STEM Ambassadors Program
The STEM Ambassadors Program was born from Science & Technology Australia’s acclaimed annual flagship event, Science meets Parliament.
A world-leading initiative, Science meets Parliament brings together hundreds of scientists, technologists and Parliamentarians once a year to forge deeper connections between the worlds of science and policy making.
The STA STEM Ambassadors program builds on this success by deepening connections further where Parliamentarians have an interest in forging closer ties with STEM professionals in their communities on an ongoing basis.
Science & Technology Australia’s STEM Ambassadors Program seeks to:
- forge long-term relationships between Parliamentarians and STEM professionals
- deepen scientists’ understanding of, and participation in, policymaking processes
- deepen Parliamentarians’ understanding and application of science
- create a network of scientists engaged in STEM policy
- boost the profile and value of science and technology among decision makers.
The program delivers Parliamentarians direct and regular access to experts in science and technology, and gives STEM researchers the chance to use their work to enhance and inform policy.
What Science & Technology Australia will provide
- A program brief
- Four meetings with a leading scientist or technologist with ties to your electorate;
- A biography on your STEM Ambassador
- Depending on the applications we receive from your electorate, we will endeavour to match your Ambassador with any specific policy or research interests you have
What are the benefits of having a STEM Ambassador for your electorate?
- Forge direct links with Australian STEM experts who work or live in your electorate
- Access STEM advice and information to inform a range of policy issues
- Deepen your understanding of issues facing Australian science and technology
- Potential media opportunities with STEM professionals (site visits etc.)
- Opportunities to attend research seminars and other special events
- An opportunity to learn about some of Australia’s world class research and facilities
- The opportunity to connect with your Ambassador’s colleagues and peers
- Establish a relationship to the Ambassador’s employer, funder, or collaborators.
Your role as an Ambassador
- Attend five online training sessions
- Organise and attend a minimum of 4 meetings with your Parliamentarian or their
- Discuss briefings on national STEM matters with your Parliamentarian
- Assist your Parliamentarian by doing extra research into ideas or specific topics of interest to your Parliamentarian
- Provide updates to Science & Technology Australia on matters discussed in your meetings
What we will provide
- Background information on your Parliamentarian
- Professional development training by experts in policy, communications, and advocacy
- Regular briefings on issues facing the STEM sector in Australia
- A contact in the Parliamentarians office to initiate your first meeting
- Support to organise media opportunities with your Parliamentarian (as appropriate)
STEM Ambassadors must be a member of an STA member organisation. Ambassadors are chosen based on the interests of the Parliamentarians who have expressed interest in having a STEM Ambassador in each program intake. Ambassadors must either live or work in the electorate of the participating Parliamentarians and are selected through a competitive application process. Other key factors in selecting ambassadors may include:
- Experience and skill in science presentation to the general public
- Career stage (early to mid-career STEM professionals are preferred)
- Previous attendance of Science meets Parliament is highly regarded
STA will provide an induction session and four hour-long training sessions:
- Program introduction and how to engage with Parliamentarians
- Building and engaging with a local STEM network
- Science policy and how decision-making institutions and processes work
- Media training
- Maintaining a STEM network
STEM Ambassadors receive politics and policy updates. Ambassadors will also be provided with the STA Policy Vision and information on their Parliamentarian before they commence their meetings.
We recommend Ambassadors aim for four meetings throughout the year with their Parliamentarian. Ideally, meetings will take place at the workplaces of both the Ambassadors and the Parliamentarians. It is the responsibility of the Ambassador to organise meetings with Parliamentarians and extend invitations to them to other events of interest as they arise.
While the topics of meetings will depend on the Ambassador and Parliamentarian, meetings with specific goals and agendas are typically more successful. With that in mind, meeting topics could include:
- Introductory meeting (the first meeting)
- National science policy meeting
- A site visit to the Ambassador’s work location
- Group meeting with research/work group
- A discussion forum with local STEM professionals in the electorate
STA asks Ambassadors to provide a short report to STA after each meeting to assist with program reporting, promotion and evaluation.