What does the next generation think of today’s issues? The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program publishes Australian students mentored by TBS writers. Today, 9-year-old Alisha Vedi calls on our government to invest more in science and research.
Student: Alisha Vedi, aged 9
Mentor: Valerie Buhajiar
Topic: Importance of science and scientific research, and need for Australian Government to invest in both.
Have you ever heard of the very successful bionic ear? Did you know that it was invented in Australia and is the first bionic body part? How about the extremely well known Wi-Fi? We use it every day! Imagine life without it. You might be using it right now! Well, Wi-Fi was invented here in Australia and has made Australia very prosperous. In October last year, Aussie scientists from UNSW came up with first working quantum bit, paving the way for the first commercial manufacture of a quantum computer which is unmeasurably faster than standard computing.
These products and discoveries have changed millions of people’s lives all over the world and created gateways for so many new inventions. They have also helped, and increased, our economy. However, just imagine what we would have if there wasn’t enough money to fund the research which was needed to take these genius ideas from the lab to the world. Researchers and scientists in Australia have many ideas to help our society learn and grow. However, many are not able to make these ideas reality. Why?
Well, you see, only 17.7% or less than 4 out of 5 applicants for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects receive funding. What happens to the other 82.3% or more than 4 out of 5 applicants? They are left in the dark with all their researchers who connected to them. Only very few go on to receive funding from other places. It is such a shame that all those ideas get wasted.
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Science is way too important for us to forget about. That is why the government should definitely put aside more money for science and research funding.
I think that the biggest problem in the science industry is getting scientists’ ideas, work, research and perhaps products or discoveries, from the lab to markets, hospitals, industries and our homes, where they can be used and upgraded for commercial use.
Amongst the other OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), the latest OECD figures show that Australia does not compare well against other nations in the organisation on federal government funding research and development. The Australian Government only spends 0.4% of the GDP as a percentage. This is lower than other nations like us. However, viewing the country’s total funding on science, research and development, including spending by the state governments and the private sector, the problem is not as bad: here Australia is placed in the middle among all the OECD countries.
These discoveries have changed millions of lives all over the world, created gateways for many new inventions, also helped and increased our economy. However, many are not able to make these ideas reality.
But there is always room for improvement. I believe that Australia is a great country and is able to excel in the field of science and research. If the government spends more money in funding science and research, Australia can climb our way to the top of the OECD countries. This will enable Australia to keep inventing and researching to find new solutions for our problems.
Who knows? In a few years’ time (if the government continues funding scientists and research), maybe Australian scientists could have found the cure for cancer or discovered how to use nuclear energy safely. Maybe Australian scientists will have found a way to reverse the effects of climate change or maybe they could have invented a new piece of technology to help us do all these things. With science anything is possible!
This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.
The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics and journalists with students who wish to write non-fiction articles and voice their opinions on what is shaping the nation.
For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.