CONCERNS about the perceived decline in Australia's skills and knowledge sets in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics - referred to by educators as STEM - has prompted the national Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, to take action.
The concerns about Australia's shift away from STEM expertise have recently been heightened by declining secondary and tertiary enrolments in areas such as higher level mathematics, which forms the foundation for these areas.
Australian business has for some time imported staff in certain sectors in which local STEM skills sets have been increasingly difficult to find - and this has manifested as a quiet sector of the 457 Work Visa debate in recent years.
Prof. Chubb has appointed a group to advise on strategies and priorities regarding science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, skills in the workplace and literacy for the community.
Interestingly, a head engineer from Google, an astrophysicist, a secondary school science teacher and a university chancellor are included in a diverse mix of advisers who will present a range of perspectives from academia, education, industry and research.
The STEM Industry and Education Advisory Group, appointed for a three-year term will advise the Chief Scientist on the mechanisms to develop a strong STEM base in the workforce as well as across the Australian community.
A major focus of the STEM Industry and Education Advisory Group will be to assist the Chief Scientist to enhance awareness in the community of the importance of STEM education and skills to Australia's economic and social development.
Chair: Professor Ian Chubb AC - Australia's Chief Scientist.
Dr Alan Finkel AM - Monash University Chancellor, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering president, and Stile Education CEO.
Dr Terry Lyons - University of New England Science Education.
Dr Brendan Nelson - Australian War Memorial director and former Federal Minister.
Alan Noble - Google Australia and New Zealand head engineer.
Dr Roslyn Prinsley - Office of the Chief Scientist, Science and Mathematics Industry and Education national adviser.
Robert Randall - Assessment and Reporting Authority, Australian Curriculum CEO.
Dr Deborah Rathjen - Bionomics CEO and managing director.
Prof. Brian Schmidt AC - Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist, Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, The Australian National University.
Anita Trenwith - Science teacher, Salisbury School, Adelaide, winner of 2012 Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.