COSPAR 2021 Chair Professor Russell Boyce reaffirmed the status of the event in a statement over the weekend, where he announced the chosen partnership for STEM in education for the Assembly.
“As Chair of the 43rd COSPAR 2021, I am delighted to announce our partnership with the NSW Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) Program for our space science STEM event, also known as COSPAR-K,” said Professor Boyce.
The theme of the 2021 Assembly is Connecting Space Research for Global Impact and Australia will leverage this Assembly, the first time a southern hemisphere country has hosted the event, to make an impact at a time when our space sector, assisted by the new Australian Space Agency, is rapidly gathering momentum.
“There couldn’t be at a better time for Australia and our space research ambitions to have this conference on our shores,” said Dr Scott Sleap, Project Lead for the SISP Program, who welcomed the partnership on behalf of the NSW Department of Education.
The SISP Program will take a lead role in the COSPAR-K program which will run simultaneously with the Assembly in Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC) over the last few days of the summer holidays in 2021.
SISP-led events will include a Plants in Space showcase, model bottle rocket designing and testing, Mars Rover robotics simulations and a Mars Rover Challenge. The SISP team will look to involve STEM students across NSW who are currently working on robotics programs at school through the iSTEM curriculum to showcase at this event.
“I am so proud of the SISP team who have worked over the years to position our program among the world’s best in delivering engaging and exciting STEM education in schools. To have the COSPAR take notice and ask SISP to contribute to the COSPAR-K space science event in such a way is a real honour,” said Dr Sleap.
“I’m particularly happy that the COSPAR organisers have asked the Department of Education to take the lead in providing equitable access to all students via the COSPAR-K TV Channel.
“COSPAR-K TV will live-stream numerous events and videos and host interactive Q&A and interview sessions across the full program.
“This is a great opportunity for SISP to provide our rural, regional and remote students with the same rare and exciting experience to access but also participate in content that would normally be available only to students who could attend in person. COSPAR-K will be a real equaliser in space science and discovery,” Dr Sleap said.
Professor Boyce emphasised the importance of these conferences to pitch a future in STEM to the next generation of STEM leaders and researchers.
“With the world’s leading space researchers and industries coming to Australia in January 2021, a once-in-a-generation opportunity exists to spark the next talent pool of STEM graduates,” he said.
“We are making a deliberate effort to reach out to and motivate young people to pursue STEM careers that will contribute to Australia's advanced manufacturing economy. We see this as one of the lasting legacies of COSPAR 2021.
“I’m therefore inviting teachers, students and the public to engage in a conversation about space to drive innovation for generational change. We want you to be part of building Australia’s future prosperity. Come and join us at COSPAR-K,” Professor Boyce said.
The COSPAR and SISP teams have enjoyed collaborating and planning for this exciting space science adventure for Australian students. Both Professor Boyce and Dr Sleap and are looking forward to sharing further information on the activities and opportunities as they are confirmed.