Local grants for Science Week; Woz in Oz; and insights from Brisbane Science Festival

National Science Week is coming up in August and—hold on to your Apples—the Wizard of Woz is coming to Oz!

Science Week 2016 will have lots of innovation and tech talk, with inventor, innovator and co-founder of Apple Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak touring Australia (dates below), a good complement for the schools theme of ‘Drone, Droids and Robots’.

If you’re organising a Science Week activity and could use some cash, several state and territory Science Week committees are offering grants for local events. Queensland’s grants close this Friday, and others soon after, so now is the time to apply. Read on for details.

Technicians—not just technology—will also be in the spotlight. One great Science Week initiative from the Australian Academy of Science is ‘On the Job’, showing Australians the wide diversity of jobs in the science sector, aside from the principal researchers. Nominate your favourite lab assistants, field technicians and other science support staff. Read on for details.

Researchers, innovators and science teachers can also get their chance at the spotlight through science prizes. The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are now open, with a new $50,000 prize for early career innovators. Nominations close on 28 April. Details below.

And the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are also open, closing 6 May.

In our experience with managing prize programs, many past winners entered only after being encouraged to do so by colleagues and peers. So if you know someone who has made an important contribution to science or science engagement, encourage them to enter.

In this bulletin, we’ve also included links to the science-themed National Press Clubaddresses from last month, which can now be viewed online, and a wrap-up from theCommunicate to Inspire Conference in Perth.

The World Science Festival Brisbane was brilliant! I’ve shared my thoughts on what I learnt about the keys to a good science panel discussion event.

And finally, Sydney’s science networking legend Jackie Randles has shared her science communication thoughts and experience.

Kind regards,
Tanya Ha, Associate, Science in Public
On behalf of InspiringAustralia.net.au

In this newsletter:

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation, and excellence in science teaching are now open.

This year there’s a new prize for early career researchers – the $50,000 Prize for New Innovators.

The other Prizes are:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation
  • Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

Nominations close on 28 April 2016. More information atwww.science.gov.au/community/PrimeMinistersPrizesforScience/Pages/default.aspx

Apple innovator ‘Woz’ for Science Week

Steve Wozniak—the man who helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products the Apple I and II and influenced the popular Macintosh—is heading to Australia this August for National Science Week.

Steve is also a philanthropist, is passionate about education and has given away hundreds of laptops to students.

‘An Evening with Steve Wozniak’, presented by Think Inc. who brought Neil deGrasse Tyson to Australia last year, will give audiences the opportunity to hear about technology, innovation, invention and ethics, from someone who revolutionised modern technology and mainstreamed the digital world.

Australian event dates:

  • Perth – Wed 24 August 2016
  • Brisbane – Fri 26 August 2016
  • Melbourne – Sat 27 August 2016
  • Sydney – Sun 28 August 2016

More information and tickets available from the Think Inc. website

Snap up a state or territory Science Week grant

Community and seed grants are now available from some state and territory National Science Week committees:

  • ACT Science Week seed grants of up to $1,000 are available. Applications close 29 April. Further information is on the Inspiring the ACT website.
  • NT Science Week grants of $500-$3,000 are available from a total pool of $15,000. Applications close on 22 April. Details are on the Science Week website.
  • QLD Science Week grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded as part of this year’s program. Grant information is available online. The QLD committee also invites ideas and applications to hold the state’s Science Week launch event and will award up to $10,000 towards it. More information here. Applications for both grants and the launch event close 15 April.
  • SA Science Week community grants of up to $2,500 are available, as well as one $15,000 grant for a new initiative. Applications close 6 May. Details are  on the Science Week website.
  • Tasmania’s seed grants round (small grants up to $500) for public events are open, with applications closing on 29 April. Information is online at whysci.org.au.
  • The WA Science Week small grants (up to $2,000) and Community Resource Centre micro-grants ($200) are open for applications, closing 5 May. Information is available via the WA section of the Science Week website.

You can also stay in the loop by signing up for the dedicated National Science Week newsletter.

So you think you can science? Search for the top support staff ‘On the Job’

From the Australian Academy of Science

Laboratory and field technicians, support staff, tradespeople, machine operators—whoever you are, we need you!

Australia has made some terrific achievements in science, but it’s almost always the lead scientists who are recognised for this work. The Australian Academy of Science and Australia’s Science Channel (RiAus) understand that our world-class track record would not be possible without the technical and support staff who keep science moving – so we have created a competition just for you.

We’re delighted to bring you ‘On the Job’ — a video series showing a day in the life of seven Australian science support staff. We’re searching for passionate people to be a part of this exciting project, who love their job and the role they play in Australian science.

We’ll spend a day with each of the seven finalists around Australia, to capture and share the great work they do. Then during National Science Week in August, we’ll release the videos and announce the winner of the competition who will win a day with a leading scientist.

Nominations are now open. You can nominate yourself, or your organisation can nominate you (with your approval). Nominations close 1 May 2016.

More information on the Australian Academy of Science website.

Also on the job: Australia’s STEM Workforce


‘On the Job’ will likely illustrate the findings of the newly launchedAustralia’s STEM Workforcereport from Australia’s Chief Scientist.

The report shows that the science sector is a huge employer and that science skills can lead to a surprisingly wide range of careers and work opportunities. More online.

Celebrating science communicators

‘I’d like to thank the Academy…’ Kylie Walker named 2015 ASC hero

From Australian Science Communicators

At the end of the ASC Conference, Professor Joan Leach, President of Australian Science Communicators (ASC), awarded the 2015 Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication to Kylie Walker, Director of Communications and Outreach at the Australian Academy of Science, for her significant contributions to science communication and outreach.

Read the full story on the ASC website.

Nominate an unsung hero of South Australian science communication

Speaking of recognising local science heroes, nominations are now open for the annual Unsung Hero Awards of South Australian Science. The awards recognise achievements in both scientific research and science communication.

If you know someone who fits the bill, nominate them.
More information online.

And don’t forget the Eureka Prizes

The 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are now open.

This year, there are three $10,000 Science Communication Eureka Prizes, sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science:

  • Innovation in Citizen Science (new in 2016, thanks to the Australian Government’sCitizen Science Package)
  • Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research
  • Science Journalism

Entries close 6 May. Encourage the great scientists and science communicators you know to enter.

Communicate to Inspire WA 2016

From Christine Allen, SciTech WA

Communicate to Inspire was held on 23rd March 2016 in Perth with over 100 sci-comm professionals coming together from all over WA to network and learn new skills.

There was a buzz of enthusiasm in the room as keynote speakers Catriona Jackson, CEO of Science Technology Australia, revealed tips to engage politicians with a demanding schedule, and former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence discussed attitudes and behaviour to controversial science matters.

A range of hands-on workshops covered science start-ups and innovation, citizen science, storytelling with data, and more to assist attendees to communicate science effectively in a busy world.

Read the event report
Twitter Storify

World Science Festival Brisbane – view from the inside

From Tanya Ha, Science in Public

Last month, an estimated 120,000 people descended upon free and ticketed events and street science shows in Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct—all for the fun, fascination and food-for-thought offered by science.

The inaugural World Science Festival Brisbane, presented by Queensland Museum, boasted a line-up of over 120 speakers from nine countries, including international stars—including MASH actor Alan Alda, oceanographer and National Geographic explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle, and physicist and World Science Festival co-founder Brian Greene.

Brian even had a newly discovered spider named after him.

Drawing on my environmentalist and science journalism background, I hosted two events:Can we save our precious reefs in time? and Robots: the new eco warriors.

 

Here is a summary of my reflections of what makes a good panel event:

  • A good panel event starts with a good line up
  • Make sure the panel, and especially the moderator, are well briefed
  • An event with a strong story can lead to media stories
  • Capture the audio +/- video
  • Capture the imagination

Read ‘the keys to a good science panel event’ in full online

Science leaders go Press Clubbing

Science took centre stage at the National Press Club in Canberra in March, with three Press Club addresses featuring four leading lights of Australian science and a visiting American actor and science advocate.

All three events can be viewed online—links below.

The Australian Academy of Science worked with the National Press Club to put together a special panel discussion on 30 March with three leading scientists on the issue of women’s participation in science:

Earlier in March, the National Press Club heard addresses from two of science’s favourite Alans:

Young scientists and innovators descend on Canberra

From Ingrid McCarthy, Canberra Innovation Network and Inspiring Australia ACT

The 4th of January 2016 (and again on the 18th) saw 200 eager National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) participants descend on the nation’s capital.

NYSF is a 12-day residential program in January for students going into Year 12, who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The aim of the program is to show the students the wide variety of study and career options in STEM fields. The NYSF program consists of a mix of scientific, formal, personal development, and social activities. These range from laboratory visits to sports evenings and from a swing dance to working on understanding group dynamics.

This year, for the first time, NYSF included a session on Entrepreneurial Thinking. So often, when we think of STEM careers, we picture academic or commercial research. You know, white lab coats and equations on blackboards…

Read more online

Calling all Galaxy Explorers and Weather Detectives to help citizen science research

Are you one of the thousands of volunteers who participate in National Science Week’s citizen science project by ABC Science every year?

If you participated in either Galaxy Explorer or Weather Detective, ANU researchers from the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science need your help with a survey.

Using your information, researchers can help ensure that future citizen science projects are as interesting and relevant as possible.

Do the survey online anytime from now until 22 April, 2016.
www.scienceweek.net.au/research-into-citizen-science

Inspiring Australian newsletters in WA and NSW

The Inspiring Australia networks in WA and NSW share news, events and other interesting information through local newsletters. They’re great sources of ideas and information, even for those who don’t live in these states.

The ScienceNetwork WA newsletter is a weekly roundup of news in science and science engagement in the West. Subscribe via www.sciencewa.net.au/aboutus/subscribe.

The indefatigable Inspiring Australia Manager for NSW, Jackie Randles, also puts together a newsletter for the state. Subscribe by emailing inspiringnsw@sydney.edu.au, with ‘Subscribe’ in the subject of the email.

100s of events, 23 hubs, 3 years, 1 busy manager!

Meet Jackie Randles, Inspiring Australia Manager, NSW

Jackie Randles recently celebrated three very busy years managing Inspiring Australia in NSW. During that time she’s seen Regional Science Hubs take root, grow and bloom all over the state, from the Northern Rivers to the Murray. Their engagement activities are as diverse as the land, from Outback Astronomy in the Far West to Indigenous science on the Sapphire Coast. She’s also been involved with the birth of the Sydney Science Festival.

Photo: The ultimate collaborator Jackie Randles (3rd from left), with Geoff Crane from National Science Week
and Catherine Beehag, Dr Rebecca Johnson and Tehmi Sukhla from the Australian Museum.

We asked her to share some of her thoughts and experience:

What is your background?
I have an arts degree with majors in Fine Arts, French and Philosophy. I then studied post-graduate communications and worked as a freelance radio broadcaster for a decade before moving into various communications, campaigns and marketing roles for government agencies and NFPs including St James Ethics Centre.

What Inspiring Australia initiatives are happening in your area? Is there a success story or two that stand out?
Inspiring Australia NSW now has a fantastic network of Regional Science Hubs run by well-connected people that make a great impact on the local communities in which they operate. All kinds of STEM-interested organisations have come together as Science Hubs, and with the support of modest grant funding, work together to create engagement experiences that appeal to the interests of local community members.
The benefit of grassroots advocacy of this kind is that I now have connections into many regional communities.  Funnily enough, Science Hub members tell me that they too have better knowledge and connections in their community through being part of this network.

It’s always surprising that organisations in the same region can deliver similar engagement programs without knowing about each other’s activities or even talking to each other. While this happens all the time in the government and policy space, particularly at the moment when there is so much activity going on around STEM and innovation issues, I was quite shocked to discover that such silos also exist in small regional communities.
Science Hubs are a great way to audit what’s actually happening, what’s missing and where future opportunities might lie. This works for all of us.

In the three years that I’ve been in this role, I’ve been lucky enough to engage hundreds of great people in the Science Hub network. In my view, they are the people best-placed to nurture cultural change at a local level through the creative and interesting STEM engagement programs they deliver. They are also generous, creative and appreciative of being part of a bigger national strategy to inspire more people with science and technology.

Read more online including:

  • What are the science strengths of your state/territory?
  • What is the best thing about your job?
  • What is the most challenging thing/issue you face in your work?
  • How has the landscaped changed over the three years you’ve been in this role?

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