Science Meets Parliament (SmP)
Science meets Parliament (SmP) is an annual event 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 representatives to this event. This page summarises some information of use to the Socitey’s representatives at the meeting.
SmP is a science communication event that is coordinated by Science & Technology Australia (STA). More information about SmP is available on the STA 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.”
The event takes place over multiple days (usually in person, but online or hybrid in days of Covid). Scientists attend briefings and will hear from experienced lobbyists, parliamentary staffers and politicians themselves about
how they can engage politicians successfully. Attendees will explore 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 multiple days including breakfast briefs, forums and a National Press Club address. There is usually a formal Parliament House dinner held in the Great Hall. SmP is an event that assists science advocacy because it addresses the important question of “What does Australia gain from public investment in science”.
As a Science & Technology Australia member society the ASA is 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. STA ask that people who have already attended two or more SmPs do not register so as to provide opportunities for newcomers. STA also request that member societies explicitly target early and mid-career researchers.
Before the event ASA attendees should organise the following:
- Information Packs to hand out to Parliamentarians.
- Personalised Business Cards to hand out to each person they meet.
- Suitable Attire – “Business Attire” for both days and “Lounge Suit” or “Day Dress” for the Parliament Dinner (i.e. nice but not overly formal).
- One upbeat, clear and concise sentence that describes their research (in case they cross paths with the Prime Minister).
- Early registration and request to be included in the Breakfast Forums (limited availability).
- Contact past SmP attendees for their advice.
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 attended SmP
Note: sometimes nominated by other paths rather than officially representing the ASA
SmP2020 – Katie Auchettl (UMelb), Jackie Blondell (Swin), Katie Jameson (CSIRO), Ilya Mandel (Monash), Dan Zucker (MQ), and Stuart Ryder (AAL-Supported)
SmP2019 – Sabine Bellstedt and Richard McDermid
SmP2018 – Krzysztof Bolejko and Elisabete da Cunha
SmP2017 – Gemma Anderson, Sarah Reeves and Andrew Casey
SmP2016 – Vanessa Moss, Brent Groves and Minh Huynh
SmP2015 – Ivy Wong and Alan Duffy
SmP2014 – Julie Banfield (CASS), Caroline Foster (AAO), Chris Lidman (AAO), Michael Murphy (Swinburne), David Parkinson (Queensland)
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)