The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) is a Fellowship of more than 520 of the nation’s top scientists who live and work in Australia and around the world. New Fellows are elected annually for their personal contributions to science. The Academy’s mission is to provide independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice, promote international scientific engagement, build public awareness and understanding of science, and champion, celebrate and support excellence in Australian science.

The short-term, results-driven nature of APR.Intern projects has allowed the Academy to collaborate with universities, nationally, and tap into high-end academic resources. The access to Australia’s brightest emerging research talent has been a pathway for the Academy to spearhead cutting-edge research, with having hosted eight APR interns.

One former intern is Penelope Purdie from Macquarie University who worked on creating an internal advisory brief for AAS to guide their interactions with Indigenous Knowledge Holders, under the instruction of the Australian Academy of Science Policy Team.

Penelope’s PhD research focuses on exploring the connections between linguistic and cultural diversity and ecological biodiversity. She is specifically interested in the unique knowledge that women hold of Country, and the fulfillment of their core obligation to Country through the teaching of the next generations

“I was drawn to the APR.Intern program because it offered an opportunity to apply my research to real-world problems and explore the tensions between academic and non-academic spaces, especially in policy writing and cross-cultural knowledge exchanges. This particular project with AAS resonated with me due to its focus on strengthening engagements with Indigenous Knowledges and Knowledge Holders. It aligned perfectly with my interest in collaborative, Indigenous-led research and creating spaces that prioritise Indigenous perspectives.”

– Penelope Purdie, Former APR Intern at Australian Academy of Science.

Image: Penelope Purdie, APR Intern (supplied).

Penelope’s top learning outcomes from the internship experience were a deeper understanding and a first-hand experience of the necessity Indigenous leadership in all collaborative research initiatives; the complexities of cross-cultural knowledge exchanges; and the value of alternative forms of communication beyond traditional academic writing.

Penelope is an excellent example of how talent combined with significant work pays off. She consistently demonstrated a strong sense of integrity and had a positive impact on our team.

– Dr Stuart Barrow, Research and Policy Manager at the Australian Academy of Science

Penelope believes this internship was critical to her future career development, as she sees herself continuing to engage in collaborative research that centres Indigenous perspectives and contributes to the conservation of bicultural diversity.

“The internship experience has undoubtedly helped me in achieving these goals by deepening my experience of cross-cultural research and expanding my network within the academic and policy spheres.”

Penelope Purdie was a recipient of the WiSE subsidy.