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Showing posts from May, 2016

CSIRO cuts: as redundancies are announced, the real cost is revealed

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CSIRO cuts: as redundancies are announced, the real cost is revealedChris Turney, UNSW AustraliaThe unfortunate manner in which the latest phase of restructuring of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has played out has raised questions about Australia’s scientific capability and our ability to meet international responsibilities.Faced with a budget cut of A$115 million, some 275 staff have apparently been identified for redundancy (though the final number may be as high as 317). Many of them are scientists contributing to long-term sea, air and climate science programs. The restructure is geared towards focusing CSIRO’s attention on the question, as framed by chief executive Larry Marshall, of “how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with?”The problem is that the programs at threat form the backbone of national and international research efforts. Virtually all of them are critical for helping us mitigate and adapt to future cli…

Scientists need to engage more with the public to secure funding

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Scientists need to engage more with the public to secure fundingChris Turney, UNSW Australia and Christopher Fogwill, UNSW AustraliaWe live in an age when society is crying out for scientific solutions to global problems. Just a few of the many considerable challenges we face include the urgent need to transition to a carbon-free economy, the need for new drugs to combat disease and improved agricultural yields to meet the needs of a growing world population.But in parallel to this increasing demand for science we face worrying trends in Australia and across the wider Western world. From high schools to universities, there is a long-term decline in students in the so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).Meanwhile, government funding in many Western countries is also falling, with Australia continuing to reduce the total science budget.Repeated studies demonstrate public science investment has a strong multiplier effect on the economy, with estimates …