From the Chief Executive Officer

As we head into the last few weeks of 2016, here at the NYSF we are ramping up for our January Sessions – NYSF 2017. All of the student participants have been selected for the two programs held at The Australian National University, the first of which begins on 2 January. So there’s no real break for our corporate team and the brilliant student staff leaders, who have been training throughout the year for the task ahead.

Our sincere thanks to our Rotary colleagues across the country for their support and hard work in selecting and supporting our participants in their attendance at the NYSF. The Rotary Orientation sessions have been across the country in September and October, providing an opportunity for this year’s cohort to get together pre-session and for them and their families to learn more about the NYSF and what they can expect when they arrive in Canberra.

So what can they expect? This year, our Programs Team has been planning for six science tours and visits for each participant, in their interest group – over the two sessions, that amounts to about 180 tours provided by our program supporters at the various institutions and businesses in the region, including the ANU, the University of Canberra, the CSIRO, and the Canberra Institute of Technology just to name a few. As well as those tours and visits, the participants will go to lectures given by leading Australian scientists, hear about future study options from our university partners, and the possible career paths they might consider from our business partners. At the Australian Academy of Science, they will learn about its role and resources, as well as the history of the iconic building – The Shine Dome. And at the Science Dinner, held this year at the National Museum of Australia, our guest speakers will captivate with insights on their research activities and their impacts, and their own careers in science. Our popular Alumni Lectures will be open to the wider NYSF community this January, featuring two former NYSF/National Science Summer School (NSSS) participants whose stories and experiences are excellent illustrations of the variety of opportunities available from further study and careers in STEM.

Last week, we launched the NYSF 2017, program following the announcement from the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, that the NYSF will receive $600,000 over four years through the National Science Innovation Agenda (NISA).  The funds are allocated for three specific activities – the expansion to a third NYSF program to be run in January in a second location; the support and expansion of the National Science Teachers Summer School; and the establishment of an Equity Fund that will encourage the participation of young people from more diverse backgrounds in the NYSF January Sessions.

The NYSF Chair, Andrew Metcalfe AO, welcomed the funding from the NISA program, saying, “These additional NYSF initiatives are important platforms in our engagement strategy to increase the understanding of the Australian community about the possible options for young people in STEM study and careers.”

Our involvement in the PwC 21st Century Minds program this year has been rewarding on many levels – the expanded networks, the skills development, and most importantly, the support from our Canberra PwC mentor team to complete our business plan, have been the key benefits. We look forward to the final program workshops in November, and to continuing to engage with the wider STEM outreach network as well as local and national PwC stakeholders into the future. PwC should be congratulated for its vision and leadership in raising the profile of investment in STEM for the future of the Australian economy, and perhaps more importantly, our community.

Finally, last week we also welcomed new funding partner IP Australia for the NSYF 2017 January program. Patricia Kelly, Director General of IP Australia, emphasised the benefits that the new partnership will bring for NYSF students and the wider Australian community.

“IP Australia is pleased to partner with NYSF to further support innovation and commercialisation, both fundamental to the role we play in the Australian community,” she said. (Read more)

I thank all of our funding partners – including major partner, Lockheed Martin Australia – whose support, both financial and strategic, means that the NYSF is able to continue to offer transformative STEM experiences for young Australians to encourage life-long learning.

We are all looking forward to January 2017 and the delivery of another program jam-packed with interesting, engaging and inspiring activities for the 400 young people who are attending, to  show them just what is possible with a career in STEM.

Dr Damien Pearce

Chief Executive Officer