Seed funding from Inspiring Australia gave science communicator Andrew Stephenson his big break in producing live comedy-style panel events and developing a viable business.
Andrew Stephenson is the guy who put comedian Charlie Pickering, radio host and rocker Red Symons, Victoria’s Lead Scientist Leonie Walsh and Prime Minister’s Prize for Science winning statistician Terry Speed together on stage for scientific discussion and laughter at the National Science Quiz event, attracting a paying audience of several hundred people.
The Science Nation is Andrew’s science event start-up, aiming to give science events the feel and informative fun of comedy panel shows like Good News Week or Spicks and Specks.
Local Inspiring Australia grants and networks helped him created events such as Great Debate 2015: My Research Rules (National Science Week 2015), and Spot the Bull S….cience (National Science Week 2016).
Whilst Andrew’s extensive training and experience in science and communication gave him the idea for The Science Nation, Inspiring Australia’s investment has been critical.
“The difference the financial support has made has been immense,” explains Andrew. “Seed funding helps you through the tough times in the beginning, when you’re unknown, the audience numbers are low and you’re trying to build a reputation and a following.”
It also gave Andrew the ability to think national, with events initially only held in his home town of Brisbane, Queensland.
“Seed funding allowed me to expand into other states much sooner than I otherwise night have,” Andrews says.
With a touring model and his reputation for creating popular events firmly established, Andrew is now in the position to create specialist, bespoke content.
“One ARC Centre of Excellence has asked me to create an event series for their nodes,” says Andrew.
My Research Rules Brisbane panel Photo credit: The Science Nation
National Science Quiz panel (L to R) Terry Speed, Red Symons, Tanya Ha, Alan Duffy, quiz master Charlie Pickering, and Leoni Walsh Photo credit: The Science Nation