24 March 2014
The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is proud of its association with the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) program, which originated here in Tasmania in 1998 before national expansion in 2007. It has operated under the auspices of the School of Agricultural Science then under the Tasmanian Institute for Agriculture and is ultimately the responsibility of the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). The Tasmanian program has been funded substantially from UTAS, together with a series of grants from federal agencies and with significant support from Tasmanian businesses, schools and teachers. The national program, hosted by UTAS, was similarly funded in several states, with strong support from other universities and the Research and Development corporation sector.
After an extensive twelve month consultative process with key sponsors, UTAS has been unable to find further external funding to enable the ongoing operations of the Tasmanian PICSE node in its current form. It is therefore with regret that we must advise of the closure of the Tasmanian Office of the PICSE program. UTAS will take key components of PICSE and incorporate these into the already extensive school and public engagement activities run through SET.
This is an opportunity to build on the PICSE concept and continue to excite students about science and technology, especially opportunities in the primary production sector, and the importance of innovation, inventiveness and discovery in our economy and society. Improving maths and science literacy will continue to remain a high priority.
Due to funding issues it has been determined that the following strategy be implemented:
We are taking this opportunity to advise all key stakeholders formally well in advance of our position. As you are no doubt aware, the PICSE program has achieved strong and meaningful influence on educational choices of students who will move into careers in the primary industry sector. This is backed by considerable data, strong partnerships, past support from funders, state and national agencies, the education community and the agribusiness sector. Considering the combined effort over time, it is all the more regrettable that UTAS is obliged to take this position.
Mr Gordon Stone, PICSE Program Leader, has been investigating the potential for the program to be managed elsewhere. UTAS, however, has reached a point where decisions were required on PICSE’s future and the university, through SET, will take key elements of the program and integrate these into ongoing and extensive engagement program locally. At an operational level, Gordon and his team have been advised to continue their high level management, whilst implementing this process as rapidly as possible in order that the wind-down can be handled efficiently, effectively and professionally.
Should you wish to discuss this further please feel free to contact either one of us, through the National Office.
Professor Margaret Britz | Dean
Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology | University of Tasmania
Private Bag 50 Hobart TASMANIA 7001
T +61 3 6226 1799 | F +61 3 6226 7809 | E Margaret.Britz@utas.edu.au
Mr Gordon Stone, Program Manager, PICSE
For further information please contact: The PICSE National Office e-mail: PICSE.Admin@utas.edu.au or phone: 03 6430 4517
To see past News and Announcement articles click here.
Click here to see how PICSE has impacted students in their study and career pathway.
New funding for initiative encouraging students to become scientists
The Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) has been awarded $642,000 in Federal funding to help today’s students become tomorrow’s scientists.
The national program, titled Maximising Student and Teaching Engagement with Science Professionals to Address the Shortage of Qualified Science Professionals, received $642,000 through the Federally funded Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program. It will be delivered through PICSE, a program driven by the University of Tasmania in collaboration with a range of national and regional partners.
PICSE Program Manager, Mr Gordon Stone, said the funding allows continuing support for encouraging students to pursue science based careers.
“Australia is extremely well-placed to capitalise on the ‘knowledge economy’, and science provides real opportunities for today’s young thinkers to become tomorrow’s thought leaders,” Mr Stone explained.
The PICSE project will expand a proven national program that addresses the shortfall of students, especially in regional areas, taking science from high school and into university by:
The PICSE National Office is based at UTAS Cradle Coast Campus in Burnie, North West Tasmania and the PICSE program operates through a range of Activity Centres based in regional locations around Australia.
The PICSE Science Education Officers, based predominantly at Australian partner universities, are looking forward to continuing engagement with local teachers and students to support the promotion of science based careers.
Mr Stone highlighted the critical nature of the project’s focus on supporting the professional development of teachers, as well as direct engagement of both regional and urban students and creating direct connection with innovative employers.
National Media contact: PICSE Program Manager, Gordon Stone, on 0408 063 229
PICSE contact: Debbie Worley, Exec Asst, National PICSE Office: (03) 6430 4517
The latest PICSE recourse is now available online Living Science: Food, Agricultural Science and Natural Resource Careers can be found here...
More resources can be found by clicking here
Science for Growth Awards (SGA): to improve understanding among school students and science teachers of the science-based career opportunities available in primary industries and Australian agribusiness.
For more infomation including a printable flyer and action plan click here
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