I was pleased to see that the Inspiring Australia program was funded to the full amount promised in Labor’s policy announcement before the election. Minister Carr’s media release, http://minister.innovation.gov.au/Carr/MediaReleases/Pages/INSPIRINGAUSTRALIATOLEADTHEWORLDINSCIENCE.aspx, mentions three aspects to the program: National Science Week and other high profile events; science prizes; and a new national hub for science and technology communications.
The first two programs are essentially continuations of the previous Science Connections Program (SCOPE) which now will be branded as part of IA. The science week and events funding was increased slightly from previous years and I hope this will enable additional events throughout the year.
The third aspect, the new national hub, is specific to IA. Some of its funding will enable the state and territory IA project officers to be employed past their original short-term appointments. They will be involved in implementing the national framework-local action concept. It is still sketchy what this will entail but they would make a contribution by communicating with all science event presenters in their region to coordinate delivery of services. We need coordination, greater networking and more partnerships rather than duplication of activities.
I’ll keep you informed of news from my chats with the IA team as the program develops.
Anna Salleh in her ABC Science on-line article, “Australia’s science budget ‘uninspiring’”, quoted some of my comments about the IA funding (see http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/05/11/3213833.htm). I reflected later on how I answered her question about why is science communication important. See my thoughts in a separate Scope note.