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National Science Week highlights $9.7b investment in science

14 August 2015

From the hands-on science of making food in Western Australia to a photographic exhibition of the Auroa Australis night sky colours in Tasmania, over one million Australians will celebrate the contribution science makes to Australia as part of National Science Week 2015.

Launching National Science Week today, Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said the week’s festivities will play an important role both in inspiring the young Australians who are the next generation of innovators, and increasing community awareness of science in our everyday lives.

“National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest events and from tomorrow, a staggering 1500 activities will be held during the week, collectively reaching over one million people,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“A two pronged approach of encouraging community wide interest in science together with increasing the emphasis of science related subjects in schools is a successful way to engage all Australians in its wonders. National Science Week is particularly valuable for younger Australians, which may then lead to a lifelong love of the subject.

“In addition National Science Week, the Australian Government is investing $12 million to improve the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM subjects, in schools.  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.

“And we have put science and research at the centre of industry policy through programmes like the Industry Growth Centres and the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, as well as the broader Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda which is focussed on expanding the economy and creating jobs.”

Mr Macfarlane sat in on a science class at St Saviour’s Primary School in Toowoomba this morning as part of the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools programme which supports partnerships between teachers, scientists and mathematicians, an event affiliated with CSIRO and a preview to National Science Week.

Now in its eighteenth year, National Science Week will include science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

The week is supported by the Australian Government, as well as partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC. Sponsors include NewScientist, Cosmos, Popular Science and PrimaryConnections. National Science Week will run from 15-23 August with more details available at http://www.scienceweek.net.au/.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane’s Office – 02 6277 7070