National Grant Round Recipients for 2024

  • by National Office
  • 12 May, 2024
National Grant Round Recipients for 2024

The 2024 grants illustrate Australia’s love of our wildlife, a growing value for Traditional Knowledge, and our fascination with our technological future.

Thirty-two grants were awarded this year, with many featuring or being led by Indigenous scientists and organisers. The events include:

  • An experiential exhibit and short film that bring the Sea Country stories of Yuin Gadu to visitors at the Australian National Maritime Museum, NSW
  • The National Science Quiz – an online battle of the brains hosted by Charlie Pickering
  • An Indig-STEM Bootcamp at Monash University, Vic, and several community activities exploring Deadly Science and Wadandi knowledge in Augusta, WA
  • An online experience that brings South Australia’s 1-million-year-old Naracoorte Caves and their fossils to audiences in the comfort of their own home
  • A series of lectures/concerts exploring the interplay between maths and music, Brisbane and regional Queensland
  • From craft to code: workshops exploring how weaving gave us our first computer code, in Victoria
  • Dinosaurs brought to life for people with low vision through the experiential use of sounds, textures, and models, partnered up with expert talks, in Victoria
  • and many more.

Several of the funded events and activities will take place in remote and regional areas. The range of topics explored by grant recipients reflects the diversity of Australian science, from space experts and plant biologists preparing to grow food on Mars through to ecologists and zoologists fighting to save Aussie species.

The Hon Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science said “Ask any scientist about what ignited their passion – and I’ll bet you hear about gazing through a telescope or a microscope, pops and sparks in the school lab, or even their first visit to Questacon. Something hands-on and memorable.  

“That’s why National Science Week is so important. It can spark a lifelong curiosity and passion in science and inspire the next generation of Australian scientists.

“National Science Week is one of my favourite annual events, showcasing excellence in Australian science and inspiring young Australians to see themselves in the STEM careers of the future.”

“We’re aiming to make STEM more diverse and inclusive – I’m so pleased to see our emerging First Nations scientists in regional and remote communities getting involved.”

The Australian Government awarded $500,000 in grants across Australia.

Skip to a state or territory*:

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Victoria
Tasmania
Western Australia

*grants are listed in the jurisdiction where the recipient is based, not necessarily where the activity will take place.

 

Australian Capital Territory

 

Harmonising Nature and Innovation: Climate resilience through STEM

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Ltd

How can houses, gardens and neighbourhoods fight climate change? Residents in Canberra and other places around the country will be invited to take part in workshops, exhibitions, discussions, and tours of ‘Open Houses’, ‘Open Gardens’ and award-winning projects. They will see how landscape architecture – the STEM profession behind public gardens, urban landscapes and more – is being used to fight climate change, cool urban heat islands, reduce storm damage, and make cities healthier, more liveable places.

Landscape architects, as stewards of the natural and built environment, routinely apply STEM in the planning and design of sites where millions of people live, work and play. Student participants will learn more about this practical and impactful scientific career option.

Project/event location(s): ACT

 

National Science Quiz 2024

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Charlie Pickering hosts a public event and online battle of the brains to determine the winners of the National Science Quiz, with the losing team slimed, live on stage. Two teams of Australia’s top scientists will discuss and ponder their quiz answers. The live and online audiences can play along for the chance to win cash prizes.

The National Science Quiz is a night of science, laughter, fun (and slime) that sparks curiosity, celebrates the contributions of Australian scientists, demonstrates scientific thinking and problem solving in action, showcases the talent and diversity of local scientists, and provides insights into the various career pathways.

Project/event location(s): QLD, VIC, online

 

New South Wales

 

Sydney Science Trail Community Days

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

ID a frog, learn about First Nations medicine, talk to scientists, meet the giant dinosaur puppet ‘Winny the Muttaburrasaurus’ and see a ‘T-Rex autopsy’ at the free public Sydney Science Trail Community Days held at the Australian Museum and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

They aim to bring science alive in meaningful and accessible ways for visitors through hands-on activities, family-friendly activities, expert talks, silly science, spectacular demonstrations, and a STEM expo.

Project/event location(s): NSW

 

Science Week at Sydney Zoo: The Science of Survival (Bungarribee/Western Sydney)

Sydney Zoo Pty Ltd

Help scientists save turtles and platypuses with smartphone apps, find out about chimps and orangutans from Jane Goodall’s Aussie friends, or build a bee or bug hotel. These are some of the things Sydney locals, visitors and an online audience will be invited to do as part of Sydney Zoo’s Science of Survival festival, located in Western Sydney.

Activities and workshops include wildlife friendly gardening workshops, virtual excursions for schools, protecting local turtles with First Nation knowledge and TurtleSAT-enabled citizen science, and a Discovery Trail to view endangered species including the green and golden bell frog, koalas, bilbies, potoroos, eastern quolls, orangutans, tigers, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, African painted dogs, and lions. Signs and QR codes to short videos explain the importance of the species survival and the science involves.

Project/event location(s): NSW and online

 

Science @Heart (Dubbo)

The University of Sydney

The stars of National Geographic’s SHARKFEST, marine science and climate experts, and an astronomer equipped with telescopes are headed inland to Dubbo for ‘Science at Heart’ (S@H) to provide hands-on activities that foster curiosity in this regional community.

A day of interactive sessions and talks will offer Dubbo residents the opportunity to hear about the science of oysters, mangroves, human choice (economics), and the physics of climate change, before seeing the stars through telescopes in an evening astronomy session. Marine biologists Mariel Familiar Lopez and Johan Gustafson, featured in Nat Geo TV shows, will share their knowledge of frogs and sharks. The event also promotes synergies between art and science through a poster design competition.

Project/event location(s): NSW

 

Sea Country Stories: Yuin Gadu

A Farr & J Woodriff

Seaweed foraging, shellfish diving, hand weaving fishing nets, astronomy, and calling humpback whale migrations through song and dance are some of the Indigenous science, technology, and knowledge held by the people of Yuin Country in South Coast NSW. An experiential exhibit and a short film will bring the Sea Country stories of Yuin Gadu to visitors to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The Sea Country Stories initiative brings together Indigenous scientists, fishers, and Sea Country rangers with educators, museums, and cultural institutions around Australia, and started in Ngarrindjeri Country, South Australia in 2022. Through slow film and hands-on experiences, participants hear Indigenous ocean stories that are local to them, from learning how to make a kaiki (fishing spear) to finding a stingray in the stars.

Project/event location(s): NSW

 

Science in the Swamp – Dinosaurs vs. Superpowers

Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust

Which animals are the fastest, the strongest, have the best vision or hearing? And how do they compare with dinosaurs? Learn the science of nature’s superpowers, wander the wetlands, try daytime astronomy, meet Centennial Park’s bats, and learn about Indigenous knowledge from Deadly Ed.

‘Science in the Swamp’ will return to Centennial Parklands for a free community event celebrating science and providing a range of diverse and exciting hands-on science activities suitable for all ages. This unique family-oriented gathering aims to explain scientific concepts and foster a love for learning in a lively, outdoor setting through interactive exhibits, demonstrations, activities, and opportunities to meet real scientists.

This community event will focus on nature’s superpowers showcasing the amazing work of Sydney’s biggest science institutions and grassroot community science organisations.

Project/event location(s): NSW

 

First Nations Science – Past, Present, and Future (Albury)

Albury City Council

Can Traditional Knowledge of land and sky help the Alburg region become more sustainable? Locals will be invited to free community events, presented by First Nations science professionals, to hear how this knowledge has contributed to best practices in caring for Country. The program aims to inspire participants to consider how this scientific knowledge can be applied in individual and grassroots community efforts to address local challenges such as sustainable land and water management. A school component of the program for local secondary school science classes includes a hands-on workshop designed to demonstrate the relevance of these scientific concepts to their own lives.

Project/event location(s): NSW

 

Northern Territory

 

Science Spectacle & Ag Adventures at KRS (Katherine)

Northern Territory of Australia

Mangoes, avocados, tractors, and insects: Katherine Research Station will hold an Open Day of hands-on plant and animal educational activities for remote community schools and a Science Sundowner for the broader public. Students will see the research farm in action. They will tour around mango and avocado orchards, cotton, and spice field trials; learn about tractors, livestock, and working dogs; and visit the entomology lab to fill out their workbooks for exciting prizes. The tour will be filmed, and the educational materials will be made available to all local schools unable to attend the event in person. The public Science Sundowner event will feature short presentations from local scientists and farmers, as well as a suite of stalls featuring interactive displays exploring plant, insect, animal, and soil science themes.

Project/event location(s): NT

 

Queensland

 

Sustainable Futures: Integrating Tradition & Modern Science in the Strait (Thursday Island)

Torres Strait Kaziw Meta Inc

Learn how to make a sustainable food garden in the tropics. The Torres Strait community will join an event spotlighting sustainable agriculture, blending traditional Torres Strait Islander practices with contemporary scientific approaches through hands-on workshops and educational tours of Torres Strait Kaziw Meta’s food gardens. A webinar will share how to replicate the experience with a network of more than 200 boarding schools so they can run similar activities on their campuses for their combined 25,000 boarding students.

Project/event location(s): QLD

 

The Sound of Symmetry

The University of Queensland

Discover the sound of symmetry at joint lecture-concerts in Brisbane and regional Queensland. These events will introduce audiences to various types of symmetry that are central to maths and physics through music, with composer Rob Davidson, mathematician Artem Pulemotov, musicologist Denis Collins, and the award-winning Brisbane ensemble Topology. Artem will introduce audiences to the scientific ideas involved, and musicologist Denis Collins will explain how these ideas find expression in sound.

Project/event location(s): QLD

 

From pixels to pills – why we should be 3D printing medicines

The University of Queensland

Design and print your own tablets. Find out about 3D printing and how it could be used to produce better pills through a series of activities leading up to a public event. Pharmacists and 3D printing researchers at the University of Queensland will facilitate a hands-on workshop designing and 3D printing tablets and explain why they could be valuable for pharmaceuticals.

Customisable colour, flavour, texture, and even braille or symbols play an important role in medication usage. Polypills, with multiple active ingredients, reduces medicine mix-ups when needing to take multiple drugs daily. Participants will explore this fascinating research with informative talks, a live demonstration of 3D printing tablets, and the opportunity to design and print their own.

Project/event location(s): QLD

 

Species Survival on Quandamooka Country – a Community Event (Minjerribah)

The University of Queensland

Meet the birds of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). Locals and visitors will be invited to the Moreton Bay Research Station’s Open Day. Activities include a guided morning bird and mangrove walk with world-renowned biodiversity conservation scientists Hugh Possingham and Catherine Lovelock. Members of the Quandamooka community will also host a cultural walk and yarning circle, talking about the importance of species survival in Moreton Bay. The day will conclude with research talks and a ‘pub science’ panel discussion at the Stradbroke Island Brewery. By intertwining scientific exploration with cultural appreciation, the event seeks to deepen the connection between the community and the land and sea, fostering a sense of stewardship and respect for the environment.

Project/event location(s): QLD

 

South Australia

 

World Heritage: Beyond the Boundaries (Naracoorte)

Department for Environment and Water

Explore the Naracoorte Caves online, home to exquisitely preserved giant wombat, 2.5 metre kangaroo and other megafauna fossils. It’s one of the largest and oldest fossil sites in the world. Webinars presenting the latest discoveries in the caves will be livestreamed from within the caves themselves, followed by an online Q&A with the researchers. Significant discoveries include finding new species of animals and understanding how mammals respond to climate change. In addition, there will be an in-person public event for the Limestone Coast community to visit and learn more about this internationally significant site in their backyard. These events celebrate the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage listing of the Naracoorte Caves.

Project/event location(s): SA and online

 

Tasmania

 

West Coast Space Fair (WCSF)

Secret Lab Pty Ltd

Meet a meteorite. The West Coast Space Fair will bring telescopes, real meteorites and 3D-printed replicas of the moon’s surface, astro-scientists, and even a Planetarium show to the West Coast of Tasmania. The Fair will visit the towns of Strahan, Queenstown, Rosebery, Zeehan, Tullah, Ulverstone, Burnie, and Devonport. The Fair features a free and family-friendly stage show for the public, exploring the wonders of space and Australia’s participation in space sciences, as well as the real-world benefits of those activities. It also explores Australia’s and Tasmania’s unique space curiosities and historical aspects, such as the science of Aurora Australis and the ‘Darwin glass’ created more than 800,000 years ago when a meteorite hit Mount Darwin.

Project/event location(s): TAS

 

Maker Technology and Innovation Fest (Burnie)

University of Tasmania

Make things in Burnie, a traditional industrial city that’s transitioning to modern manufacturing. The MakerX Festival is a one-day event that invites Burnie locals and visitors to take part in science-based activities, demonstrations, and exhibits that explore agriculture and food technology; explore digital futures including gaming, robotics, and artificial intelligence; and engage with Aboriginal Culture and Knowledge as the First Inventors.

MakerX will showcase the region’s innovative use of technology in STEM-related fields that are contributing to social, economic, and environmental development. Hosted at the newly refurbished Makers Technology and Innovation Hub, this event will engage school-aged and adult participants in a variety of activities that showcase how STEM is improving the lives of people.

Project/event location(s): TAS

 

Beaker Street Festival 2024

Beaker Street Ltd

Learn and laugh with science comedy from Dr Karl, explore TMAG after Dark, sample a Future Foods menu, see the entries in the Beaker Street Science Photography Prize, or chat with one of 150+ roving scientists.

Beaker Street Festival is an annual celebration of science and art in lutruwita/Tasmania, introducing Australia’s public to exciting scientific minds and ideas. Centred around the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) and nearby venues, the week-long Festival features fascinating talks and hands-on workshops presented by top local and visiting scientists, interactive science/art installations, photography exhibitions, live music and performance, Tassie food and drink, and 150+ Roving Scientists to chat with.

Project/event location(s): TAS

 

Young Tassie Scientists – Taking Science Around Tasmania

University of Tasmania

Mythbusting stress, tracking space junk, tracking tabby cats, brewing superior chemicals, and working to ensure no child has to study on an empty stomach. These are just some of the research topics of last year’s Young Tassie Scientists (YTS), a group of 30 early-career researchers who volunteer their time to share their passion for science with audiences across Tasmania. New recruits are trained each year.

Students and the broader public will get the opportunity to meet these bright young scientists as they travel around the state throughout August. They support a variety of public Science Week events and provided in-school visits along the way, with a focus on reaching regional, rural and island communities state-wide. They highlight local science and career opportunities through engaging interactive presentations and hands-on activities related to each scientist’s discipline and cover a range of topics.

Project/event location(s): TAS

 

Victoria

 

The Martian Garden

La Trobe University

Could you live in a Martian garden? Over the next 30 years, human missions to the moon and Mars are planned: but can these extreme environments provide habitat for humans? Five events across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will invite the public to explore these challenges and try their hand at life beyond Earth in ‘The Martian Garden’.

Entering the Mars habitat, participants become the scientists needed to sustain life off-earth: plant biologists, engineers, psychologists, and food chemists. They will program vertical farms and harvesting robots, measure plant growth conditions, use DNA and imaging technologies, and process plants into new Space-food products before 3D printing them into bento boxes.

In two public forums, researchers will share how to select and adapt plant and microbial species to survive and thrive in new and extreme environments, how to support sustainable new ecosystems off-world, and how to find novel approaches back on Earth.

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

 

Indigi- STEM Bootcamp

Monash University

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from around Melbourne will discover real-world applications of STEM and explore Monash University’s cutting-edge laboratories, engineering workshops, and research facilities. Hearing from Indigenous experts through interactive sessions and guided tours, students will be challenged to problem solve real-life problems using teamwork and their science and technology skills. This event aims to address the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in science and higher education through celebration, empowerment, and culturally safe education.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

The Sugar Highway: What’s Sugar Doing to My Body? (Arnhem Land)

Hanieh, Sarah

Follow the journey of sugar inside your body to see what it does to your health using virtual reality. People living in a remote Aboriginal community in North East Arnhem Land are invited to an interactive presentation about the hidden added sugars in our diet and the impacts on our organs. Through VR headsets, participants will travel ‘The Sugar Highway’ through the digestive system, bloodstream, and into major organs around the body. A series of interactive science experiments explores the impact of sugar on the body, from the sugar mountain representing one person’s sugar intake in a year, to a blood sugar testing station where participants can measure the immediate impact drinking a sugary drink has on their blood sugar levels.

Project/event location(s): NT

 

Ecology: The Collaborative Science That We Must Get Right (Otway Ranges)

Conservation Ecology Centre Pty Ltd

Visit fern gullies, giant beech trees, towering Californian Redwoods, and many of Australia’s favourite animals including kangaroos, echidnas, platypus, koalas, birds, and even glow worms in the Otway Ranges.

People from all walks of life can come to a free public forum and be part of efforts to conserve and protect the rich natural environment of the Otways and beyond. The Otways Ecological Research Forum brings together scientific researchers, public and private land managers, and the general public to discuss findings, innovations, and challenges in ecology, conservation science, and landscape-scale management.

Successful conservation needs scientists and on-ground land managers working together towards a shared vision. The forum acts as a direct communication line, bridging science, practice and the broader community. Participants can attend in person or watch online.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

Western Treatment Plant STEMtastic Community Day – More than wastewater

Melbourne Water Corporation

Sewage, cows, and birds: take a tour of a sewage treatment plant, a working farm, and an internationally-recognised bird habitat – all at the same time! The Western Treatment Plant is a world-leading site in environmentally conscious sewage treatment and home to a variety of wildlife such as the critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot and growling grass frog. For the Open Day, attendees can discover some of the world’s rarest bird and frog species, connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, and chat with our scientists and engineers about all things sewage, biodiversity, and innovation. There will be collaborative games for the whole family, tree plantings, and bus tours of the site.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

From Craft to Code

Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation

Learn how weaving gave us our first computer code, how circuit boards can make music, how clothes mending teaches us geometric patterns, and how modern electronics can be weaved into clothing. The public is invited to six free workshops exploring the origins of computer science and coding through traditional art disciplines. There will be a demonstration on the mechanical complexity of the loom, how it catalysed the fashion industry, and the relationship between math and pattern making. This week-long program of workshops is run by libraries in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and is open to all.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

The STEM Zone Experiment! (Lardner)

STEM Zone Pty Ltd

Visit the STEM extravaganza in West Gippsland with more than 25 stalls for the public to perform experiments with microscopes, dry ice, virtual reality, and more. There will be a gas car racetrack, engineering challenges, and outdoor survival workshops. Local scientists will be interviewed on stage for participants to ask any questions they have always wanted to have answered by an expert. This festival will inspire the next generation of scientists and celebrate the great innovations Australian scientists have made.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

Science in Our Everyday

Bass Coast Community Foundation Open Fund

What would happen if we lost Inverloch to climate change? Join a panel of experts as they debate this serious hypothetical question with a dose of humour as part of the Bass Coast science fair.

The science fair will invite people to create a display or demonstration of ‘science in our everyday’, which will be displayed over the two-day public event. Prizes for the best displays will be announced on the final night, where the Inverloch panel event will also play out. The panellists will explore the local impacts of the global issue of climate change.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

Welcome to the World of Dinosaurs

Vision Australia Limited

Feel the texture of dinosaur fossils, listen to the sounds of your favourite dinos, and ask a palaeontologist your burning dinosaur questions at this in-person and online event. Participants will explore the world of dinosaurs through their fingers, ears, and imagination at ‘The World of Dinosaurs’, an inclusive event designed to make the fascinating world of palaeontology accessible to children and those who are blind, low vision, or print disabled with engaging content and innovative accessibility features.

Project/event location(s): VIC

 

Western Australia

 

Goldfields Science Week

Western Australian Museum

Meet astronomers in Kalgoorlie. A team from Gingin Gravity Discover Centre will travel 600 km east to the Museum of the Goldfields, allowing locals to learn about astronomy and meet astronomers face to face. The astronomers will provide multiple opportunities for the community to learn about the solar system through participation in the Science After Dark Science Fair, lectures, and two school visits.

This event will give community members the opportunity to use scientific equipment, such as a solar telescope, and promote career opportunities in science. Additionally, the astronomers will provide incursion and excursion education workshops for schools in the Goldfields region.

Project/event location(s): WA

 

Matt the Feral Cat – Engaging the Community to Protect Native Wildlife (Albany)

Great Southern Bio Logic Pty Ltd

Help prevent the CATastrophe of the harm their feline friends inflict on possums, dunnarts, lizards, and other local creatures in the Great Southern by taking part in workshops and a performance involving the fun and magic of puppetry. This project highlights the threat of cats to native wildlife, the science behind their control, and how we can all protect species. 

In collaboration with the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Great Southern Bio Logic will conduct puppet-making workshops using recycled material, culminating in a musical play about ‘Matt the Feral Cat’ to highlight local species, their threats, and protective measures that can assist their protection through community and scientific collaboration.  Local scientists and Traditional Owners will enhance and extend participants’ understanding of this important topic.

Project/event location(s): WA

 

2024 STEMathon

St Joseph’s Primary School Waroona

St Joseph’s School Waroona will host a ‘STEMathon’ for people in the Peel region. The STEMathon is a week of facilitated interactive science-related activities conducted in collaboration with industry and community partners, which includes a local Noongar perspective. The program takes a hands-on approach, with activities, experiments, science showcases, and presentations that foster interest and engagement in scientific pursuits by children and the public. It will promote the exchange of ideas between students, parents, volunteers, industry, and the wider community in new and innovative ways by showcasing and celebrating the application of STEM in real life.

Project/event location(s): WA

 

Augusta Tallinup – The Science of Our Land

Augusta Community Resource Centre (Inc)

Deadly Science, Wadandi knowledge, and inventions inspired by nature feature in a range of free science activities, seminars, and workshops. They are part of ‘The Science of our Land’ at the Augusta Community Resource Centre.

Iszaac Webb, a Wadandi cultural custodian and Chairperson at Undalup Association, will provide a cultural experience including a workshop on traditional methods to produce tools and implements for gathering food and survival, as well as a walk on Country to collect materials for the workshop. Award-winning entrepreneur, author, and inventor, Jay Harman from PAX Scientific, will present a seminar on local biodiversity and his developments in biomimicry, inspired by the natural environment and unique species of Augusta. Augusta Primary School students will also be able to take part in the Deadly Learners Science Program online.

Project/event location(s): WA

 

Telethon Kids Broome STEM Festival

Telethon Kids Institute

Extract DNA from strawberries, join yarning sessions on First Nation science, and ‘kill’ bacteria with mini beanbags at the second annual Broome STEM Festival. The Festival brings scientists, educators, displays, and activities from the Telethon Kids Institute to WA’s Kimberly region to provide fun, free education sessions for students and community members. The Festival aims to celebrate and highlight scientists from the local region as well as promote science as a potential career opportunity.

Project/event location(s): WA

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