||Science and the making of Victoria
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Royal Society of Victoria - Past, Present, Future
The Royal Society of VictoriaPast, Present, Future
One of the two bodies which merged to form the Royal Society of Victoria was the Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science. This Institute, formed in June 1854, identified two important objectives for its activitiesone was to provide "a means of communication between persons engaged in the pursuit of science" and the other was to "provide an agency for the development of the resources of the colony".
Following the establishment of the Royal Society of Victoria, the Society has continued to provide a forum for the interchange of scientific knowledge between the various branches of science and technology. It has also made a very valuable contribution to raising the level of scientific awareness and understanding in the general community by ensuring that its membership is open to all. At the same time the broad base for its membership has ensured that the important sociological implications for scientific and technological advancement have also been of concern to the Society.
However the Society has been much less successful in providing an agency for the development of the resources of Victoria. This has probably been a result of the growth of specialist government departments who have in the past jealously guarded their roles in advising on, and implementing, State Government policy for resource development. For example, the Society’s initiative in establishing the independent Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences was only able to attract very limited support from government and, in the long run, was essentially subsumed in a government department.
It can be argued that a new window of opportunity is opening for the Society in response to the community’s growing understanding of, and concern for, the importance of sustainability as key criterion for the development of the State’s resourcesnatural, human and economic. The Society is well placed to provide government, industry and the broader community with scientifically competent and independent advice to assess the criteria for assuring the sustainability of development proposals. It is my view that the time is ripe for the Society to take this bold step into the future.
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences
People in Bright Sparcs - Lovering, John Francis
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