The Old Parliament Chamber at Adelaide’s Parliament House may not be the first venue that springs to mind when you think ‘Speed Dating’, but it was the location for an event earlier this week designed to match state members of parliament with agricultural scientists to discuss the opportunities and threats for boosting the SA economy.
An initiative of Science meets Parliament SA, the event followed a speed dating format with seven stations related to horticulture and viticulture. MPs and staffers had five minutes at each station to engage one-on-one with invited experts on particular issues and the importance of current scientific research in that area.
Diane Mather, the J.A.T. Mortlock Chair in Crop Improvement at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine here at the Waite was a participant at a plant biotechnology station. Her main message was ‘Plant Biotechnology: More than just GM’.
“Five minutes was just enough time to briefly discuss GM and to ‘sample’ one other item from a menu of DNA testing, gene editing and epigenomics”, Diane said. “It was a novel and effective way to highlight the impact of science on the SA economy and to learn about the perspectives of MPs and their constituents.”
Di Davidson, Deputy Chancellor of the University of Adelaide was the keynote speaker at the event and other participants from the Waite included Mike McCarthy (SARDI – soils station), Paul Petrie (AWRI/SARDI – viticulture station), Jim Cox (SARDI – water station) and Peter Hayman (SARDI – climate change station).