Thursday, 4 August 2022

Rod and I are delighted to join you tonight to celebrate and recognise the achievements of eight outstanding young scientific researchers and communicators from our three universities.

Rod is particularly looking forward to meeting the award winners as he has a keen and professional interest in science as former physicist who has also taught secondary maths and physics.

To an audience such as this I need not emphasise the importance of science education, research and application; but to this audience I do want to pledge my commitment as Governor to supporting your world-leading endeavours in these fields.

To the Young Tall Poppy Award winners to be announced shortly, congratulations on your achievements.

To be recognised early in your careers is not only an accolade, but is also, I hope, an inspiration for you to reach even higher and an encouragement to others to pursue similar careers.

Your research areas are varied: entomology, engineering, medicine, economics, sport, nutrition, plant biochemistry, and artificial intelligence – yet you are connected through your common quest to improve our world.

You are amongst next generation of scientists who will develop the solutions to the world’s pressing challenges: climate change, pandemics, poverty, access to clean food, water and medicine, degradation of the environment. There are many others.

For example, South Australia is kickstarting a biotech economy, and pioneering nanosatellite technology that will not only benefit our State but have global significance.

From Rod’s and my visits to scientific organisations in Adelaide such as SAHMRI, Tonsley Innovation District, the Australian Space Discovery Centre, and Fleet Technology, we are confident that South Australia is already in the vanguard of finding solutions to significant challenges confronting us, climate change key among them.

Science has long explained told us how fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are changing our climate.

It is now needed to provide the understanding and solve the problems that will create the enabling technology for a low carbon future.

These and many other steps will be needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Researchers are already at the forefront of finding solutions across a range of long-term imperatives arising from these – how to ensure water and food supply; can we arrest the decline of plant, animal and marine species; how can we tackle hunger and poor nutrition.

The creation of the vibrant, low-carbon economy we need will require the concerted effort, engagement and support not only of scientists and governments, but everyone.

Understanding how, and knowing why, informs action.

So, scientists need to be at the forefront of bring our community with them.

To that end, I congratulate our Tall Poppies for your participation in education and community outreach programs to inspire school students and the broader community about the possibilities of science.

You join a cohort of more than 850 Tall Poppies.

I thank the Australian Institute of Policy and Science for its commitment since 1932 to increasing public engagement in science, promoting excellence, informing policy making and your stewardship of the awards since 1998.

To the award winners, Rod and I wish you well in your future careers and urge you to continue to pursue ambitious research goals and inspire our next generation of scientists.

Our future depends on it.