Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR110527 Australian Embassy launches program to inspire the next generation of scientists


The Australian Embassy launched its ‘Scientists in Schools’ program at the University of the Philippines-Manila featuring a lecture by eminent Australian scientist and cervical cancer vaccine pioneer Professor Ian Frazer.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said the initiative aims to raise appreciation for science education, research and innovation in Philippine high schools and universities so as to inspire students to become the next generation of Filipino scientists.

The program is patterned after a national initiative by Australia’s science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which promotes science education in primary and secondary schools through partnerships and visits by Australian scientists.

“Each year, we aim to bring an Australian scientist who can share their knowledge and interact directly with students,” Ambassador Smith said. “For this inaugural event, we are very fortunate to have Professor Frazer to share his groundbreaking research on the prevention of cervical cancer.”

Professor Frazer was also the main speaking in ‘Catching Cancer: A Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control’ co-organised by the Australian Embassy and the Department of Health in observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

“Professor Frazer is among the many Australian scientists whose discoveries and creations are changing the lives of millions around the world. Australia has been in the forefront of innovations and achievements in many fields, including sciences, medicine, industry and agriculture,” Ambassador Smith said.

Innovations by Australians range from commonplace items including long-wearing contact lenses and wireless LANs or Wi-Fi, to contemporary science and medical breakthroughs such as the ultrasound, heart pacemaker and cochlear implants. Ten Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Australians for their cutting edge work in medicine, ranging from immunology, nerves and the brain, to penicillin and organ transplants.

“Australia has developed a culture of innovation that supports a dynamic, modern and economically stable nation,” Ambassador Smith said. “We hope the ‘Scientists in Schools’ initiative will get Filipino students more interested and engaged in science and innovation to become drivers of the country’s development.”

The Australian Government, as a longstanding partner to the Philippines, has invested substantially in education. About P2bilion, or almost half of Australia’s current bilateral development program, goes towards improving access and quality of basic education in the Philippines, and to providing scholarships to a large number of Filipinos to pursue higher education in Australia.