This paper argues that a renewed focus on science policy – as a distinct area of policy with its own challenges and opportunities – has the potential to dramatically improve the conduct of both science and policy-making across a range of Australian Government departments and agencies.
There is a clear role for government, not least to optimise the effectiveness and efficiency of its multi-billion dollar annual investment of public funds in science.
A coherent and comprehensive science policy must go beyond science budgets and the immediate scientific outputs that those investments produce. Science policy must also address issues of appropriateness, of the connections between public investments in science and the social, economic and environmental outcomes those investments seek to achieve, and also of the appropriate role of science in a healthy democracy.
This paper aims to expand the science policy debate and provide science policy decision-makers with principles and tools that will help them navigate these complex issues, and work toward a more democratic, forward-thinking, and productive scientific enterprise.