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Science & Technology Australia announces an IFM STEM ambassador to parliament

Institute for Frontier Materials researcher Associate Professor Alessandra Sutti has been named a Science & Technology Australia STEM Ambassador.

Assoc. Prof. Sutti, who is part of the ARC Research Hub for Future Fibres, will be the STEM Ambassador to the Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace – joining 25 other ambassadors including fellow Deakin Professor Anna Peeters, who will be the STEM Ambassador to Senator Sarah Henderson.

Assoc. Prof. Sutti is a materials scientist at IFM, where she leads a multi-disciplinary team researching advanced materials and processes for high-performance fibres and textiles.

The program aims to forge “stronger ties between science, technology and public policy”, with ambassadors and parliamentarians meeting regularly to help politicians access expert advice on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

IFM Director Professor Sally McArthur says the STEM Ambassador program has the potential to play an important part in shaping future innovations in Australia.

“By matching STEM Ambassadors with parliamentarians, we can arm our policy makers with expert advice from the scientists who are sitting right at the forefront of innovation,” she says.

“As materials scientists, we have the knowledge and expertise to develop new materials and technologies that can solve our biggest societal challenges, such as waste and clean energy.

“As an institute we’re so pleased to be part of this Science & Technology Australia program.”

A growing number of Parliamentarians seeking regular expert advice on complex science and technology issues saw Science & Technology Australia appoint a record-breaking 26 STEM Ambassadors in 2023.

Assoc. Prof. Sutti says evidence-based decision making is key to ensuring our planet and community are well cared for.

“Being a STEM Ambassador is a great opportunity to build relationships with policy makers, to provide key scientific insight and to advocate for STEM-based decisions and education,” she says.

“As a scientist, a critical part of my job is to share the latest scientific knowledge with my community and our decision makers in a timely and informative fashion. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to help bring the worlds of science and policy even closer.

“Connecting with a member of the Australian Parliament will give me great insight into the drivers and barriers in policy making. This will undoubtedly increase my awareness of how my own research journey can achieve greater impact in the community.”

“I am very thankful to Deakin University for supporting my participation in such a rare opportunity to contribute to policy making and to become a more-informed scientist. I wish to acknowledge the Defence Science and Technology Group NAVIGATE Program for also supporting me to participate in this program.”

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert congratulated Professor Sutti on being selected for the STA STEM Ambassador program.

“We’re at a remarkable point in history where an explosion of complex science and technology advances are about to dramatically reshape our economy, our lives and our jobs,” she said.

“And what we’re seeing in response is a strong surge in the need for expert advice as lawmakers seek to keep pace with those developments and learn more about new technologies and their implications.

“Through this unique program, we match MPs and Senators with their own STA STEM Ambassador to give them regular access to a powerful network of Australian STEM experts to inform policy development.

“We’re delighted to welcome our new STEM Ambassadors and thank them in advance for sharing their expertise and developing a strong working relationship with their MPs and Senators.”

To see the full list of Science & Technology Australia STEM Ambassadors, click here.