Councils and committees

Commonwealth Science Council

The Commonwealth Science Council provides strategic advice to government on science and technology issues and building stronger collaboration between scientists, researchers and industry.

The Prime Minister chaired the inaugural meeting in Canberra in November 2014. During this meeting members considered the Chief Scientist's report: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia's Future, including its recommendations for a strategic whole-of-government approach to STEM.

Members strongly supported the need for science and research priorities and discussed draft priorities developed by the Chief Scientist. Members agreed that further consultation on the draft priorities and identification of the challenges underpinning them would inform advice to Government to be considered at the Council’s next meeting.

The Council agreed a forward work programme, with key items for further consideration to include:

  • advice on science and research priorities and the underpinning challenges;
  • policy recommendations and actions on bringing strategic alignment, focus and scale to STEM in Australia;
  • the outcome of consultation processes currently underway on the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda and the Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research discussion paper; and
  • actions to promote industry links and commercial returns from research.

Members

  • The Prime Minister (Chair)
  • The Minister for Industry and Science (Deputy Chair)
  • The Minister for Education and Training
  • The Minister for Health
  • Australia’s Chief Scientist
  • Professor Timothy Davis
  • Professor Ian Frazer AC
  • Professor Nalini Joshi
  • Professor Tanya Monro
  • Professor Brian Schmidt AC
  • Mr Ken Boal
  • Dr Michael Chaney AO
  • Dr Jackie Fairley
  • Mr David Knox
  • Ms Catherine Livingstone AO.

Commonwealth State and Territory Advisory Council on Innovation (CSTACI)

The CSTACI is a council of high level officials (which meets twice a year) from the Australian Government, the State and Territory governments, and the New Zealand Government who advise and coordinate comment on their innovation policy, activities and programs. With a targeted and strategic approach to innovation issues, the Council aims to improve the effectiveness, integration and coordination of the national innovation system.

CSTACI Terms of Reference

Recognising that innovation is a major contributor to productivity growth and thus to economic and social prosperity at its meeting of 2 February 2000, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Industry Ministers agreed to establish a Commonwealth, State and Territory Advisory Council on Innovation (CSTACI) to enhance innovative activity across Australia. In June, 2006, New Zealand formally joined the Council.

In July 2009, the Commonwealth, State and Territory innovation, industry and science Ministers endorsed the role of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Advisory Council on Innovation to enhance coordination of innovation and science policy across Australia and with New Zealand.

The Advisory Council is a forum to enable high level officials from the Commonwealth, each of the states and territories, and New Zealand to:

  • exchange information on innovation and science policy issues
  • work together to improve the effectiveness of the national innovation system by better integrating and coordinating innovation and science policy so as to:
    • enhance its overall effectiveness
    • avoid counter-productive overlap and duplication
    • provide clearly defined and accessible programs for business and other stakeholders
    • enhance access to global knowledge and its dissemination to business, commerce, research and other stakeholders; and
    • review and advise on co-operation and coordination of innovation and science policy between Advisory Council members and relevant international jurisdictions, and compare our innovation policy and performance against those of other countries.

The Council provides reports, where relevant, on its progress and findings to the Australian innovation, industry and science Ministers and to the Commonwealth Science Council.

National Climate Science Advisory Committee

The National Climate Science Advisory Committee will provide strategic direction for Australian climate science research. It will enable a nationally aligned and integrated approach to climate science that addresses national business and policy development needs.

The committee comprises senior representatives from across Australian climate science research, investment and policy agencies and institutions. This broad representation will boost collaboration across agencies and sectors, ensure climate science activities are coordinated and prioritised, and guide investment to maintain and strengthen Australia’s research capability.

Members

  • Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, independent director with demonstrated national leadership, experience in government and science credentials (NCSAC Chair)
  • Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist (ex officio)
  • Dr Andrew Johnson, Director, Bureau of Meteorology (ex officio)
  • Dr Helen Cleugh, Director CSIRO Climate Science Centre (ex officio)
  • Director, Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, National Environmental Science Program and a Chief Research Scientist in CSIRO (TBC, ex officio)
  • Dr Gwen Fenton, Australian Antarctic Division Chief Scientist (ex officio)
  • Mr John Gunn, CEO, Australian Institute of Marine Science (senior scientist, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering)
  • Associate Professor Julie Arblaster, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University (a climate scientist who brings a high level of international experience)
  • Professor Mark Howden, Director, ANU Climate Change Institute (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and adaptation representative)
  • Professor Timothy Naish, Director, Antarctic Research Centre at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand (international representative)
  • Ms Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (ex officio)
  • Dr Gordon de Brouwer, Secretary, Department of the Environment and Energy (ex officio)

Terms of Reference

Purpose

The purpose of the National Climate Science Advisory Committee is to advise the Australian Government on a nationally aligned and integrated approach to climate science, which will inform the direction and sustainability of Australia’s climate science capability and research priorities.

Specific responsibilities

The National Climate Science Advisory Committee will:

  • advise the Government on the development of a strategy for climate science in Australia, including:
    • Australia’s climate science priorities, capabilities and resources, including a stocktake of existing capabilities and options for addressing any gaps;
    • consolidation of commitments from key climate science delivery agents for current and future resourcing of the strategy; and
    • ongoing climate science community coordination arrangements.
  • provide an ongoing forum to coordinate and drive local and international collaboration across key climate science agencies, investors and users of science.
  • promote Australia’s climate science research capability with both Australian and international stakeholders.

Membership

The Committee will be chaired by an independent person with demonstrated national leadership, experience in government and science credentials. The Chair will be appointed for a period of up to three years and will be eligible for reappointment.

The Chair will be appointed by the Prime Minister, on the recommendation of the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Minister for the Environment.

There will be up to 13 members (including ex-officio appointees) of the Committee, comprising:

  • the Chief Scientist of Australia (ex-officio appointee).
  • Ex-officio appointees:
    • Director, Bureau of Meteorology
    • Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
    • Secretary, Department of the Environment and Energy
    • Chief Scientist, Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment and Energy
    • Director, National Environmental Science Programme Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub (ex-officio appointee).
  • Director, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Climate Science Centre (ex-officio appointee).
  • members drawn from:
    •  leading climate science universities or research centres
    • Australian Academy of Science
    • adaptation policy users.

The Committee will also have relevant international expertise.

Members and ex-officio appointees of the Committee will be appointed by both the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Minister for the Environment and Energy for a period of up to three years and will be eligible for reappointment.

Remuneration

Remuneration will only be provided to the Chair and the independent members of the Committee, at the discretion of both Ministers.

Meetings

There will be at least two meetings of the Advisory Committee per annum. At a meeting of the Advisory Committee a quorum is met if the number of ex-officio appointees or independent members present constitute a majority of the appointed ex-officio appointees and independent members plus the Chair.

Secretariat support will be provided by both Departments.

Reporting to Government

Following each meeting, the Chair of the Committee will write to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Minister for the Environment and Energy outlining the key areas of discussion and advice.

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