Celebrating Tasmania's top scientists Wed 22 August 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology Some of Tasmania's top scientists will gather in Hobart this evening for the annual Science Meets Parliament dinner at Parliament House. The Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, David O'Byrne, said the annual dinner was an exciting opportunity for Parliamentarians to meet the state's scientific community. "Science and Research is one of Tasmania's key industries to drive economic growth, and I'm proud to be able to host tonight's event, where scientists and researchers will be able to share developments in their chosen fields with Members of Parliament," he said. "We remain committed to supporting our world-leading science and research sector, which employs more than 3,000 people and attracts investment of around half a billion dollars to Tasmania each year." Mr O'Byrne said the Tasmanian Government had established a new award to recognise the achievements of the state's top scientists. "At the end of this week, we'll be hosting the inaugural Tasmanian Science Excellence Awards, acknowledging individuals from the scientific community who have made exceptional contributions to their field," he said. "It's events like these which help showcase our scientific community to the world, and demonstrate that Tasmania is an attractive destination for international students who wish to learn from exceptional teachers, in an exceptional place." Mr O'Byrne said the University of Tasmania had achieved great success in attracting Chinese and other international students to Tasmania, with more than a thousand Chinese students studying here, and a further 1,300 students living in China who are undertaking UTAS degrees via distance education. "This is an excellent example of how our reputation for world-class science and research can pay dividends for our economy - by attracting students from key export markets like China," he said. "That's why it's so important we continue to support this sector, celebrate its achievements and showcase its successes, and to guide its strategic goals to align with the state's economic development goals."