Science meets Parliament (SmP)

Science meets Parliament (SmP) is an annual event held in March that brings together over 200 scientists from all over the country for face-to-face meetings and forums with Parliamentarians in Canberra. SmP is a fantastic opportunity for scientists to experience the buzz of Capital Hill and to inform political leaders about their individual research and future projects. Each year the ASA sends two members to this two-day event. This page summarises some information of use to the Socitey's representatives at the meeting.



About SmP

SmP is a science communication event that is coordinated by Science & Technology Australia (formerly FASTS). More information about SmP is available on the Science & Technology Australia website. One of the aims and objectives of SmP is "To provide scientists with a unique professional development opportunity to get a clear sense of the competing rationalities of science, politics and public policy." On the first day the scientists attend a Briefing and will hear from experienced lobbyists, parliamentary staffers and politicians themselves about how they can engage politicians successfully. This day concludes with a formal Parliament House dinner held in the Great Hall. The second day is spent exploring behind the scenes at Parliament House where well over 100 formal meetings between the scientists and Parliamentarians take place. There is also a series of ancillary events that are held over the two days including breakfast briefs, forums and a National Press Club address. SmP is an event that assists science advocacy because it addresses the important question of "What does Australia gain from public investment in science".

Attending SmP

As a Science & Technology Australia member society the ASA are assured of at least two places. However, there may be spaces available for additional nominees particularly in areas of high demand from Parliamentarians. Limited funds are available to support ASA members to attend SmP.

The SmP registration process begins early in the calendar year. The ASA Council consider the nominees who can register to attend this event. Nominees must be ASA members. Science & Technology Australia ask that people who have already attended two or more SmPs do not register so as to provide opportunities for newcomers. Science & Technology Australia also request that member societies explicitly target early and mid-career researchers.

Preparation

Before the event ASA attendees should organise the following:

The ASA Council will assist by providing a Briefing Sheet. Science & Technology Australia also provides a Participants Guide.

Attendees should provide a written report to the ASA council describing their SmP experience.

Any ASA member who is interested in attending SmP should contact the ASA President.


Astronomers who have recently attended SmP

(sometimes nominated by other paths rather than officially representing the ASA)
SmP2014 - Julie Banfield (CASS), Caroline Foster (AAO), Chris Lidman (AAO), Michael Murphy (Swinburne), David Parkinson (Queensland)
SmP2013 - Not held
SmP2012 - Amanda Bauer, Sarah Martell, Gayandhi de Silva (AAO), Shari Breen (CASS), Cathryn Trott (Curtin) and Stas Shabala (Tasmania)
SmP2011 - Daniel Bayliss (RSAA), Sarah Brough (AAO), Marc Duldig (UTas), George Hobbs (CASS) and John O'Byrne (USyd)
SmP2010 - Amanda Karakas (RSAA), Lisa Harvey-Smith (USyd), Daniel Price (Monash) and Simon O'Toole (AAO)
SmP2009 - Darren Croton (Swinburne) and Geraint Lewis (USyd)
SmP2008 - Mary Mulcahy (ATNF), Scott Croom (USyd) and Harvey Butcher (MSO)

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