Message from the Centre Advisory Board

TMOS has completed its third full year of operation, and its research and community continue to evolve, working towards a significant impact in its contributions to our global understanding of meta-optics and Australia’s future economic prosperity.

As we look ahead, scientists around the country are making the case for increased investment in fundamental scientific research and updates to Australia’s National Research Priorities to take us into the future. ARC Centres of Excellence stand as an excellent example of the impact homegrown talent can have.

The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme contributes to Australia’s global competitive strength in research and provides a strong example of the necessity of government support for research, broadly.

In 2024, TMOS Chief Investigator Prof. Sharath Sriram will take up the key advocacy role of President of Science and Technology Australia. In his recent address to the National Press Club he stated that Australia’s spending on research and development (R&D) as a percentage of GDP has been declining for over a decade, now standing at only 1.6% of GDP, well below the OECD average of 2.7%. We are both calling for significant change so that Australia can maintain a competitive edge in global R&D.

Foundational research underpins all scientific endeavours and has historically led to significant technological, social, and economic benefits. Increased investment in fundamental research allows for the exploration of novel concepts and technologies, leading to groundbreaking innovations.

Failure to increase this investment in research could have dire consequences for the Australian society and leave Australia reliant on other countries for solutions to technology and security challenges.

TMOS is pushing the boundaries of optical science and engineering and is positioned to maximise opportunity in key areas of sovereign capability such as optical communication and sensing.

Collaboration is key to unlocking the full potential of these opportunities. TMOS exemplifies the forward-thinking multidisciplinary research environment that is necessary to address national and global challenges. As TMOS has matured as a research entity, it has taken strides in its strategic engagement to influence policy by using key appointments and formal submissions, such as its submission to the national quantum strategy.

Chief Investigator Prof. Chennupati Jagadish is another strong advocate for government support of Australian Research. In his capacity as President of the Australian Academy of Science, he noted, “We also want policymakers and governments to intensify their use of expertise to inform decision making. Science should be heard wherever and whenever decisions are made – in our parliaments, boardrooms, courts of law and in the public square.”

The researchers of TMOS have an important role in communicating the impact of the Centre’s research. Every effort to communicate their work with the public and each other contributes to a larger conversation that shapes the future,  including investment in research. Public investment in science reflects societal priorities. By engaging with the public and policymakers, we can demonstrate how scientific evidence informs decision-making and influences progress.

In 2023, TMOS developed a front facing program to demonstrate its translational value and applications to industry and government. In addition to various submissions to government policy development, including the national quantum strategy, these activities map a pathway to impact which will lay the foundations for a strong legacy.

I urge all members of TMOS to invest in collaboration and communication from the outset. By sharing your discoveries with the world, you can amplify the impact and pave the way for continued investment in science and advancements in innovation and drive meaningful change for years to come.


Chairman of the Centre Advisory Board

About the author/s

Ian Chubb

Ian Chubb has been a strong and effective advocate for government and industry support of innovation and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) over several decades. Throughout his career, including as Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University (2001 to 2011) ... more