Science stakeholder bulletins

Science in Public’s bulletins to science organisations with information about prizes and science events and other opportunities.


Going for gold – UK’s women in science experience; put your research in front of politicians diplomats, journos…


Half of Australia’s science university students are women. So why are only 21 per cent of the professors teaching them women?

Forty Australian universities and other research organisations are signed up and working towards bronze Athena Swan accreditation for supporting women in science. What can they learn from the UK’s ten-year experience of addressing the ‘leaky pipeline’?

UK chemist Professor Tom Welton is in Australia to share how his team at the Imperial College London Chemistry Department achieved a gold Athena Swan Award for promoting gender equality.

His tour of events and workshops kicks off in Melbourne tomorrow. Next week he’s in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

The tour is organised by the Science in Australia Gender Equity as part of their efforts to help their members tackle inequality and achieve Athena SWAN accreditation.
More below.


Has your team got an exciting discovery, invention, or other news you’d like to celebrate? Consider taking part in the 2017 edition of Stories of Australian Science, our online collection and annual print publication bringing together discoveries, prize-winners and top achievers in Aussie science.

We distribute the stories all over the country and overseas. Prices start from $1,200. More below.  [click to continue…]

Tell us your stories of Australia-US collaboration; get your science noticed by those who matter; $4 million for citizen science; and media training

We’re looking for stories of Australia-US research collaborations for a collection for the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. Our focus will be on innovations that are close to a commercial application and/or has achieved a practical outcome for both nations. More below.

Earlier this year we asked for Indonesia and Japan story leads. Our collection of Stories of Australia-Indonesia Innovation has been published online. It features a better vaccine for rotavirus, the latest in the discovery of the Hobbit, and stories on how Australian research is supporting the transformation of Indonesia. It’s now available online. More below and read the stories here. Our 2015 Japan stories are here. And look out for Japan collaboration videos in the New Year.

We’re also calling for great stories to include in our 2017 publication of Stories of Australian Science. It’s an annual print and online publication, bringing together discoveries, prize-winners and top achievers in Aussie science, which we distribute all over the country and overseas. Prices start from $1,200. More below.

As funders start to incorporate altmetrics, good communication will become more important than ever. We now offer a range of communication, pitching and media training services. Our first dates for 2017 are out now. More below.

Grants for citizen science are now available from the Australian government. They’re handing out $4 million. The deadline is 17 February. More below.

We close this Wednesday 21 December and re-open on Wednesday 4 January.

Have a lovely Christmas and we look forward to more brilliant Australian science next year.

Kind regards,

Niall  [click to continue…]

Universities getting innovation right – the printed jet engine flies into Paris deal; replacing the needle and syringe; celebrating your innovation

Innovation successes for Australian universities.

Today I want to share with you news of some great examples of Australian universities getting innovation right.

Monash’s 3D printed jet engine technology has flown into a manufacturing collaboration in Toulouse – with their spin-out company Amaero making aerospace components for Safran Power Units. The Australian Ambassador to France launched the deal in Paris last night. More below.

And UQ researcher Mark Kendall is on track to replace the 160-year-old needle and syringe. He will be recognised in Parliament House in Canberra tonight with the CSL Young Florey Medal. His Nanopatch  uses a fraction of the dose, puts the vaccine just under the skin, and doesn’t require a fridge.

Spin-out company Vaxxas is running human trials in Brisbane and the WHO is planning a polio trial in Cuba in 2017. The Gates Foundation and Merck are also backing Mark.

Last week I was in Tokyo filming more successful innovations:

  • Griffith University is partnering with three Japanese companies in the search for malaria drugs.
  • The University of Melbourne’s Recaldent is repairing teeth worldwide thanks to their long term collaboration with Japanese dental company GC Corp.
  • Solar furnace technology from CSIRO and a South Australian company is being trialled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Yokohama.
  • And Komatsu’s CEO told me about the giant robotic trucks that they’re developing with Rio Tinto for the ‘mine of the future’.

Talk to me if you’d like help telling your organisation’s stories of innovation:

  • We offer pitching, engagement, presentation, and media training.
  • We have the national and global connections to put your stories in front of the right audiences.
  • Our 2017 Stories of Australian Science is opening for submissions soon.

In this bulletin:

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Australia’s research capital; the top 10 in research; big science talks in 2017; Innovation Week; and more

Melbourne is Australia’s research capital. According to the Nature Index, published overnight in Nature, Melbourne was Australia’s leading city in terms of high-quality science output in 2015, followed by Sydney. The index also shows that Brisbane saw the fastest growth in output between 2012 and 2015, and is home to the highest-placed institution in Australia, the University of Queensland.

The top 10 science organisations in Australia, according to the Nature Index are…

UQ, Monash, ANU, UniMelb, UNSW, USyd, CSIRO, UWA, Adelaide Uni, and Curtin.

The order hasn’t changed since Nature published their global index in April, but in today’s 2016 Nature Index Australia and New Zealand they’ve delved down into the performance by city, and by field of science.

  • Brisbane is rising fast up the list due to its strength in the life sciences, and the University of Queensland tops the list of Australian institutions.
  • Sydney punches above its weight in the physical sciences, especially with the opening of new nanoscience and quantum physics labs this year at UNSW and the University of Sydney.
  • Melbourne still leads the country, and is one of the top 10 most collaborative cities in the world, according to the index.

There are some funky visualisations of the strengths and connections of Sydney and Melbourne’s research institutes that reveal connections down to Bacchus Marsh (leaders in genetics, but why?).

Here’s a snapshot of a bit of the Melbourne graphic. See the details at:

Read the full release from Nature below along with a Sydney graphic.

In this bulletin:

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Defending Australia’s snakes and lizards; making share markets fair and efficient; and more… 2016 PM’s Prizes for Science awarded last night

Last night, the Prime Minister presented the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science to seven of Australia’s top scientists, innovators, and science teachers.

The 2016 recipients are:

  • Rick Shine, defending Australia’s snakes and lizards, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (The University of Sydney)
  • Michael Aitken, making stock markets fair and efficient, Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation (Capital Markets CRC/Macquarie University)
  • Colin Hall, creating manufacturing jobs by replacing glass with plastic, the inaugural Prize for New Innovators (The University of South Australia)
  • Richard Payne, for re-engineering nature to fight for global health, Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (The University of Sydney)
  • Kerrie Wilson, conservation that works for government, ecosystems and people, Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year (The University of Queensland/ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions)
  • Suzy Urbaniak—a geologist by trade—is turning students into scientists, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools (Kent Street Senior High School, Perth)
  • Gary Tilley, creating better science teachers, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools (Seaforth Public School, Sydney/Macquarie University)
L-R: Gary Tilley, Kerrie Wilson, Colin Hall, Minister Greg Hunt, Rick Shine, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Michael Aitken, Richard Payne, and Suzy Urbaniak (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science)

L-R: Gary Tilley, Kerrie Wilson, Colin Hall, Minister Greg Hunt, Rick Shine, Prime Minister Malcolm
Turnbull, Michael Aitken, Richard Payne, and Suzy Urbaniak (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes
for Science)

Read more about them below.

Plus, you can see images, video footage and read more online at

Check out all the action from last night on Twitter #pmprize and feel free to tweet your congratulations.

Kind regards,

In this bulletin:

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Tell us about Indonesia; new million dollar fellowships; meet our Freshies in Brisbane and Sydney; media training; and more

Indonesia: we’re writing a collection of short innovation stories for the Australia-Indonesia Centre and our brief isn’t restricted to work funded by the Centre. So if you know of any examples of collaborative research between Indonesia and Australia, please let me know.

This is a collection that we hope will be useful to government, business, science and cultural leaders, and that will contribute to a better understanding between our two nations. [click to continue…]

$730 million Next Generation Tech Fund; inside Melbourne’s secret defence labs; using Science Week; media training; and more

Defence Science and Technology Group needs you. They’re managing a $730 million Next Generation Technology Program to build collaboration with industry and academia.

This week they’re opening their ‘secret’ labs in Melbourne to media, industry and their academic partners. Some of the stories they’re revealing include:

  • Adding years to the life of Australia’s F/A-18 Hornet fighters
  • Testing acoustic tiles for Australia’s stealth submarines – present and future
  • Running Australia’s most flexible Defence flight simulator
  • Finding out if body armour can be worn in the jungle – with the help of a sweating mannequin
  • Working to make a Bushmaster truck disappear
  • Turning donuts into jet fuel
  • And more below

Communication training and delivery for your science team

We’ve got media and communication training courses in:

  • Melbourne: Tuesday 21 June, Thursday 21 July
  • Sydney: Thursday 7 July
  • Canberra: Wednesday 29 June
  • Adelaide: Thursday 4 August
  • Perth: Wednesday 14 September

Or book a bespoke course for your team and develop your own science communication plan. [click to continue…]

Backing up your sci comm team; new prizes; and Canberra changes

We’re expanding our services to support science and science communication teams in universities and research institutes.

We can help for example:

  • If you’ve got a big story that needs an extra national or international push.
  • If you need a strategy for a project or centre.
  • If your team needs coaching for an ARC interview, or media training.
  • If you want mentoring to grow your public profile.

Prices start from $800 for media training.

More below.

Prizes open now

  • $80,000 GSK Award for excellence in medical research – open till 4 July
  • Two $1.25million CSL Centenary Fellowships for mid-career medical researchers – closing 31 July
  • $25,000 2016 CSL Young Florey Medal for medical research – open till this Monday, 6 June
  • veski innovation fellowships of up to $150,000 – bringing international talent home to Melbourne, closing 14 July
  • Two $50,000 Victoria Prizes – for life sciences and physical sciences, closing 23 June.

More below.

Changes in science advocacy

Catriona Jackson is leaving Science and Technology Australia. She’s done a fantastic job advocating for science in the tough Abbott era. But she’s not going far – to Universities Australia as their deputy CEO.

Kylie Walker will take her place, moving from her role as communication director at the Academy of Science. The Academy CEO Sue Meek is also moving on, as is Peter Thomas who drove the SAGE gender equity initiative. He’s going to AAMRI, the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.

Sue and Kylie have transformed the public and political impact of the Academy.

My thanks to Stephen Machett’s Campus Morning Mail for the heads-up.

Fresh Science

Fifty young researchers from 30 organisations are performing around the country this month and next.

Thank you to the 17 universities, four museums, and other groups who have partnered with us to deliver Fresh Science 2016.

Now you can see your early-career researchers taking the next step – engaging with the community, media, government and industry around the country. There are still free tickets left for the pub nights in Adelaide (15 June), Brisbane (18 July) and Sydney (26 July) and school forums in Perth (8 June) and Sydney (26 July).

Media and communication training

We’re running courses in:

  • Melbourne: Tuesday 21 June, Thursday 21 July, Tuesday 6 September, Thursday 27 October, Tuesday 13 December
  • Sydney: Thursday 7 July, Friday 2 September, Tuesday 15 November
  • Canberra: Wednesday 29 June
  • Adelaide: Thursday 4 August
  • Perth: Wednesday 14 September

More below, or you can register now via Eventbrite.

In this bulletin 

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Nature’s take on Australian science – Index released overnight

UQ on top, followed by Monash, but Melbourne more collaborative, and Curtin the fastest riser in today’s Nature Index.

The latest Nature Index published overnight in London reveals Australia’s contribution to high-quality scientific research.

The University of Queensland takes out the top spot in Australia (at 89 on the global university list) with the other members of the Group of Eight filling out the top eight positions in Australia.

Monash University is 93 globally, the Australian National University is at 100, and The University of Melbourne at 130. Australia has eleven universities in the top 500 institutions in the Index which tracks over 8,000 institutions worldwide.

CSIRO is the highest placed non-university body on the Index.

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Trudeau on quantum computing, new prizes and more

  • Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, nails quantum computing in this press conference that has attracted global attention
  • Australia’s attorney general has also attracted global attention explaining metadata
  • I’m told that Barack Obama struggled with gravitational waves, but I can’t find the clip.

How would you and your team do?

A great way to train and test your best scientists is push them into the limelight by nominating them for a prize. As part of the #ideasboom, the Prime Minister has expanded his prizes for science and innovation and there are a host of other opportunities in this bulletin.

Or push your young researchers into Science Week – grants are open in most States.

We offer a service to test and refresh your narrative. Do you talk about additive manufacturing when you mean 3D printing?  We can help you review and refresh your pitch.

And we offer media training – if you can guarantee a minimum of six people in a capital city we can organise a course.

This week also sees the opening of Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at The University of Sydney. More on their launch below, and it’s not too late to join them

And from next month you can meet the 2016 Fresh Scientists in pubs around the country – starting in Melbourne on 31 May.

More on all of those below.

In this bulletin:

Kind regards,


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A new Prime Minister’s Prize; Fresh Science and $50,000 stem cell prizes extended

Both Fresh Science and the $50,000 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research have been extended to Wednesday 30 March.

So now’s the time to push forward those shy but brilliant early and mid-career scientists.

There’s also a new Prime Minister’s Prize – a $50,000 Prize for ‘New Innovators’, taking the total prize pool to $750,000. Nominations have just opened.

Read on for more about these prizes and others including the Eureka Prizes, Tall Poppies and the BioMelbourne Network’s Women in Leadership Awards.

Congratulations to Melbourne ‘rare geneticist’ Elena Tucker, from the Murdoch. She jets to Paris this week for a L’Oréal UNESCO Rising Talent Award. Read more.

Our media and communication courses for scientists will be in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide over the coming months. More below.

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$1 million in science prizes; Australia’s #ideasboom dinner in DC; and more, always more…

In this bulletin:

Kind regards,

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Stop whingeing, we’re good at innovation; 2 x $50,000 prizes for stem cell research; and taking this year’s top science stories to the AAAS

Do you know an up-and-coming stem cell researcher who deserves to be recognised for their work?

Applications for the 2016 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research are now open, offering cash and valuable recognition to boost the careers of two Australian early to mid career researchers. More below.

This week is Innovation Week 2015, an initiative led by the Australian Science & Innovation Forum (ASIF) in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and backed by the Victorian government. Their timing was perfect given that the goss is that the innovation statement will come out early next week—kudos to Marguerite Evans-Galea and her colleagues.

And their message is…we are good at innovation. As Michelle Gallaher (@startupshelly) reminded us at the Royal Society of Victoria last night, “There were $2 billion in biotech deals done in Australia this year including HatchTech, who secured up to $279 million for their head lice treatment, and Starpharma’s $650 million plus deal with AstraZeneca”.

On Wednesday the Defence Science Group also reminded me that the little rocket that thinks it’s a ship (Nulka) has earned billions of dollars and they’ve got many more clever devices which are protecting Australian soldiers, sailors and pilots, and earning export dollars.

Take a look at what the Innovation Week team have done, and consider getting involved next year –

The Victorians are also putting some serious money into supporting women scientists through career breaks. Yesterday they announced their first four Inspiring Women Fellowships each worth up to $150,000. Natalie Hannan was one of them. She’s a 2006 Fresh Scientist looking at pre-eclampsia and delivering drugs directly to the placenta.

And finally, before you break for Christmas, tell me the highlights of your best research from Australia and around the world for our 2016 Stories of Australian Science collection. Stories cost $1,200 each with discounts for two or more. We’ll want them ready to show off when we head to the United States for the AAAS meeting in DC in February. More below.

The cracking team of caffeinated science enthusiasts at Science in Public and I would like to wish you all the best for the festive season. We will be closing the office for two weeks from COB Friday 18 December and will re-open on Monday 4 January. But if you are in need of some urgent “break-the-glass” PR support over the break, we can be reached on mobile.

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Tell us your Indonesia and Japan connections; reversing dementia; and looking for science Stories

I’m in Tokyo talking about the Japanese collaborations we collected earlier this year. The result was a series of fact sheets for the Australian Embassy in Japan. This weekend we’re presenting them at Science Agora in Tokyo.

We’re talking about saving coral, predicting earthquakes, fighting malaria, exploring Antarctic oceans with elephant seals, sharing neutrons, new drugs for malaria, and the prehistory of tsunamis. More below.

Today I’m keen to hear of:

  1. Japan – any new Australia-Japan achievements – where the research has or is making a real difference.
  2. Indonesia – ways in which Australian science has changed Indonesia and vice versa. For example, Australian vets helped eradicate foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia – benefiting agriculture in both countries.
  3. Highlights of your best research in Australia and around the world for our 2016 Stories of Australian Science collection.

Also last night, and on breakfast TV and radio this morning, we’ve heard that exercise can reverse dementia and recover spatial memory – in mice so far, but human trials are due to start next year.

Perry Bartlett, the founding director of the Queensland Brain Institute, received the $50,000 CSL Florey Medal for his discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the brain.

The award was presented by Minister Sussan Ley at the AAMRI dinner in Parliament House. More below.

Kind regards,
Niall [click to continue…]

Bubbles, the world’s most important reaction and more… this year’s Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science winners

Tonight in the Great Hall of Parliament House, six of Australia’s best scientists and science teachers will receive the 2015 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

They are:

  • Feeding the world, and asking where the wind went: Graham Farquhar (Australian National University)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
  • How trillions of bubbles earned billions for Australia: Graeme Jameson (University of Newcastle)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation.
  • Making polymers with light: Cyrille Boyer (University of New South Wales)—Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year.
  • Where are the plants and animals we want to conserve, and the invaders we want to control?: Jane Elith (University of Melbourne)—Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.
  • Bringing students to science and space: Ken Silburn (Casula High School)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
  • Improved primary science teaching at no extra cost: Rebecca Johnson (Windaroo State School)— Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.

We’ll tweet photos and comments from the dinner this evening from @inspiringaus and @scienceinpublic.

2015 Prime Minister’s Prize winners with Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb (far left). L-R Ken Silburn, Rebecca Johnson, Cyrille Boyer, Jane Elith, Graham Farqhuar and Graeme Jameson

Brief citations below. For full citations, photos and videos go to
Also in this bulletin:

Kind regards,


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Australian Museum Eureka Prizes: and the winners are…

We can tell you all about the work of the Eureka Prize winners today – from tiny crystals shining a light on diseased cells, to salt batteries for renewable energy, and more.

The winners were announced at a fantastic dinner last night at the Sydney Town Hall, with hundreds of guests from science, business, government, and media.

Nicknamed the ‘Oscars of Australian science,’ these awards recognise researchers, leaders and communicators breaking new ground in their fields and inspiring those around them to follow suit.

There are also prizes for budding scientists or science communicators in the primary and secondary school sections. You can see the winner of the secondary prize Paige Bebee with her grandfather… on the front page of the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald this morning.

Also look out for the amazing winners and finalists of the Eureka Prize for Science Photography.

Press releases, videos and photos are all online and on twitter: @eurekaprizes @scienceinpublic, and #eureka15.

More below.

Also in this bulletin:

If you’d like to find out more drop me a line.

Kind regards,


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Overdosing on homeopathic sleeping pills, dissecting a croc – National Science Week highlights + Fresh Scientists everywhere and more

If you missed Neil deGrasse Tyson’s dance-moves on Q&A on Monday night and his insightful commentary on all things science, there’s still a chance to catch him at events in Melbourne tonight, or in Brisbane, Sydney or Canberra.

He’s here in Melbourne doing events for National Science Week – with other highlights including: astronaut Chris Hadfield; the woman who survived an neiloverdose of 50 homeopathic sleeping pills; a live croc dissection; 40 remarkable women in science and more. And the RiAus has a special offer on Hadfield tickets.

There are already over 1,500 events registered for the week which kicks off Saturday 15 August. South Australia’s launch was last night, and there’s details on the other state launches below, and the national launch at dozens of schools nationwide.

More below.

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Meet this year’s Freshies at a pub near you; Science Week briefings; Eureka finalists and more

A million Australians got involved in Science Week last year.

We’re working with the Inspiring Australia team to build the impact further over the next four years.

And we want to share the stories of exciting happenings around the country with the science world, the media, and the general public.

So, if you’re doing things and/or want to do more, please come to one of our briefing events in the coming weeks in:

  • NSW on Tuesday 21 July at Business Events Sydney
  • ACT on Friday 24 July at Canberra Innovation Network
  • VIC on Thursday 30 July at the Royal Society of Victoria
  • And we’ll do other States and Territories by demand.

If you’re holding an event, don’t forget to register it: Also tell your local media what you’re up to – they love local stories.

If there’s a national media angle let me know. And keep in touch with your state Science Week committee – contacts details at:

Also over the next two months:

We’ll be introducing you to our 2015 Fresh Scientists, and the Eureka Prize finalists.

We received over 170 nominations for Fresh Science this year, and you can meet our finalists at pub events around the country – more below.

The finalists for the 2015 Eureka Prizes will be announced next Friday. Keep an eye on Twitter #Eureka15 or @eurekaprizes for the announcement.

Also in this bulletin:

Kind regards,


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Fresh Science coming to NSW and SA; Vic Prizes open; use Science Week…

More Fresh Science: We’re pleased to announce Fresh Science events in New South Wales and South Australia. They join Victoria, North Queensland, South Queensland and Western Australia.

So we have sixty places around the country. Please consider nominating any early career researchers you know who have a peer reviewed result and little or no media coverage.

We’re extending the deadline to Wednesday 1 July to give those in NSW and SA a bit more time.

Also aimed at early-career scientists are 12 Victorian Fellowships each worth $18,000. And the two $50,000 Victoria Prizes are also open for one more week.

Most science prize winners say they never would have considered nominating until pushed to do so by a colleague. So I encourage you to consider who deserves a push. Prizes can make a real difference to the careers of our best researchers.

Coming up: National Science Week – how will you celebrate science?

Also scholarships for health researchers, and a prize that recognises scientific courage: standing up for good, evidence-based science. It’s a UK prize open to Australians.

Kind regards,
Niall [click to continue…]