- Charles Sturt academic from Albury-Wodonga selected for prestigious program that pairs STEM professionals to work with MPs and Senators
- Program by Science & Technology Australia announced Professor Lee Baumgartner will serve as STEM Ambassador to NSW Senator Perin Davey
- Professor Baumgartner hopes to use the program to tackle NSW’s water issues and add his scientific expertise to the water debate
A Charles Sturt University academic from Albury-Wodonga has been selected for a prestigious program that aims to strengthen connections between policymakers and the STEM sector.
Fish and river management ecologist in the Institute for Land, Water and Society Professor Lee Baumgartner was announced on Friday 7 May as one of 17 STEM Ambassadors for Science & Technology Australia (STA)’s ‘STEM Ambassadors Program’.
Approximately 100 science and technology professionals applied for the program, which pairs the selected STEM Ambassadors with their local federal MPs and Senators.
The STEM Ambassadors will meet with their assigned Parliamentarian throughout the year to bring their scientific expertise and networks to assist evidence-based policymaking.
Professor Baumgartner has been paired with NSW Senator Perin Davey and plans to use his place in the program to address NSW’s water issues and add his scientific expertise to the water debate.
“NSW is dealing with some significant water security challenges and is implementing a significant infrastructure program,” Professor Baumgartner said.
“It is important that the program and associated policy decisions are informed by best-available science – this is the main reason I decided to apply for the program.
“Scientists often get too caught up in reporting their results in a technical sense and don’t take the time to discuss this with decision makers to ensure the results find their way into decision making.”
Senator Davey said she was excited to have been connected with Professor Lee Baumgartner and believes their interests are closely aligned.
“I am very pleased to have been selected to participate in the STEM Ambassador Program as we know how important it is for science to inform policy in so many critical areas,” Senator Davey said.
“Lee is based at a regional university and his expertise in fish ecology and natural resource management is very much aligned with my background in water policy and my passion for regional education.
“I congratulate Science Technology Australia on developing a program that will improve the links between policy and STEM across a wide range of policy areas and across all parties.”
Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert welcomed the new STEM Ambassadors and congratulated them on their selection from a highly-competitive field.
“Science has been Australia’s salvation in tackling COVID-19. Australia needs to continue to build on that strong relationship between the STEM sector and Parliamentarians to prepare Australia to meet future challenges,” she said.
“The STEM Ambassador program empowers experts to become effective advocates for science and the sector, and to use their expertise to inform policy to shape Australia’s future.”
The STEM Ambassadors selected for STA’s ‘STEM Ambassador program’ are drawn from STA’s member organisations and come from a diverse range of academic backgrounds and interests.
The STEM Ambassadors program has been running since 2019.