Minister Macfarlane today visited the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Engineering Learning Hub, one part of a broader initiative at USC to tailor its science curriculum to best address industry needs.

Mr Macfarlane said the university’s initiative reflected the Government’s emphasis on placing science at the heart of industry and boosting the numbers of Australians entering STEM-related fields.

“This initiative at USC is a fantastic example of the way university researchers can bring their expertise and experience to solve practical challenges for Australian industry – a process that will become increasingly important in extremely competitive global markets,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“USC’s engagement with local schools, Government and businesses is a model for others to follow.

“The Australian Government is determined to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects in schools and universities, and taking STEM skills into the workforce.

“That’s why we’re investing $12 million to improve the focus on these subjects in primary and secondary schools through the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

“This investment includes funding for innovative mathematics resources, more exposure to computer coding and an innovation-focused ‘Pathways in Technology Early College High School’ (P-TECH) pilot programme.

“This year alone the Government is investing $9.7 billion in science, research and innovation because as well as inspiring the generation of tomorrow, science is critical to our international competitiveness today.”

Member for Fisher Mal Brough welcomed Mr Macfarlane’s visit to the University of the Sunshine Coast and said that he was pleased the Minister had the opportunity to see firsthand what is being achieved in the region.

“The partnership USC is developing with local industry and schools is an exciting way forward for the future of science and technology in Australia,” Mr Brough said.

Mr Macfarlane said the Government had been consulting on its response to the Chief Scientist’s 2014 paper, STEM: Australia’s Future.

“The Australian Government’s comprehensive science policy is underpinned by a strategy in which scientific thinking, and science in action, can be found in all sectors of our economy.”

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070