As Australian scientists and technologists and their champions, we write to express our strong support for our international colleagues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Collaboration with international counterparts, in all countries and from all backgrounds, is vital to the work of STEM. The common language of STEM serves as a bridge across cultural divides; enables cross-fertilisation of new ideas from different perspectives; and it serves to make the world healthier and more resilient through a period of global change.
It is incredibly important that we as a society support independent research, free of political interference. The scientific method is robust, and through it the sum of human knowledge has been advanced incrementally through the laser lens of objective testing and observation, contestability, replication of results, and intense scrutiny. The growth of ‘alternative facts’ and the rise internationally of misrepresentation and disregard for science is, at best, troubling. At worst, it’s life threatening on a monumental scale.
Climate change, antibiotic resistance, food and water security and other global threats will not be solved by ‘alternative facts’ but through the steady and logical application of science and technology. In our privileged Australian society, our communities and individual lives are extended, enhanced and made more fruitful every day by science and technology. The achievements of science and technology research have been enabled through successive governments’ support for the work of those in the STEM sectors.
We the undersigned call on leaders around the world to recognise and reinforce the value of unencumbered support for the work of scientists and technologists. We call on those with power and influence to work towards a society based on reasoned and substantiated decision making.
We call for a world that supports, celebrates, and learns from science.