National Science Week grant recipients for 2016

National Office

The successful projects in the 2016 National Science Week grant round were announced this morning by The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Read the Minister’s media release: “Indigenous science, a ‘rock’ musical and pests in the pantry: Science Week celebrates science diversity”.

The projects that will share in $500 000 are:


On the job: behind the scenes in science
Australian Academy of Science

‘On the Job’ will explore and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of different jobs in the science sector across Australia that make important, but sometimes unknown, contributions to our scientific and industrial progress. Laboratory and field technicians working in science around Australia will be invited to grab their smartphones to film and submit audition videos, showing what it’s like to work in the science and technology fields. Seven selected finalists will star in professionally-produced video blogs. These videos will be released online during National Science Week so that everyone can see and share these science stories, and vote for their favourite.

Extraordinary Science with Ordinary Stuff
Dr Graham Walker

How does science help you to use a vacuum cleaner to power a marshmallow bazooka? Dr Graham Walker will present fast-paced science demonstration shows for teens and families, using readily available materials and equipment. This touring show will visit the ACT, Queanbeyan, Kiama, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Cooma and Goulburn.

Identify with Science – ID@CIT
Canberra Institute of Technology

Shoppers in Canberra will learn to spot different clues and find their inner scientist by participating in visually-based identification activities. They will explore personal identification by biometric characteristics—identifying and discovering how unique they are by identifying their own fingerprint patterns with ink and balloons—as well as identifying different diseases and animal identification from camera trap data and scats.

Aboriginal Science in Wiradjuri Country
Larry Brandy Aboriginal Storyteller

Showing how the traditional owners of the land used their knowledge of their environment to survive, Larry Brandy Aboriginal Storyteller will share examples of Aboriginal science in a fun and interactive way. Shows will be performed in early childhood centres, libraries and cultural centres.

SciScouts: Chemistry of Scouting
Scout Association of Australia, ACT Branch

Scouts will do hands-on chemistry activities with the help of experts and trained demonstrators from the ANU School of Chemistry. Joeys, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers will explore chemistry across themes of environment, health, bushcraft, biology, and art and culture.


River Journey
University of New South Wales

River Journey, a travelling exhibition, will bring art and science together to stimulate a national conversation about the importance of rivers and wetlands. Follow a river’s journey from source to sea, experience its vibrancy in photography, video and sound, reflecting incredible biodiversity but also illustrating the enormous management challenges and effects of competition for scarce water resources.

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern
Macquarie University

Explore the knowledge gained by forty thousand years of continued culture and a close relationship with the land, and meet today’s Indigenous experts. This four-day initiative will celebrate Western and Indigenous science and achievements of Indigenous youth and Elders, with interactive science activities on household and environment themes demonstrated by Indigenous youth, and Aboriginal technology and customary practices explored and explained by Indigenous representatives from across Australia. The event will be held at the Redfern Community Centre and will culminate in the Family Science Fun Day.

Gondwana Garden
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

People will meet the dinosaurs and eat the plants at a free, family-friendly event in Sydney’s west, bringing ancient and modern Australian rainforests to life at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. Highlights include behind-the-scenes tours of the PlantBank research facility and seed vault, hands-on activities and experiments, meeting the scientists, native plant tasting, a life-size Australian dinosaur and a virtual Cretaceous creature hunt.

Sapphire Coast Science Festival
Bournda Environmental Education Centre

A science film night with a discussion of fact and fiction on the big screen, robotics and IT workshops, and Science in the Pub are all part of this week-long regional science festival. Events will be held in Bega, Eden, Tathra and Pambula, thanks to this collaborative project led by the Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub.

Riverina Science Week Festival
Wagga Wagga City Library

The Riverina Science Week Festival will offer events for all age groups across a large geographic and digital landscape on the themes of wetlands, food production, acoustics, ‘Neural Knitworks’ activities, the engineering of levee banks and bridges, kitchen science, supermarket botany, Indigenous culture, astronomy, and noxious weed identification.

Over Many Horizons
University of Technology Sydney

Art and science will join forces to visualise and explore the unseen marine depths and understand human impacts on the environment in an interactive and experiential exhibition, presented by UTS Gallery. New media artist and researcher Dr Keith Armstrong will collaborate with marine biologists and life scientists from UTS, exploring climate vulnerability in marine ecologies. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public workshops, talks and education activities produced in collaboration with researchers.


Arid Lands EcoFair – Science and Sustainability in the Desert
Arid Lands Environment Centre

Talk dirty about soil science with Costa, meet the animals with Ranger Stacey, hear from the National Camel Panel, and try some bush tucker and a camel burger: this three-day festival brings science to the fore in Alice Springs. The 2016 program sees the event expand across multiple venues including Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs Community Garden, Earth Sanctuary and Alice Springs Desert Park.

Tiwi to Katherine with HealthLAB
Menzies School of Health Research

HealthLAB is a mobile laboratory that brings health science and scientists to the broader public in communities around the Territory. Visitors will have a hands-on experience with modern technology through self-assessment of their own health. HealthLAB is designed to improve public awareness of the consequences of lifestyle choices on later health and increase public exposure to biomedical sciences and their career opportunities.


Catch a Rising Star: Women in Science in Regional Queensland
The University of Queensland

Where are science and technology’s women role models? And what are their stories? This initiative will provide communication training for early and mid-career women scientists, and then take them on a roadshow of events. Teams of researchers will visit remote and regional venues to talk about their work. Locations include Cairns, Rockhampton, Mackay, Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Charleville and Cunnamulla.

Explosive Science @ Ekka
Liddell Education

This initiative brings science to life at the Royal Queensland Show (the Ekka), using a range of interactive activities, guest presentations and captivating science demonstrations to show the relevance of science in everyday life. Activities include stage shows, DNA extractions, slime workshops, sherbet making, robotics, and microscopy.

National Science Week at the Tanks: Science & Art in the Tropics
James Cook University, Cairns

The Tanks Arts Centre will play host to a week of events, including a Science-Art collaboration, a PechaKucha Night inspired by science, and scientists telling the stories of their research, such as the medical potential of hookworm parasite spit and how parasites in human and animal brains influence their host’s behaviour. The ‘Café Scientifique: Science & Art – All in the Mind’ feature event will also have a fun and informative focus on the brain. These events will bring together scientists, artists and the general public to explore and celebrate the science of and in the tropics.


Saving Nemo: A Citizen Science Project
Flinders University

The world fell in love with clownfish and the Great Barrier Reef when they saw the blockbuster Disney/Pixar film ‘Finding Nemo’. Timed to coincide with the film’s sequel, ‘Saving Nemo’ is an education initiative that will raise awareness of the need to conserve marine species, educate the public about sustainable fisheries, and involve them in a citizen science research project.

Professor Flint’s A Brief History of Life, the Universe and Everything
Heaps Good Productions

An interactive, musical adventure, featuring singing palaeontologist ‘Professor Flint’ and performers from the Adelaide Youth Theatre, telling the story of the evolution of life from a uniquely Australian perspective. There will be performances in Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Kids Navigate Neuroscience
University of Adelaide School of Medicine

In a twist on the traditional science fair, children will actively explore how the brain and nervous system work by participating in and judging a series of interactive neuroscience exhibits.

Science: Opening doors
South Australian Museum

The South Australian Museum will provide a rare opportunity for people to look behind the scenes of the Museum and see the work of its scientists up close. This event will focus on the power of science to change the way we view the world around us. Activities include interactive storytelling sessions for three- to five-year-olds, a schools program exploring ‘drones, droids and robots’ and a major open day for the general public.


Science Open Season
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Explore prehistoric Australia through exhibitions, displays and activities about megafauna, dinosaurs and Permian monsters. There’s also Night at the Museum, The Big Day of Science, and a look into the future with developments in space and deep-sea exploration. This program of 18 events will run across seven days, with more than 120 sessions.

Young Tassie Scientists – Sharing Science Stories Around Our Islands
University of Tasmania

A selected group of early-career researchers will be given science communication training to share their passion for science with audiences across Tasmania. Each year’s group becomes the widely-profiled Science Week ambassadors for Tasmania, highlighting the relevance of science and science careers in our society through highly engaging, interactive presentations on a range of science topics. The Young Tassie Scientists are involved in local science festivals, schools, libraries, and formal events during Science Week, with a focus on regional and island communities.

Keep your pulse on science @ Elizabeth College
Department of Education, Tasmania

From gases at work to the wonders of slime, and from agricultural science to the science of cooking with pulses, free community events will inspire and educate the general public and youth of Southern Tasmania. Events include an official launch at Government House, ending with a celebratory luncheon at the Premier’s Office. The 16th Annual Elizabeth College Workshop is expected to facilitate fun and interesting science sessions for everyone.

West Coast Festival – Lighting Up the West Coast
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

An aurora, astronomy and photography workshop; short courses; the Science in Schools Day; the Festival Big Day Out and the Festival in the Pub— this is a three-day celebration of science engagement in the West Coast local community. The Festival will enliven this isolated region during winter, provide genuine engagement with a diversity of science-based organisations, leverage off the region’s unique identity and highlight education and employment opportunities.

What’s happening down south and why should we care?
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Find out from a water and sea ice expert, a biologist and an ice sheet expert what’s going on with the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and what this means for Tasmania and beyond in public lectures to be held in Hobart and Launceston. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with the audience and will be streamed live online.


Market of the Mind
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

A fun, free, public event designed to attract the 18-35-year-old youth market and engage them with science. The event, held on a Friday night at Melbourne’s vibrant Southbank, attracts audiences walking along the Yarra River on their way to the AFL, dinner, drinks and social events. The event takes a night-life approach to science, providing a bar, places to sit, live music and—most importantly—entertaining, young, dynamic science presenters.

Prokhorov Centenary: far north Queensland-born physics Nobel Laureate
Australian Optical Society

How many Australians know that one of the co-inventors of the laser is from regional Queensland? A series of public presentations will highlight the curious story of Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Prokhorov, born in 1916 in the Atherton Tablelands, who subsequently returned with his parents to their Russian homeland.

BrainSTEMania – A Smart Comedy About Science!
Echelon Productions

STEMania is an educational theatre performance to celebrate National Science Week and the 2016 schools theme ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’. The program will focus on the Technology aspect of STEM with technologies that help and change lives. STEMania contains a series of theatrical sketches to create hilarious and fact-filled scenes that educate on STEM subjects. Free public performances will be presented in major general public venues in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts!
Monash University

Care for a spot of frog spotting, invertebrate identification, bird watching or ant analysis? A free, family-friendly science event at the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead Reserve on the Mornington Peninsula will provide a host of wildlife monitoring activities in this unique wetland environment. A collaborative event with Parks Victoria, the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Western Port Biosphere, Melbourne Water, Birdlife Australia and the University of New England with PrimeSCI! from Monash Uni.

Science Week in a Bag – Encouraging science through play
Rosebud Toy Library

No one is too young to engage with science. This initiative will allow small children to explore science through play, with preschool science sessions and ‘Science Week in a Bag’ kits distributed to families through three toy libraries in the lead up to Science Week. A toy library volunteer will explain the kits and how to use them. YouTube videos of children showing how the kits are used will be available and a social media competition will encourage people to share photos of their science play ideas.

Tinkering @ Discovery
Bendigo Science and Technology Centre

Discovery will host Tinkering Workshops, partnering with local disability organisations, to encourage participation from an under-represented audience through tailored workshops. A main ‘Tinkering Day’ workshop will be offered to the general public through National Science Week.

Magnificent Microscopy: Life under the lens
Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC)

Families will meet research scientists and view their samples under microscopes that are used in medical research and discuss the important stories behind the samples. Participants will collect and examine their own samples, bringing in items from home and using GTAC’s dissecting, light and scanning electron microscopes to discover the microscopic beauty hidden from human eyes, capturing images to keep as mementoes and share via social media.


Goodness Science Innovation and Sustainability Festival

Goodness Festival 2016 will showcase science, technology, innovation and sustainability in the Mid-West, with a suite of events and activities around themes of Ocean Science, Bright Green, Smart Health, Light Science, Engineering Energy and Social Innovation. Its purpose is to inspire and engage more than 3500 people in science-related engagement activities through a 10-day festival of community-focused seminars, workshops, tours and events around a geographical and virtual Festival Hub, with some events webcast to a wider online audience.

Pantry Blitz
Department of Agriculture and Food

What potential pests are hiding in your pantry? This citizen science activity will involve the community in learning about insects and helping to protect our food, environment and livelihoods from pest damage. Participants will place a pantry trap in their pantry for one month and use free reporting tools to send insect reports for identification. The findings will be published on the Pantry Blitz webpage.

Explore Karlkurla 2016
Goldfields Education Mining Industry Alliance

The Great Western Woodlands in Southern WA are home to thousands of species of flowering plants, are one of the largest remaining intact areas of Mediterranean-climate woodland left on Earth and have a rich Indigenous cultural heritage. Explore Karlkurla 2016 will engage children, school teachers, scientists and local Indigenous representatives to produce informative videos for the public about the biodiversity of the Great Western Woodlands. Videos produced through workshops with scientists in the field and Indigenous representatives on country will be accessed by the public through additional QR Codes installed in Karlkurla Park.

York Scifest
York Community Resource Centre

York Scifest is a week-long festival of exploration, innovation and creativity, engaging and stimulating a sustainable community. Opportunities include community garden bus tours, an astrophotography competition and upcycle workshops, to encourage the general public to understand the natural world through experimentation, creativity and observation.

Wired for Science – Community Expo
Australian Association for Environmental Education (WA Chapter)

Wired for Science is the theme for an exciting, innovative one-day community expo to be held on the banks of the Canning River. The theme aims to capture the enthusiasm of the general public about the importance of physical, chemical, earth and biological sciences, related technologies in our daily lives and the vital role of science education in working towards a more sustainable world.

Cutting Kitchen Waste
City of Gosnells

Science meets sustainability in a series of workshops on aquaponics, food preserving and dehydrating, fermentation, and achieving a wasteless pantry; seminars on food waste; Science Week displays at up to 14 libraries; give-aways; hands-on activities at the Perth Science Festival; and a pop-up food garden.

The Southcoast Noongar Women’s Cultural Trail – Ecology & Dreaming
Wellstead Progress Association

This project brings together biological/ecological scientists and traditional custodians to focus on trying to locate and record a Traditional Custodian’s Women’s Walking trail that passed through the district of Wellstead, east of Albany. It is an opportunity to bring together and share Noongar Elders ecological knowledge and western science.

50 years of the Busselton Health Study: A Community Forum
Busselton Population Health Progress Association

The Busselton Health Study is one of the longest running epidemiological programs in the world. Over 25 000 people have taken part in the study’s health surveys since 1966, and 2016 marks the 50th year of the surveys. A public forum will be held in Busselton with presentations by leading WA researchers covering a broad range of health topics and findings that have stemmed from this remarkable community-based population health and medical research program.

24 Hours of Biology!
The Monkey Lab

This event will host 22 biology-based activities, including hands-on workshops run in collaboration with conservation groups and academics, biology themed improvisation comedy and storytelling, and in-house/Skype interviews with local and international scientists. The activities will focus around four themes: Ecology, Behaviour, Systems, and Cells and Molecules. The event will be live streamed online via YouTube and on big screens in local Perth venues.