Science contributes $330 billion to Australia’s economy annually and scientific advances over the past 30 years are helping to keep about 10 per cent of the workforce – or one million Australians – in jobs, new analysis shows.
The new report has been released by outgoing Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, on his last day in the job.
It builds on research released last year that found the value of physics, mathematics and chemistry to the economy was $292 billion.
Together the sciences contribute $330 billion annually, including $84 billion in exports, it found.
More than a quarter of the economy was found to exist due to scientific advances.
Prof Chubb believes it’s overwhelmingly clear that without advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics the economy would be smaller and jobs would be ‘greatly depleted’.
‘We would suffer and some of us would die from conditions we can diagnose and treat today,’ he will say at the report launch in Canberra on Friday.
‘We would not have the capacity to look at the future in the expectation it will be better than the past.’
Conducted by the Australian Academy of Science and the Centre for International Economics, the report is based on advances in the past 20 to 30 years and is prepared to help formulate policy.
The report launch in Canberra on Friday will double as a send-off for Prof Chubb, who rounds out his five-year appointment to make way for engineer and entrepreneur Alan Finkel.
Prof Chubb will use part of his farewell speech in channelling fellow science lover, US President Barack Obama, and reading out part of his last State of the Union address.
Posing Mr Obama’s four questions on how to achieve fairness, better use technology, ensure safety and implement effective politics, Prof Chubb will say they can all be answered with one word: science.
‘The president gave a long answer, because he’s the president,’ he joked.
‘I will give a short one. Science.
‘And a slightly longer one: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.’