Submission on behalf of CRCs to National Science Communication Strategy (NSCS)
Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) bring industry and researchers together to generate useful outcomes with positive social and economic impacts. There are currently 48 CRCs operating in six broad CRC sectors including: manufacturing technology; information and communication technology; mining and energy; agriculture and rural-based manufacturing; environment; medical science and technology.
CRCs role in Science Communication
The contribution of CRCs to national science communication is unique and wide-reaching. Our vantage point from different science/industry sectors gives us a unique insight into science, communication and policy for Australia. Given that we are aligned with the National Research Priorities, we see the development of a National Science Communication Strategy as a real opportunity to dramatically lift the national profile of our scientific achievements. In turn, CRCs offer established links into Australian industry that can be leveraged by the NSCS.
CRCs have well-established networks and communicate both nationally and internationally to both the general public and to industry. As CRCs communicate science to both industry and government; CRCs are good at making science communication inform policy. CRCs provide a unique structure for communication links between research organisations and industry across a range of levels from multi-national corporations to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Importantly, this communication is two-way, with an ongoing feedback cycle so that CRC research develops as a partnership between all players. Science communication is integral to keep all stakeholders onboard to achieve CRC outcomes and to move research from the concept stage through to marketable products.
In addition to our distinctive networks, CRCs are the source of a range of good science stories reaching key national and international spokespeople. CRCs have amassed a huge collection of images, vision and other collateral that could be used to support science communication initiatives. CRCs contain a collection of highly specialised science/technology media/communicators with leading international expertise in science communication and associated contacts in the business.
What we are suggesting
As a first point, to address the issue of fragmentation identified in the 2003 PMSEIC study, we suggest that any initiatives are communicated via DIISR’s extensive contacts list, which, via the CRC Program, includes all CRCs.
CRCs have a body of experience and expertise in science communication that is rarely called upon and CRCs should be considered as part of the national framework.
CRCs are keen to make sure that the strategy does not focus solely on communication with the public or school students rather than with industry and organisations. The end-users of science (our key stakeholders) need to be remembered in a national strategy.