2017 Annual Report
Financial Year 2017 has been a year of transition for ACOLA, as we completed the Securing Australia’s Future (SAF) program and initiated several projects through the new Horizon Scanning initiative for the Chief Scientist and the Commonwealth Science Council.
Dr Christina Parolin, Chair, Board of Directors
ACOLA Secretariat Limited
ACOLA STRATEGIC STATEMENT
Australia’s four Learned Academies are independent organisations made up of the Nation’s leading experts in the major fields of relevant enquiry. More than 2000 of the nation’s most eminent scientists, researchers, scholars and practitioners contribute to this rich source of expert knowledge.
ACOLA provides the forum for the four Learned Academies to work cooperatively to develop cutting-edge thinking and integrated problem solving. ACOLA’s purpose is to harness expert knowledge from multiple disciplinary perspectives, to inform national policy and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs.
Two events concluded the SAF program
- The launch of the report of SAF10: Capabilities for Australian Enterprise Innovation in July 2016 and of ACOLA’s Book: Securing Australia’s Future
- Harnessing interdisciplinary research for innovation and prosperity in June 2017. Both occasions provided a valuable opportunity to highlight the important interdisciplinary research and analysis that ACOLA undertakes to underpin evidence-based policy development for Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing.
ACOLA’s Horizon Scanning program continues the focus on producing reports to assist policy makers to better position Australia for the future by anticipating significant scientific, social and technological changes and opportunities. As these are all human issues, deeply embedded in society and culture, as much as they are scientific and technological ones, the reports are designed to ensure that expertise and perspectives from the disciplines represented through Australia’s four Learned Academies are involved in each and every project. The three projects initiated by ACOLA this year are:
- The role of energy storage in Australia’s future energy supply mix
- The future of precision medicine and gene editing in Australia
- Synthetic Biology in Australia: An outlook to 2030
These new ACOLA projects are a direct outcome of ACOLA’s success in demonstrating the benefit of bringing interdisciplinary perspectives together to find solutions for some of the most complex challenges facing Australia. It is also a result of the strong relationships ACOLA has built with the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Australian Government.
In undertaking these projects, ACOLA relies on the expertise of the Fellows of Australia’s four Learned Academies, and in turn provides the Academies with an important platform to demonstrate the value of their work, both individually and collectively. We are exceptionally grateful to all the Fellows who contribute their time and intellectual energies to the ACOLA projects.
As we move towards 2018, I acknowledge and thank the Presidents of the four Learned Academies who together constitute the Council – Professor John Fitzgerald, Professor Andrew Holmes, Professor Hugh Bradlow, and Professor Glenn Withers – and my Board colleagues Ms Anna-Maria Rabia, Dr Margaret Hartley and Dr John Beaton for their commitment and continued cooperation throughout FY2017. Finally, I wish to offer my sincere thanks to Dr Angus Henderson, General Manager, and his team in the ACOLA Secretariat. They work exceptionally hard and their dedication helps ensure that ACOLA continues to thrive as an organisation.
Dr Christina Parolin
Chair, Board of Directors
ACOLA Secretariat Ltd