Inspiring NSW

Call for citizen scientists to track Humpbacks, the truth behind sci-fi films revealed, Nobel Laureate Dr Brian Schmidt at Border Stargaze and more.

NSW winners amongst 63 Unlocking Australia’s Potential science communication grants announced today by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

Call for citizen scientists to track Humpbacks

The Marine Ecology Research Centre at Northern NSW’s Southern Cross University has received an Inspiring Australia grant of $42,970 for a program where “citizen scientists” along Australia’s East Coast collect data on a centralised website. Members of the public and tour operators, from Queensland to Tasmania, will contribute humpback whale tail fluke photographs and receive feedback and information by email. These photographs are an untapped source of useable scientific data, as there is currently no system for collection and analysis of the photos.

Media contact: Brigid Veale, brigid.veale@scu.edu.au, 61 (439) 680748 / 02 6659 3006

Indigenous elders and young people teaching science

The Indigenous Science Education Program based at Macquarie University has had great success in bringing science to rural and regional communities in NSW. With a grant of $350,000 from Inspiring Australia, its expansion to the National Indigenous Science Education Program will engage indigenous youth and Elders nationally as science communicators. NISEP will showcase scientific cultural knowledge and everyday science, as well as ‘big science’ topics such as climate change, food security and renewable energy. The Indigenous youth and Elders will become role models and mentors for their peers and their community.

Media contact: Associate Professor Joanne Jamie – joanne.jamie@mq.edu.au – 02 9850 8283

The truth behind sci-fi films revealed

Fact or Fiction is an entertaining series of cinema-style events to be produced by the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation in Sydney in which the science behind sci-fi films is scrutinised by a celebrity host with humour and real science knowledge. In theatres and venues across Australia people will be engaged by the quiz-show atmosphere, Q&A science sessions, audience participation and discussions with ANSTO scientists about their research. With $45,000 support from Inspiring Australia, the Fact or Fiction show will travel to 12 locations.

Media contact: Rod Dowler – rod.dowler@ansto.gov.au – 02 917 3934

New challenge for Newcastle University

The University of Newcastle’s acclaimed Science and Engineering Challenge events have inspired students to study for more than a decade and the dedicated team has gained an Inspiring Australia grant of $450,000 to continue the competition. The ‘Challenge’ events are a practical response to Australia’s skills shortage. Students compete to build working technology over one day and along the way also learn the value of real teamwork. The positive impact these events have upon students is significant. Last year, 22,000 students from 800 schools across Australia joined in.

Media contact: Megan Cunneen, Megan.Cunneen@newcastle.edu.au, 02 4985 4049

Other grant recipients include:

  • The beauty of biology and medicine will be showcased in VIZBI+ which is an innovative visual arts collaboration by three leading medical research institutes: the Garvan, WEHI and CSIRO.
  • Ology is a rock band that performs science demonstrations live on stage! The CSIRO based professional performers will tour Australian capital cities and regional centres.
  • The Ultimo Science Festival is 10 days and nights of serious science fun in inner Sydney that attracts 15,000 people for talks, comedy, lab tours, science foodie nights and sleepovers at Powerhouse Museum.
  • An online National Science Challenge for year nine science students is being devised by the experts at Sydney University.
  • Erth Visual & Physical Inc will tour a live show, Dream of the Thylacine, using animated life-sized custom-made puppets, beautiful projected images and live footage.
  • Culture at Work’s ACCELERATOR: a space where art and science collides will offer a new monthly series of collaborative artist scientist talks for the community in Pyrmont and the City of Sydney. A 3 day Climate Innovate event with artists and scientists will be held at Culture at Work in December 2012.
  • A series of seminars, generating community interest and engagement in marine science will be presented by the University of Sydney and the Marine Education Society of Australia.
  • “Far Out Science, presented by the University of New England, will take hands-on science activities and scientists far out of the city and into the communities of Northern NSW.”
  • Solas, an interactive light and sound installation powered by clean energy will do presentations at community and arts festivals in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
  • The University of New South Wales Medicine’s ‘Dean’s Lecture Series’ will present a panel of highly acclaimed experts debating topical issues in health and science.
  • The University of New South Wales presents on-Country workshops, Sharing Knowledge, in an Indigenous community near Alice Springs, focussing on Indigenous understanding of environmental change.
  • The dLux iStreet Lab is a portable multimedia station which will engage and educate hard-to-reach youth in remote and regional areas about science and technology in a hands-on situation.
  • Nobel Laureate Dr Brian Schmidt  will speak when the Astronomical Society of Albury/Wodonga presents a comprehensive 7-day festival of stars and science called the Border Stargaze and Science Fair.
  • Scienza Viva’s Science Across Generations for parents and primary-schoolers, demonstrates practical and inexpensive means of everyday science education and engagement.
  • University of Wollongong’s Planetarium Outreach presents a regional NSW tour of astronomy science shows using a portable dome theatre and great presenters.

63 projects across Australia are sharing in a total of $5 million awarded across three levels of grant categories, small, medium and large, for projects to be delivered in 2012 and/or 2013 and/or 2014.

The grant program is a key part of the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia initiative, increasing the engagement of Australians in science. Projects have been selected to include people who may not have had much access to science-communication activities.

For a complete list of grant recipients go online to www.scienceinpublic.com.au/inspiringaus.

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