Author Archives: Chris

National Science Week grants available in the NT

The NT Science Week Committee with support from InspiredNT and the Inspiring Australia program are offering individual grants, up to the value of $3000, for community groups to assist with the running of an event during National Science Week in 2018. A total of $12 000 will be allocated to events.

The aim of National Science Week is to increase the awareness and understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in everyday life and our future.

Applications will close on Friday 20 April 2018.

For more information or to receive an application form contact InspiredNT by email; or phone Paul Lyons on 08 8946 7423.

Ignite your imagination to the possibilities.

Join in the Sydney Science Festival

Calling all science and technology workers, thinkers, teachers and innovators: If you are considering producing a science-based or themed event, talk, workshop, forum or exhibition between 7–19 August, 2018, we invite you to be part of Sydney Science Festival. Expressions of interest are now open until 13 April 2018.

Now in its fourth year, Sydney Science Festival is city-wide celebration of science that is produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and the Australian Museum in partnership with Inspiring Australia (NSW), as part of National Science Week.

The Festival aims to encourage an interest in science among the public, and provides opportunities to highlight Sydney’s scientific credentials and foster partnerships between the community, research organisations and industry. It brings together science organisations throughout Sydney and supports them in the production of diverse science-themed events for people across the community.

In 2017, the Festival attracted more than 70 000 people to 180 events, hosted by 60 program partners. Almost 600 scientists and researchers participated in the events city-wide. Promotion of Sydney Science Festival generated over $800 000 worth of media value, almost 150 000 twitter impressions, more than 7000 Facebook likes and over 300 000 website views.

Sydney Science Festival’s events, venues and producers are diverse: research institutions, museums, universities, theatres, community groups, libraries, galleries, and businesses (both small and large). Venues have included Sydney Opera House, Mount Annan Botanic Gardens, Chatswood Library, Sydney Olympic Park, Marrickville Town Hall, Australian Technology Park and Parramatta Park.


Expressions of interest are now open until 13 April 2018
Check that your event meets the selection criteria in the areas of relevance, quality, engagement potential and feasibility. In return there are many benefits to being part of this exciting festival.
Read the EOI How to Guide to help guide you through the application process
Register for a Sydney Science Festival login and submit your event before 13 April.
Contact us to discuss any aspect of your submission.

We look forward to reading about your proposed events!

Event seed grants available in Queensland

The Queensland National Science Week Coordinating Committee offers annual seed grants up to $2500 for activities undertaken during National Science Week (11 – 19 August 2018).

The aim of the grants is to increase community awareness, understanding and engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) based activities during National Science Week in Queensland.


The event must be held in National Science Week.

Events aimed at the wider community, rather than a single organisation, will be preferred. School-based activities are ineligible unless they can demonstrate significant community partnerships, engagement and audiences.

Applications should address key criteria.


Grant recipients will be required to:

Register your event on the National Science Week website;
Use the National Science Week and Inspiring Australia logos in event promotion;
Hold your event / run your activity as per your application;
Provide an acquittal report by Friday 31 August 2018;
Complete the online evaluation process established by National Science Week using information collected from feedback forms at the event.


A free online webinar will be held on Tuesday 27 March 2018, with tips for completing your grant application. Please register your interest via email. A recording of the webinar will also be available following the session.

How to apply

Applications are made via the online form and close at 5pm Tuesday 10 April. Please send an email if you have any questions.

Apollo astronaut Charlie Duke and NASA Flight Director Gerry Griffin touring in May

A live Q & A with Apollo 16 astronaut and Moon walker Charlie Duke and NASA Mission Control Flight Director Gerry Griffin along with the epic film screening of MISSION CONTROL: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo.

Charlie Duke was an aeronautical scientist and US Air Force test pilot before joining NASA as an astronaut in 1966. He served as backup crew for Apollo 10, 13 and 17 and landed on the Moon with John Young on the Apollo 16 mission. He was also the CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for the Apollo 11 lunar landing, and his words of relief after the landing are famous: “Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!”

Gerry Griffin was an US Air Force pilot and aeronautical engineer before joining NASA during the Gemini program. As a Flight Director for Apollo, his “Gold” team were at the consoles for three of the six lunar landings, and they played a key role in the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew.

The show will also feature a special tribute to the Commander of Apollo 17, Captain Gene Cernan – The Last Man on the Moon.

The show is hosted by acclaimed Australian astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith.

Tour dates

Melbourne (Astor Theatre): Wednesday 2 May @ 7:30pm
Canberra (Llewellyn Hall): Saturday 5 May @ 7:30pm
Sydney (Event Cinema): Monday 7 May @ 7:30pm
Brisbane (City Hall): Thursday 10 May @ 7:30pm
Perth (Concert Hall): Sunday 13 May @ 7:30pm

Tickets are available via Live on Stage Australia.

Host a Day of STEM event

Day of STEM

Host a Day of STEM at your school for National Science Week. Combine Day of STEM online programs with in-class activities to inspire students about future STEM careers and skills.

Programs include:

  • STEM Cup
  • Australia 2020
  • Women in STEM
  • Optus Cyber Security Challenge

Suitable for Years 7-12 and you will need to set aside about an hour. The program is free of charge.

See Day of STEM for detailed program information and classroom activity ideas.

School Grants and Poster for 2018

2018 National Science Week poster

The school theme for this year is Game Changers and Change Makers, reflecting on the significant people and moments that shifted our knowledge and our thinking.

In developing the theme and the teaching resource book we took inspiration from three significant celebrations in 2018:

  • 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (genetic engineering, biotechnologies, prosthetics, bionics, genetic modification, brain enhancement and ethics);
  • 40th anniversary of the birth of the first IVF baby (genetic engineering, biotechnology, nanotechnology);
  • International Year of the Reef (coral reefs and the scientists who study them.

School grants

The school grant round for National Science Week 2018 is now open for applications.

All Australian schools, from preschool to senior secondary are welcome to apply for up to $500, but your school’s event will have to be held in National Science Week to be eligible.

Your event should focus on the impact science, engineering, technology and mathematics has on our lives, our economy, our society and our world.

There is a total grant pool of $114,000 provided by the Australian Government and the grant round is administered by the Australian Science Teachers Association.

Applications are open through until 23 April via the online form. Be sure to read the conditions of the grant and the tips and hints before applying.

Game Changers and Change Makers Poster

The school poster for Game Changers and Change Makers is now available for download (590 kB, PDF) to print and display in your classroom.

Note that there will not be a printed poster mailout to schools this year, instead the school grant pool has been increased by $24,000.

2018 National Grant Recipients

Congratulations to all of the successful applicants for National Science Week grants that were announced by Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Senator the Hon Zed Seselja today.

The projects are listed below in order of the state or territory where the lead applicant is located.

Australian Capital Territory

A New View of Life – Celebrating the end of Kepler and Cassini
Mount Stromlo Observatory, Australian National University

NASA scientists are headed to Australia, bringing Saturn to Sydney, new planets to Perth, and more.

What did we learn from the Cassini spacecraft’s 13 years with Saturn? How did it feel to watch Cassini’s ‘death dive’ into Saturn’s atmosphere last year? What makes the moon Titan ‘Earth-like’? How did scientists discover active, icy plumes on the moon Enceladus?

What have we learnt from the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope? How will the information beamed back to Earth continue to advance science once Kepler runs out of fuel this year? Audiences will hear from NASA scientists from the Cassini and Kepler missions at a series of events hosted by Mt Stromlo Observatory astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker.

With the announcement of Australia’s very own space agency, it’s a timely look at the international context of our contribution to furthering humanity’s understanding of the Universe.

Project/event location(s): National

Greenlight for Girls Day
Girl Guides Association NSW ACT Region

160 girls aged 10 to 16 from the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding area will get together with more than 40 science sector role models for fun demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and even a bit of personalised lab-coat decorating.

Greenlight for Girls (g4g) is an international initiative to inspire girls to pursue their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The girls who take part in the g4g workshops will do activities that demonstrate the links between science and everyday life. In the process, they’ll meet fellow science-enthusiasts their own age from different schools and backgrounds, build their confidence, and hear stories from women in science role models.

Project/event location(s): ACT

Southern Skies
Michael Sollis (The Griffyn Ensemble)

Explore Australia’s night skies through music, astronomy and Indigenous science.

Musical sextet The Griffyn Ensemble and astronomer Dr Fred Watson have collaborated to create Southern Sky—a musical composition that explores the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations, and the history of astronomy in Australia. The Griffyn Ensemble will travel to regional communities including Tennant Creek to conduct collaborative workshops with Indigenous artists and communities, exploring Indigenous astronomy. These workshops will inform the development of the work, with subsequent performances in capital cities. These performances will bring together Western and Indigenous understandings of the night sky, told through music and the spoken word.

Project/event location(s): ACT, NSW, NT, WA

New South Wales

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern
Macquarie University

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is our native flora used in bush medicine? What can we learn about sustainable living from 60 000+ years of Indigenous culture?

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and Indigenous youth and Elder achievements. Part of the Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week, the four-day event at the Redfern Community Centre will demonstrate the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in science and technology, and the relevance of science to our everyday lives.

Coordinated by the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) and located at the Redfern Community Centre, this event will provide three days for local primary school students and a Family Science Fun Day, open to the general public.

Project/event location(s): NSW

Riverina Science Festival 2018
Wagga Wagga City Council

Chemistry in the kitchen, Indigenous science and ‘The Robot Zoo’ are just some of the activities planned across Wagga Wagga for the week-long Riverina Science Festival.

The Robot Zoo will feature robotics, drones, 3D printing, presentations, films, and even a ‘Robot Petting Zoo’. The National Indigenous Science Education community program (NISEP) will be facilitated by the Riverina Science Hub partners and local Indigenous Elders, sharing both modern chemistry and ancient Indigenous science and technology. Kitchen Science engages pre-schoolers, with experiments using easily sourced household items. The Citizen Science Biodiversity Blitz gets community members to explore and identify the wildlife of the Murrumbidya Wetlands. And CLOSER, the microscopic event, provides community access to a range of electro-microscopes and a quality large-scale microscope.

Project/event location(s): NSW

The Living Laboratory
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

‘See like a bee’ with UV, dissect a flower, go on a wildlife walk, and ask experts about the secrets of seeds or the skills of scientific illustration. These are some of the highlights of Living Laboratory—a free, outdoor family and community event at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney celebrating science and providing a range of diverse and hands-on science activities for all ages.

Living Laboratory will showcase the environmental sciences and open up the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s facilities to the general public, with guest activities and presentations from university, community and science sector partners.

Project/event location(s): NSW

The Innovation Games
Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Can you kick the physics out of a footy? How fast can you run in a sprint test? How far can you throw a spear? Or a boomerang?

The Innovation Games is a free family fun day full of sporting, science and technology action at the town centre of Sydney Olympic Park.

Activities include drone simulations, virtual reality gaming, BYO-device augmented reality challenges, Australian wildlife shows, sports and fitness challenges, wellbeing talks, participatory art, chemistry shows, research presentations, films, live to screen interviews, and social media live streaming throughout the day. The event will feature a science showcase at the GWS Giants vs Sydney Swans AFL Game at Spotless Stadium.

Project/event location(s): NSW

Practically Virtual
Museum of Human Disease, University of New South Wales

Practically Virtual showcases how virtual reality is helping scientists, lecturers and teachers in universities and research organisations—from cell biology to mining engineering and from biomedical research to data visualisation. This week-long expo event also invites the broader public to join in.

Virtual reality allows scientists to ‘walk’ through the landscape of the human body and look up-close at cancer cells or race down the aorta alongside red blood cells towards the site of a stroke.

Virtual reality is assisting the ongoing research from (amongst others) UNSW’s Medicine, Science, Engineering and Art and Design faculties, as well as research organisations such as the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The main Practically Virtual expo will be at the UNSW Biomedical Precinct on the Kensington Campus in Sydney. Staff from the Museum of Human Disease will also take a mobile version on a regional roadshow during National Science Week and beyond.

Project/event location(s): NSW

Pocket Astronomy in Pocket-sized Towns
Macquarie University

A planetarium, a solar telescope, and a bunch of students and staff from the Department of Physics and Astronomy will hit the road in NSW, bringing astronomy and broader science to four towns in four days.

Locals will have the opportunity to visit the planetarium, try the solar telescope, and hear a talk about Australian astronomy and the value of dark skies. Each town will also receive the gift of a telescope to keep, and training for the locals on how to use it.

People will also be invited to get involved in Macquarie University’s citizen science project exploring light pollution, run in collaboration with the Warrumbungle National Park, Australia’s first ‘Dark Sky Park’. This will contribute to ongoing research into light pollution levels and impacts in urban and rural NSW.

Project/event location(s): NSW

A Night of Illusions
Kimbra Ransley

Ask scientists why some static images appear to move and twist before your eyes? Or why you can trick your senses into feeling your body change size and shape? What is the science of how we perceive reality and how can science help to reveal what is real and what is not? Ask the experts.

Leading cognitive- and neuro-scientists will host an interactive event where attendees can experience first-hand an exciting variety of perceptual illusions that reveal gaps in the way we perceive reality. Participants will try out a range of cognitive and body illusions and chat with experts about what their experience reveals about the ways that our brains make sense of the world. The project builds on the success of previous ‘Night of Illusions’ events in Sydney, and takes it on the road to a regional audience.

Project/event location(s): NSW

Northern Territory

HealthLAB Goes Remote – Darwin to the Gulf of Carpentaria
Menzies School of Health Research

How good is your health? And how do your lifestyle choices affect the health of your body now, in the future and for the future generations of your family? HealthLAB is a health education clinic on wheels—offering an interactive science education experience that helps people answer these questions. Participants assess their own health in a ‘pop-up’ laboratory, learn about healthy lifestyle choices, and find out about careers in health science-related fields.

During National Science Week 2018, HealthLAB will travel from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands, and across to Nhulunbuy and the East Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala. HealthLAB will be staffed by a range of scientists and health professionals who will educate participants on the science behind the inner workings of their bodies, ways to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and career pathways in science.

Project/event location(s): NT

desertSMART EcoFair
Arid Lands Environment Centre

Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, women in science, science and sustainability on the big screen, and a host of other activities and guests will descend on Alice Springs for the desertSMART EcoFair, Central Australia’s premier science and sustainability event.

In 2018, the desertSMART EcoFair will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary, having connected thousands of locals and tourists with science and sustainability through the event.

Highlights for 2018 include Costa getting dirty with green science in the garden, a BushWok Cookoff with local produce and bushfoods, documentary screenings from the Transitions Film Festival, and the Eco-Science Schools Day for local students.

The program also includes keynote science communicators, desert scientists, renewable energy professionals and health experts in a series of community events.

Project/event location(s): NT

A season of visual theatre based on the MAGNT’s megafauna collection
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

This National Science Week, the Miocene is back on the scene. Back from the dead and ‘live’: Northern Territory’s ancient megafauna including marsupial lions and tigers, mega-crocs and Dromornis, the biggest bird that ever lived!

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) fossil collection and local stories provide the source material for a show that brings Central Australia’s extinct megafauna to life. MAGNT will work with Barking Spider Visual Theatre to produce a live performance incorporating local stories and voices. A season of public performances and hands-on arts-science workshops will take place at MAGNT in Darwin during National Science Week 2018.

Project/event location(s): NT


Fiftysix National Science Week Regional Queensland Tour
Fifty Six Creations

Tweens and teens will get to team up with 18-year-old innovator and 2014 Australian Young Innovator of the Year Taj Pabari, who went from suspended schoolboy to educational entrepreneur.

Seven to 17-year-old children will have the opportunity to take part in science, technology and innovation workshops, exploring the world of entrepreneurship through modern day technologies including drone technology and tablet computers.

The workshop tour will visit Mount Isa, Bedourie, Boulia, Cloncurry, Birdsville and Longreach, and is run by Fiftysix Creations, a social enterprise founded by Taj Pabari, who is also its CEO.

Project/event location(s): QLD

Corals in the Outback – Sustainability Tour
CoralWatch, University of Queensland

Coral reef science, a Netflix documentary, and virtual reality experiences will bring Queensland’s coast inland.

Reefs are in trouble worldwide, and the Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral cover since 1985. People living away from the coast are often unaware of both the magnitude of this problem and what they can do to help save reefs from afar.

CoralWatch, a global citizen science program based at The University of Queensland, will engage with communities between Mt Isa and Longreach presenting the latest reef science, creating reef awareness and provide suggestions on how they can help through presentations, displays and screenings of the Netflix documentary Chasing Coral, from the makers of the Emmy Award-winning Chasing Ice. Virtual reality will provide a realistic reef experience, connecting participants with the reef.

Project/event location(s): QLD

City Libraries Science Spectacular
Gold Coast City Council

Meet scientists, do science and play with new technologies—all at your local library.

Science Spectacular will be a week-long program of free, hands-on science, engineering and technology workshops and events, held across City of Gold Coast Libraries during National Science Week. Science Spectacular will provide opportunities for the wider Gold Coast community to engage in interactive science and technology workshops, experience emerging technologies, and learn about cutting-edge scientific research. Science Spectacular programs will engage the community with guest speakers and science educators through a combination of exhibitions, workshops, presentations, and immersive activities. It will culminate with a special Luminary Lecture at the Library evening event featuring a high-profile scientist.

Project/event location(s): QLD

Brisbane’s Street Science Festival
Steven Liddell (Street Science)

Smoke cannons, liquid nitrogen, flame tests, explosions, and cool chemistry experiments are headed for Brisbane central.

Brisbane’s Street Science Festival will bring science to life using a range of interactive activities, guest presentations, and captivating science demonstrations to show the relevance of science in everyday life.

Engaging and interactive hands-on activities are designed to spark and encourage interest in the sciences. Through partnerships with universities, research organisations and science institutes, this festival will allow audiences of all ages to engage with science and scientists.

Project/event location(s): QLD

Showcasing Science: Celebrating National Science Week
Noosa Shire Council

Through the Showcasing Science program, Noosa Library Service will encourage the community to engage and participate in science through a variety of fun, practical and interactive STEM-related events held during National Science Week 2018. Partnering with local industry professionals, this program enables people of all ages to explore science through experiences, using new and emerging technologies such as robotics and 3D printers. The program will also spark community-wide interest in the sciences through scientific storytelling sessions and sensory science activities.

Project/event location(s): QLD

Parasite Paradise at the Art Gallery of Ballarat
Australian Society for Parasitology

What role do parasites play in human health? Find out through the research of parasitologists, and the digital art and animation of the work Gula Guri mayin (which means ‘heal the body’) by Indigenous artist Bernard Lee Singleton. This event involves science-art workshops bringing together scientists, artists and the public to explore the science of parasites and its relation to human health. The program also includes the ‘Parasite Paradise’ interactive display with microscopes and other activities, a Café Scientifique event with science talks over drinks, and a science-art movie making workshop.

Project/event location(s): VIC

South Australia

SCINEMA International Science Film Festival Community Program
The Royal Institution of Australia

SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2018 showcases a selection of science features, shorts, documentaries, animated and experimental films from filmmakers around the world.

In early 2018, the hunt for the best science on screen begins, with filmmakers submitting their films. After a judging process in autumn, the selection of finalists premieres in major cities across Australia.

SCINEMA culminates in a Community Screening Program during National Science Week, where schools, councils and community groups anywhere—from a school gym in Geraldton to a library in Lismore—can register to host their own free screening of a curated SCINEMA film playlist.

Project/event location(s): National

Frontiers of Science
State Library of South Australia

Frontiers of Science: a suite of science and technology themed activities and events at the State Library of South Australia. Find out about the science between the scenes that the State Library uses to preserve history.

Meet some of today’s innovators, futurists and young faces of science. Meet the game changers and game makers of the past through the ‘time capsule’ of State Library heritage collections and stories.

Project/event location(s): SA

Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project (SCOOP)
Muhammad Akbar Hussain

An observatory on wheels will head to regional South Australia, and Northern Territory in August 2018.

Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project is a mobile astronomical observatory taking science engagement to regional communities. This mobile observatory is designed to travel far and wide, and is equipped with computerised telescopes for solar viewing and night time astronomy.

Project/event location(s): SA, NT

In the shadows of our prehistoric past
Michael Mills (Heaps Good Productions)

Palaeontology meets music and theatre in a series of performances in key locations in regional and metro Australia, exploring their history through the arts and sciences.

The people of Winton walk in the shadows of the dinosaurs that lived there millions of years ago. Those in Parachilna, the Flinders Ranges, step amongst the slime-prints of the first large animals found on Earth, the Ediacarans. And what we now know as Coober Pedy was once the prehistoric Eromanga Sea.

In the shadows of our prehistoric past is a storytelling experience that travels to the locations where the prehistoric stories have been revealed and reveals the science.

Project/event location(s): QLD, SA

Kids Navigate Neuroscience
Dr Lyndsey Collins-Praino, University of Adelaide

Why does food not taste good when we have a cold? How do neurons communicate? What does the brain look like up close? Come meet your brain and find out.

In this fun and interactive children’s event, held in the Adelaide Medical School at the University of Adelaide, kids (aged 6 to 11) will explore how the brain and nervous system work in a fun and hands-on way by participating in a series of interactive neuroscience exhibits created by faculty and students at the University of Adelaide.

Examine how information moves between neurons by playing a game of Synaptic Ping Pong, build layers (meninges) around an egg to see what types of protection are best for the brain, explore how optical illusions work, look at human brains up close, and more. At each station, children can collect a stamp in their ‘Passport to the Brain’, and work towards earning an official ‘Brain in Training’ certificate.

This year, in addition to the main event, there will be the ‘Neuroscience Nexus’, where people of all ages can come and discover fun and interactive neuroscience booths.

Project/event location(s): SA


Margo Adler

A forensic science murder mystery, fun and informative talks, live music, food, an underground Antarctic bar, and 100 roving scientists to chat with over a drink. It’s all part of BeakerStreet@TMAG, a pop-up science bar and a stunning two-night festival for adults at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

People can pop in for presentations by world-leading researchers, intimate talks and hands-on scientific workshops, see taxidermied animals and scientific curios, and see the science photography competition and exhibition. Last year’s inaugural event saw 5000 visitors enjoying science topics from the world’s tallest flowering plants and jelly fish ‘beauty and the beast’, to the science of sex, genes and rock ‘n’ roll.

Project/event location(s): TAS

Young Tassie Scientists – Local Scientists Across Our Island
University of Tasmania

A geologist who blasts rocks with lasers, a brainy researcher studying our super senses, Tasmania’s own BugGirl, and an Antarctic expeditioner with a passion for Pokémon.

These are just a few of our Young Tassie Scientists—early career researchers who become the state’s ambassadors for National Science Week. New recruits go through science communication bootcamp, then go out to share their science stories through hands-on presentations at one hundred schools and events around Tasmania, from Swansea to Strahan, and Franklin to Flinders Island.

Project/event location(s): TAS

TastroFest – Tasmania’s Astronomy Festival
Central Coast Council

TastroFest—Tasmania’s Astronomy Festival—kicks off National Science Week in the Apple Isle with Planetarium shows, Aboriginal Astronomy, telescope workshops, the latest Hubble images, live feeds from the international space station, droid building displays, 3D printing displays, aurora photography, astrophotography workshops, guest lectures, beginners astronomy, rocket building classes, aerodynamic wind tunnel demonstrations, a photographic art gallery, live science demonstrations, a simulated space shuttle launch, and engineering displays.

Tasmania is the only state with regular auroras and has some of the clearest skies in the world, making it a hot spot for the art and science of the night sky. TastroFest is held over three days in Ulverstone.

Project/event location(s): TAS

Science Open Season
Launceston City Council

Spiders, science shows, Nights at the Museum, and a live feed from NASA are among the highlights of the seven days of Science Open Season at Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery.

The program includes a Saturday expo-style Big Day of Science, showcasing everyday science taking place in the region; Sunday Science with a focus on spiders and activities for nature lovers; a Night at the Museum for adults, and another for young families; a schools’ program; public lectures; ‘PODS’ (Professionals Out Demonstrating Science); and even the Crazy Scientist and his science shows.

Project/event location(s): TAS


Immersive Science II: Revealing the Invisible Universe
Swinburne University of Technology

From the outer reaches of the cosmos to the tiny world of the microcosmos, how can you see the science that’s invisible to the naked eye? Science communicators and researchers Associate Professor Alan Duffy and Dr Rebecca Allen will host Immersive Science II, guiding audiences through the Universe and the ripples in the fabric of spacetime, and exploring the nano- and microscopic realms—all with the help of immersive virtual reality technology. Alan and Rebecca will answer questions from the audience and those submitted via social media. There is a day-time event for families at the State Library, an evening event for adults at the Mountain Goat Brewery, and regional viewing parties and online video streaming.

Project/event location(s): National

Magnificent Microscopy: Life under a Lens
University High School

Magnificent Microscopy: Life under a Lens reveals how powerful microscopes help explore cancer cures, infectious diseases, how DNA works, neuroscience, genetically modified crops, and even climate change.

This event—held in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical research precinct—offers people the chance to meet scientists working on research addressing important global challenges. Participants bring their own samples to view and photograph using research-grade microscopes. Images can be entered into the Gene Technology Access Centre’s Magnificent Microscopy competition, with prizes to be won.

Project/event location(s): VIC

Presenting My Local Weather
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Calling all weather cadets!

The Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society (AMOS) is launching a national video competition for primary and secondary students. What’s the weather and climate like around you, and why does it change? AMOS invites school-aged children to explore their local weather and climate, and present it to camera.

We will provide the expert advice of a working TV weather presenter via an online video. They will guide you on how to create weather segments, including where and how to get weather information, and tips on screen presentation, shooting on location, and using props. Competition participants film and enter their own two-minute video. The winning entries in each state and territory will win some awesome prizes.

The competition website includes resource kits giving everyone an insight into weather prediction and presentation, and tools for understanding our changing climate.

Project/event location(s): National

Koori Youth Communicate Science to the Community
Discovery Science & Technology Centre, Bendigo

The Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative Youth Group and the Discovery Science and Technology Centre are joining forces to strengthen links between science and the local community, including Indigenous youth. This project will train Koori youth in science communication and presenting so that they can engage with science, grow their confidence, and potentially present workshops exploring electricity, gravity, and forces to their peers and the local Aboriginal community.

Project/event location(s): VIC

Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts
Swinburne University of Technology

Care for a spot of frog calling, water bug identification, bird watching, or koala spotting? The Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts event at the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead Reserve in Somers, will be the focus of free science activities on the Mornington Peninsula catering for all ages. PrimeSCI!, along with universities, state and local organisations and volunteer groups, will host a day of science presentations, science displays and hands-on activities, wildlife monitoring, and education on sustainable practices in the unique wetland environments of the Coolart Reserve. Ian Temby, author of Wild Neighbours, will be a key speaker. The event will promote the National Science Week school theme of ‘Game Changers and Change Makers’.

Project/event location(s): VIC

Rossum’s Universal Robots: From Science Fiction to Reality
St Vincent’s Hospital

The 1920s science fiction play Rossum’s Universal Robots by Karel Čapek introduced the word ‘robot’ to the English language. It was set in a factory-lab that fabricates flesh and blood artificial people from a special gel-like substance.

This production brings Čapek’s play and its ‘robots’ to life in a real science laboratory. The BioFab3D laboratory, based at St Vincent’s Hospital, literally builds body parts using living cells. This convergence of science fiction and real scientific research captures the imagination and makes this play relevant nearly a century after its premiere.

Project/event location(s): VIC

Textual Data Sonification and Algorithmic Composition Competition
RMIT University

The letters A, B, C and D can be arranged to form words. They can also represent music notes. And they’re also a type of data.

The Textual Data Sonification and Algorithmic Composition Competition challenges participants to write computer programs that translate text into data, allocate data to specific sounds in the form of music notes (‘data sonification’), and then turn those notes into sheet music. The ultimate aim is to create a computer program that can use any text to generate acapella vocal scores for soprano, alto, tenor and bass singers.

The competition will culminate with a vocal performance at RMIT University during National Science Week where winning and shortlisted entries will be demonstrated using text data provided by the audience, and performed by singers with excellent sight reading skills.

Project/event location(s): VIC

BrainPark: Revealing a new approach to addiction and OCD
Monash University

Come inside BrainPark, the world’s first research facility to offer lifestyle and technology-based interventions for addictive and compulsive behaviours. At BrainPark, we will use science, technology, lifestyle and art to harness the power of brain plasticity. People with addictions or compulsions are immersed in a positive, interactive and evidence-based environment to help them conquer their compulsions and establish healthy habits for life.

Visitors will receive an exclusive behind the scenes tour of virtual reality, physical exercise, cognitive training, meditation, and non-invasive brain stimulation activities, and experience how the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences is working to bring transformational changes to how addictions and compulsions are experienced, diagnosed and treated.

Project/event location(s): VIC

Creating our World – DIY Appropriate Technology Workshops
Engineers Without Borders Australia

Careers in engineering and science can give people the skills to make a difference in the world. The ‘EWB Humanitarian Engineering Outreach Workshops’ show you how through a series of interactive workshops.

Students and professional engineers from Engineers Without Borders Australia will run workshops exploring the science and engineering involved in energy, water and sanitation hygiene, and housing construction. Workshops are tailored for family or young adult audiences, and will be held in major metro and regional locations around Australia.

Project/event location(s): QLD, SA, WA

Western Australia

Goodness: Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival

See a MRI in action, visit the region’s secret science spaces, go on a biodiversity tour, join in at a women in science breakfast, explore the Universe through astro-photography, hear from a high-profile celebrity guest, and more at the Goodness Festival. The Goodness: Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival is mid-West WA’s premier annual science and environment festival, held across nine days in Greater Geraldton.

Project/event location(s): WA

A Celebration of Science – Community Expo
Australian Association for Environmental Education (WA Chapter)

How have local, national and global advances in science changed our understanding of the world around us—and made an impact on it?

‘A Celebration of Science’ is the 10th anniversary of the Community Expo, held on the banks of Canning River in Perth. This year’s event will highlight the achievements of scientists and change makers throughout history to our modern era across a range of science disciplines with more than 40 different activities, including interactive displays, hands-on demonstrations, presentations and an open speakers forum.

Project/event location(s): WA

The Innovators’ Tea Party
The Innovators’ Tea Party

The Innovators’ Tea Party links successful women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with high school students in engaging speed-networking events. The events are once-off mentoring opportunities that connect passionate and diverse women working in STEM with high-school students looking for more information about career opportunities, career pathways and positive STEM role models.

Any individual student in years 10 to 12 can register to attend one of eight free speed-networking events held on Saturday 11th or Saturday 18th August.

Project/event location(s): WA

8 Cool Ways Science Benefits Rural Communities
Ngalang Boodja Council

Discussions and interactive events in Collie, WA, will profile eight ways that science benefits rural communities—from mine rehabilitation to improving agricultural productivity. This will include exploring how our first peoples have contributed to modern science, and will involve people from research, industry, business, and government.

Each event will explore the historical and scientific contributions to the topic in focus, and the career and business opportunities that relate to each area. The eight topics are Water, Forestry, Land Rehabilitation, Agriculture, Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Arts, and Technology.

A video created from the events will share the insights with other rural communities.

Project/event location(s): WA

Minibeasts in MyCity
Western Australian Museum

Is that a friendly bee in your garden, pollinating your fruit tree? Can you tell if that’s a cicada singing or is it something else?

Minibeasts in MyCity is a new Perth science project that will deputise local citizens to join the effort to map biodiversity, help protect our food and environment, and contribute to better designed cities the world over. People can spot and report invertebrates using the MyPestGuide™ Reporter app in a campaign which is focused on biodiversity and urban ecology. People can report minibeasts in their suburbs or at special sites and activities in the City of Perth, where that information will help the city develop its biodiversity framework.

The initiative also allows people to hear from local expert entomologists and Aboriginal people, and includes public talks and displays on biodiversity, taxonomy, urban design, community gardening, and ‘junior curator’ workshops. Minibeasts in MyCity is being coordinated by the Western Australian Museum, the City of Perth, Murdoch University and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Project/event location(s): WA

Big Day Out 2018 – Scitech Visit
Leading Youth Forward

Leading Youth Forward (LYF) is joining forces with Scitech to bring science and technology to one of LYF’s flagship Big Day Out events in 2018. The aim is to provide science-themed fun, inspiration, and career advice to teens from disadvantaged and lower socio-economic backgrounds. These young people typically have limited access to quality education, and exhibit low school attendance and engagement. LYF teens are in school years eight to 10, a time when choosing elective subjects. A Big Day Out at Scitech ‘plants the seeds’ of scientific curiosity, potentially triggering the uptake of science-related subjects.

Project/event location(s): WA

Change makers: Climate science and adaptation
City of Gosnells

Sustainability science gets practical. Change Makers engages people in Perth with the science of Australia’s serious environmental challenges and how they can get involved with the solutions. It’s a series of 20 free informative and empowering community workshops and presentations.

Proposed workshops and presentations include verge gardening and urban agriculture with high-profile gardeners, water-wise and future-proof gardening, residential renewable energy now and in the future, food sustainability and security, and a climate science seminar.

The events will be held in libraries, cafes, community gardens and other venues across Perth, and delivered by Switch your thinking.

Project/event location(s): WA

Wandjina – Sounds of the Universe past and future
Gravity Discovery Centre

The science of gravity and cosmology will be explored through film, live music and Indigenous storytelling at the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory in Gingin, WA.

The film genre of science fiction will be used to explore and communicate the frontiers of science and technology, providing entertainment, information and raising questions; encouraging thinking about space sciences, including a focus on Aboriginal Astronomy. Participants will be transported into a space or sci-fi scene or a dreamtime story for an immersive science experience.

Project/event location(s): WA

Grant round for 2018 now open

National Science Week grants now open

Applications are now open for grants of up to $20 000 to support events in National Science Week 2018.

Grants are available for individuals, community groups, universities, research institutions and other organisations to hold events for the public to participate in science across the country.

Science Week grants help to provide nationwide science engagement activities through:

  • providing funding to eligible and meritorious high profile projects across all states and territories;
  • supporting projects that stimulate and leverage further contributions by organisations across Australia;
  • supporting projects which target new and under-served audiences; and
  • engaging Indigenous Australians in National Science Week activities.

Applications close at 5.00 pm AEDT (Canberra time), Thursday 12 October 2017.

More information, grant guidelines and online applications via AusIndustry. Be sure to read our tips and hints about applying for a grant.

It’s a Wrap


Well, that’s it – another National Science Week done and what a huge festival it has been.

We’re still collecting the stats from the week, but with over 2100 events, competitions and online activities uploaded onto the event calendar, it has definitely been the busiest National Science Week to date.

Here in the national Inspiring Australia office, we’re definitely looking forward to a comfy sleep in tomorrow – but before that, we really want to acknowledge some important people and organisations without whom National Science Week would not be what it is.

First, acknowledgement is due for the National Science Week partners and sponsors:

  • The Australian Science Teachers Association, who have been instrumental in providing material and support to teachers across Australia to get their students and school communities involved in National Science Week;
  • The CSIRO, who not only ran a number of events and outreach programmes during August, but also have hosted our website this year;
  • Media sponsors Discovery Science, COSMOS, NewScientist, and Popular Science, whose support have been instrumental in spreading the word; and
  • the ABC, who not only ran this year’s citizen science project (Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey), but also ran an organisation wide focus on science for the month of August.

Secondly, a big thank you goes to each of the state and territory organising committees and Inspiring Australia state/territory-based managers. Each volunteer committee is responsible for compiling a successful state/territory wide festival, and it is no small effort. They do this through running local grant rounds, organising launch events and festivals, inviting interesting international speakers, and building the general excitement in local organisations, institutes and communities in the lead-up to August.

And finally, National Science Week has always represented a massive effort of thousands of volunteers getting involved and making an amazing national festival. The festival is a peak in STEM engagement activity across the year and would not be possible without this substantial grassroots dedication. Thank you.

Thank you all again for your support and tireless dedication to making 2017 the biggest National Science Week. Right – I’m off to bed.

STEM Superheroes

Last year, our Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkle, challenged Australians to name just five living Australian scientists using the twitter hashtag #5ScientistPledge. From this list, the #AusScienceHeroes were born.

Following on this year, a number of academic, research and other organisations have shared the profiles of some of their scientists on social media during National Science Week.

Below are a few of the organisations that got into the spirit of National Science Week and showed off some of their STEM talent.

Agriculture Victoria(@agriculturevictoria) have been posting a ‘Meet our science stars’ series over the week.
Science at ANU(@ScienceANU) ran a number of live video streams with scientists and science communicators, and even a post specifically celebrating their ‘heros of medicine’ – ANU medical school teachers who save lives between lectures.
Australian Academy of Science(@AustralianAcademyofScience) looked back on and recognised the work of six early female Fellows of the Academy.
CSIRO(@CSIROnews) promoted their Faces of CSIRO page that introduces their scientists and gives them a chance to explain why they are passionate about their work.
Australia’s Chief Scientist(@chiefscientist) highlighted their ongoing work to shine a light on the #AusScienceHeros.
Robinson Research Institute(@RobsInstitute) profiled a number of their early- and mid-career academic staff with videos and stories.
Telethon Kids Institute(@TelethonKids) profiled a number of their staff highlighting the work that happens outside of the lab.

This list is by no means complete – but a good way to get a sense for what it means to be a scientist in Australia.

Can you name five living Australian scientists?