CNBP fully embraced the opportunities provided by the just completed ‘Science meets Parliament’ event, organised by Science & Technology Australia, March 1-2, 2016.
The event, attracting 200 of Australia’s top scientists across all disciplines, aimed to help researchers understand how politics, policymaking and the media work, and gave them an opportunity to look at their science from an alternate point of view.
Over 100 federal parliamentarians also took part in the event, taking one-to-one meetings with scientists, attending debates and dinners and having informal discussions.
Attending from the CNBP were Director Prof Mark Hutchinson and researchers Dr Hannah Brown, Dr Alfonso Garcia-Bennett and Dr Melanie McDowall – all were focused on networking, meeting politicians and better understanding ways of improving communication of CNBP science to media, policymakers and parliamentarians.
STA President and CNBP Chief Investigator Professor Jim Piper was also actively involved, undertaking hosting and MC duties throughout the full two-day program, as well as meeting with key politicians and stakeholders.
Highlights included Prof Hutchinson and his involvement on a Q&A style panel, discussing his experiences as a ‘Science meets Parliament’ alumni. Outlined were tips on dealing with politicians including the need for researchers to engage more effectively with stakeholders, to keep it simple, to talk with passion and to stimulate interest through high-quality communication of exciting science.
An undoubted highlight for CNBP’s Hannah Brown and Alfonso Garcia-Bennett was getting the chance to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss their science. Both absolutely enjoyed the experience of meeting Australia’s leader and seeing his enthusiasm for innovative and ground breaking research.
In addition to this, the CNBP team managed to meet a wide number of parliamentarians throughout the two day program (both formally and informally), this including Minister Christopher Pyne, Minister Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and MPs Terri Butler, Adam Bandt, Andrew Southcott and Melissa Parke.
CNBP Director Mark Hutchinson summed up the event, “The SmP 2016 experience continued to surprise and inform me of new challenges and opportunities for scientific endeavours in the Australian political arena. It was so refreshing to hear from scientific leaders and policy makers of their driving passion to support our research efforts through quality and workable policy and political engagement.”
A ‘Behind the Scenes’ video taken at Science Meets Parliament by the RiAus also featured CNBP talent, with researchers Mel and Hannah figuring prominently.
CNBP is already looking forward to next year’s event!