[ASC-list] ASC strategies regarding Inspiring Australia

Jesse Shore jesse at prismaticsciences.com
Mon Nov 8 13:23:04 UTC 2010

The upcoming AGM (in December) and the update from DIISR about actions
related to Inspiring Australia prompted me to ask members for input once

In the recent Scope I posted an article titled ‘Observations on the
Inspiring Australia report and its relevance to the ASC’ with a link to Rob
Morrison’s analysis of Inspiring Australia (see
re-IA-with-Exec-summary-3-10-10.pdf). I grouped Rob’s suggestions for
strategic actions under each recommendation and added more than a few of my

This is only a start. Several of the strategic actions need to be further

I ask you to send me your suggestions for:

1.      key actions we may have overlooked

2.      methods (including possible resources) to achieve an action

3.      ASC members willing to help make specific actions happen (i.e.
nominate yourself).

You won’t need to be on a branch or national committee to put your hand up
but if you are willing to get involved it will be an advantage to work
through the committee structures. The enlightened self-interest spin is
‘with branch AGMs coming up now is a good time to think how you can get
something out of IA while putting something into ASC’.

The recommendations from IA and our suggested actions from Rob’s report are
repeated below.

Key Principles and Recommendations

Recommendation 1

That DIISR’s terminating Science Connections Program (SCOPE) be replaced
with a broader national initiative designed to increase the level of public
engagement in the sciences. Such an initiative would provide ongoing support
for existing, successful activities while developing innovative approaches
to effectively engage a wider audience.

ASC strategic actions:

1.     Seek involvement in planning for new initiative.

2.     Seek greater understanding of how to engage the public and of the
diversity of means of engagement.

Recommendation 2

That the Australian Government strongly articulate the goal of a
scientifically engaged Australia and support development of strategic
national priorities for communicating science and its benefits.

ASC strategic actions:

1.     Seek to contribute to developing innovative and effective means of
communicating science and its benefits.

2.     Seek to be involved in national priorities once they are in place.

3.     Seek recognition by universities and science research agencies that
effectiveness in science communication is a measure of professional and
academic achievement.

Recommendation 3

That leadership for this national initiative be provided by Questacon within
DIISR, with input from a broadly constituted national advisory group to
guide implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting.

ASC strategic actions: we have made representations for ASC to be involved
in advisory groups.

Recommendation 4

That a science communication summit be convened to secure buy‐in from the
diverse range of organisations and individuals in the science communication
sector and to identify strategic priorities and the optimal roles for
different agencies and institutions.

ASC strategic actions: we have made representations for ASC to be involved
in the summit.

Recommendation 5

That the national initiative include continued funding for the highly
regarded Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, with an enhanced promotional
strategy targeting the wider Australian community and international

ASC strategic actions: we encourage ASC members to nominate people for
national and local science prizes especially for the science communication
related Eureka Prizes and the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Recommendation 6

That the national initiative support promotional and awareness‐raising
activities, including travelling exhibitions showcasing Australia’s
capability in the sciences and promotional materials for scientists, science
policy makers, overseas counsellors and other potential Australian science
‘ambassadors’ to use abroad.

ASC strategic actions: seek to enhance skills in science communication of
our science ‘ambassadors’.

Recommendation 7

That a national Science and Society forum be held annually to focus on the
priorities for community engagement in science and key issues where science
can serve the needs of society.

ASC strategic actions: we have discussed with DIISR how ASC may assist in
developing and presenting an annual Science and Society forum, perhaps
coincident with future ASC national conferences.

Recommendation 8

That the national initiative provide continue funding to extend the
successful community-based activities of National Science Week, stimulating
and leveraging further contributions by organisations across Australia and
targeting new and under-served audiences.

ASC strategic actions: we will support and encourage members to become
increasingly involved in National Science Week activities. ASC Executive,
council and society members in various states already play very prominent
roles in organising local National Science Week events through their
particular state committees.ASC members were judges for the national science
blogging competition for this year and the activity was promoted to members
via our email list and website.

Recommendation 9

That the national initiative include collaborative projects that stimulate
science organisations and networks across Australia to work together to
promote information sharing, including holding ‘Hot Science’ briefings for
elected members and policy officers of Federal, state and local governments,
and leaders in the legal and business sectors.

ASC strategic actions: we are forming partnerships with like-minded science
education, communication and research professional associations and bodies
to collaborate in delivering professional development workshops. The
intention is to develop a wider range of collaborative projects.

Recommendation 10

That the national initiative support science communication and media
training for scientists and that a short‐term working group be established
to review mechanisms for further developing Australian science media

ASC strategic actions:

1.     Develop a sustainable accreditation program for media training
programs and other sci-com short courses.

2.     Support Australian Science Media Centre’s plans to provide on-line
media training for scientists and will seek to contribute to the development
of this and related training programs.

3.     Survey and document qualifications and experience of its members who
have or are active in media training. From this information ASC can develop
standards for media training for scientists.

4.     Survey ASC members regarding their involvement in science
broadcasting through commercial (and community) electronic media to
contribute to an evidence base for this recommendation.

5.     Develop a tool kit for various audiences to understand “What is and
isn’t science” and seek means to have the scientific process and peer
review presented simply and clearly in various media.

6.     Revise, update and repost on the ASC website the Guidelines and
Protocol for communicating science and distributing media releases through
the electronic media which have now been on the website for some years

Recommendation 11

That a key focus of the national initiative should be raising awareness
among young people of opportunities in science and research. The Australian
Government’s investment in schools, higher education and research should be
harnessed to achieve this.

ASC strategic actions: no strategy identified at present beyond various
activities being undertaken by individual ASC branches


Recommendation 12

That the national initiative support science communication exhibitions and
programs that target under‐served groups, such as those living in outer
metropolitan, regional and remote areas; Indigenous communities; people for
whom English is a second language; and people who are disabled or have
limited mobility.

ASC strategic actions: we are exploring web-based live-streaming of
professional development workshops to involve regional and remotely located
science communicators.

Recommendation 13

That a ‘national framework-local action’ approach be adopted, lead by a
national hub collaborating with federal and state jurisdictions, business
and the community. Such an approach should aim to increase cooperation among
organizations involved in science communication down to the regional level,
and drive partnerships and complementary activities.

ASC strategic actions:

1.     ASC is forming partnerships with local, state based and national
like-minded science education, communication and research professional
associations and bodies to collaborate in delivering professional
development workshops. The intention is to develop a wider range of
collaborative projects.

2.     ASC will consider tendering for suitable activities related to this
and other recommendations of the report.

Recommendation 14

That the national initiative include development of a national Web presence
to increase the visibility of Australian science to national and
international audiences, and to promote links to other relevant science‐
related sites.

ASC strategic actions: we are investing in ASC’s website to improve and
increase its capabilities and appeal. We have made representations to DIISR
about ASC’s willingness to contribute to the web presence mentioned in this

Recommendation 15

That the national initiative support a program of research in science
engagement-such as baseline and longitudinal attitudinal and behavioural
studies, activity audits, program evaluations and impact assessments-to
inform future investment decisions by government and its partners.

ASC strategic actions: we have discussed ASC members’ interest in research
into evaluation and other evidence measures. Several ASC members have
participated in expert panels and on the National Steering Committee held to
discuss developing evidence based measures of sci-com activities.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Jesse Shore

President, Australian Science Communicators, 2010

 <http://www.asc.asn.au/> http://www.asc.asn.au/

Jesse Shore PhD
Science Communicator
P:   (02) 9810 2328
M:   0415 841 276
E:     <mailto:jesse at prismaticsciences.com> jesse at prismaticsciences.com
W:   <http://www.prismaticsciences.com/> www.prismaticsciences.com

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