MEDIA RELEASE: An Eye to the Future: Shaping Australia’s Tomorrow

‘Securing Australia’s Future’– book launch, 28 June 2017, The Shine Dome, Canberra

Maintaining a strong education system and building industries of the future are two of the key findings in the Securing Australia’s Future book, launched today by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).

Securing Australia’s Future was a four year, $10 million investment to help shape the nation’s priorities. It comprised 11 studies and was funded by the Australian Research Council.

The final publication, Securing Australia’s Future: Harnessing interdisciplinary research for innovation and prosperity, explores each of the program’s 11 studies and draws out a set of overarching findings on how to ensure Australia’s future prosperity. These include maintaining Australia’s strong education system, embracing Australia’s relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, and building industries of the future.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, said the Securing Australia’s Future project was a valuable way for the Learned Academies to help policy makers anticipate how developments in science will change the lives of all Australians in the years to come.

Securing Australia’s Future engaged some of the nation’s most respected minds on perhaps the country’s most critical brief: the path to prosperity in the decades ahead,” Dr Finkel said.

“But it’s a never-ending mission. Securing Australia’s Future also lays the foundation for a follow-up phase of Horizon Scanning reports, which will continue to advise government on the social and economic changes we can expect as Australia contributes to a digital and global economy.”

ACOLA President Professor John Fitzgerald said Securing Australia’s Future provided expert advice from Australia’s finest minds to ensure a productive and collaborative future for Australia.

Securing Australia’s Future brought together leading experts from across the disciplines to guide Australia through times of global change. Each of the findings is informed by well-researched evidence to support decision making and advise industry, government and the Australian community of the critical issues we face.” Professor Fitzgerald said.

The five Key findings from Securing Australia’s Future are:

  • Securing a prosperous future needs economic, social and cultural changes that is facilitated by visionary leadership and targeted investments in skills, infrastructure and innovation.
  • Celebrating our relationships in the Asia-Pacific region will help Australia find new opportunities supported by language, cultural awareness and extended networks and linkages.
  • Building industries of the future and adapting to change will require increased investment and a commitment to innovation. This includes building better links between business and research, and a capable workforce that combines humanities and science capabilities for creative problem solving.
  • Maintaining strong foundations in science, technology, engineering and maths education requires us to better engage those who are enthusiastic, at all levels and from all backgrounds.
  • For Australia to provide global leadership in environmental sustainability and adaptation, we need to leverage our strength in innovative research, and build our capabilities in urban planning, transport and clean energy solutions.

ACOLA undertook the Securing Australia’s Future program for the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council and then the Commonwealth Science Council, through the Office of the Chief Scientist.

The Securing Australia’s Future book was authored by Simon Torok and Paul Holper and is available from For more information about Securing Australia’s Future, visit or email

The ACOLA group that oversaw the synthesis process included Professor Peter McPhee AM FASSA FAHA (Chair), Dr Susan Pond AM FTSE FAHMS, Professor Ruth Fincher AM FASSA and Dr John Burgess FTSE.


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About ACOLA:
ACOLA is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that supports evidence-based interdisciplinary research. ACOLA combines the strengths of the four Australian Learned Academies: Australian Academy of Science, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Australian Academy of the Humanities and Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.