“It was a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow scientists and gain experience in communicating my research to sitting members of parliament” she said.
“It’s important that scientists engage with politicians, particularly at a time when science is viewed with scepticism in some parts of the community. Technology, engineering and maths are also high on the political agenda as a source of future jobs and prosperity.”
Dr Charles-Edwards is responsible for teaching population dynamics to Environmental Management students at The University of Queensland and has supervised a number of research students investigating population-environment interactions.
Her research focuses on patterns, processes and determinants of human migration, including its environmental determinants and its impacts on local and regional populations.
She is a current Vice-president of Australian Population Association and has undertaken work for the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank.
She said her background in population studies served to emphasis the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary Environmental Sciences in higher education and highlighted the importance of understanding human-environment interactions in addressing key policy challenges.
From its very beginning, Science meets Parliament has enjoyed strong support – at the inaugural event in 1999, the Senate passed a resolution declaring the day “Science Meets Parliament Day” and urging “all political parties to recognise the importance of science to this nation’s future, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally”.
This year’s two-day gathering included a day of professional development, a gala dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament, a televised National Press Club address, and a day at Parliament House, where delegates meet privately with parliamentarians, attended a parliamentary forum and concluded with a cocktail party with the Parliamentary Friends of Science.