Niall

Current stories

Clinical trial to test potential new combination therapy for aggressive breast cancer – Researchers are recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial they hope will improve survival rates for an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects about 1,500 women each year in New South Wales.

Massive X-ray blasts, thousands of black holes revealed; a universe in a computer and more – A Sydney student, early-career researchers from Perth and Melbourne, and a fast telescope have received awards for changing our view of our galaxy and the Universe.

DeadlyScience and Merck to bring physics, chemistry, and biology experiments to young Indigenous scientists – The kits will explore chemistry, physics, and biology with experiments based in Indigenous science.

Sharkskin’ makes planes faster, smoother, cheaper – A sharkskin-inspired coating on planes will save thousands of dollars per flight and slash carbon emissions.

Stem-cell models reveal glaucoma secrets – Australian researchers uncover hidden genetic markers of glaucoma.

Rocks smashing into planets give clues about planetary evolution – Planetary scientist Katarina Miljkovic is discussing how she uses “space rocks” to understand how planets form on Women in Physics lecture tour.

Backyard astronomers win recognition from the professionals – Two amateur astronomy projects were awarded the 2022 Page Medal on Saturday 16 April at the National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers held online.

An immune ‘fingerprint’ reveals path for better treatment of autoimmune diseases – using your unique immune cell fingerprint to rapidly identify which treatments will work for your autoimmune disease.

Smart glove to train young surgeons – A glove designed at Western Sydney University gives surgical trainees instant and accurate feedback.

Work, housing, friendship – New tool from Orygen measures social inclusion to prevent more serious mental illness and ultimately save lives.

Ancient campfires reveal a 50,000 year old grocer and pharmacy – Archaeology in the Western Desert shows how wattle has defined culture and been important to Australians for millennia.

Cutting surgery time in half with digital ‘twins’ – A speedier recovery after children’s hip deformity surgery as computerised models help surgeons virtually plan complex operations.

We’re hiring

We’re looking for both

  • a Science Communication Project Officer; and,
  • a Media and Communications Manager (Science).

Pay will be negotiated based on experience.

It’s your chance to discover, write about, and promote the work of researchers who are making a difference in this world. From tackling climate change to developing better batteries, unlocking the disease-fighting secrets of stem cells to seeing the Universe’s beginnings in exploding stars, these people are transforming lives.

You can make an impact, too, by helping them share their work.

For both roles we need people who already have strong connections in the research community. If you meet three out of four of the criteria below then we’d love to hear from you.

Please send your CV, some examples of your writing, and include in your cover note your experience in getting science into the media and why your mix of skills would work for us.

Applications close midday on Thursday 20 January 2022.

Sarah Brooker sarah@scienceinpublic.com.au 0413 332 489

Who we are looking for

Ideally, you are familiar with science and the research community, love finding the story in science, and are confident about pitching the story to the media and engaging with stakeholders in a professional and friendly manner.

You are passionate about helping scientists share their work with the wider world.

Science Communication Project Officer

This is for you if you:

  • Can capture the essence of a science story in a headline and first paragraph and write engaging, accurate, evidence-based copy as media releases/stories/case studies – and have a portfolio that demonstrates your skill
  • Are a born networker with a good working knowledge of Australia’s science community and how to work with it – and have the working contacts to prove it.
  • Are confident in approaching media and can follow through in an efficient and friendly manner to land media coverage that’s true to the science
  • Are a savvy user of the web, Twitter and other social media channels and have successfully built and sustained online communities of interest. Hands-on experience of WordPress, Mailchimp and/or Nationbuilder is an advantage.

If you have three out of four of the following criteria, we’d like to hear from you.

Media and Communications Manager (Science)

This is for you if you have most of the above skills/experience plus you have:

  • Put science on the front page and/or major metro TV.
  • Transformed the public and/or political perception of a science-based issue.
  • Proven that you can develop and sustain mutual trust and respect with media and stakeholders.
  • Proven you can manage clients and deliver projects to time and on budget.

Again, if you meet three out of these four criteria, we’d like to hear from you.

What we offer

The positions are both full-time, or near full-time, with a two-month probation period. Our office is in Spotswood in Melbourne’s West and there is the option of working from home up to two days a week. Working hours are flexible.

You will get to work with many of Australia’s leading researchers.

You’ll tell great stories and help people understand the science behind the issues. You’ll work with a team of experienced science communicators, writers, journalists, and publicists who have been getting science into the public space for nearly two decades.

$2.5 million CSL Centenary Fellowships awarded:

Faster treatments for future pandemics (Brisbane)

Investigating the DNA factory in our bodies that makes everything (Melbourne)

Daniel Watterson and Stephin Vervoort

Two Australian scientists have each been awarded a CSL Centenary Fellowship of $1.25 million over five years to undertake research that will transform our response to pandemics, and lead to new cancer treatments.

The Fellowships were presented at the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Annual Meeting 2021 on Wednesday 27 October.

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Rethinking eating disorders from the inside out

Australia’s first national research and translation strategy for a mental health disorder

Online launch 10:15 am AEST, Tuesday 21 September 2021: media welcome, https://www.streamgate.co/insideout-institute/

At least a million Australians affected by eating disorders, but only about 200,000 receive evidence-based treatment

  • Leading psychiatric cause of death
  • Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa and other eating disorders are having a profound impact on individuals, families and communities
  • National research strategy launched today says we can improve early identification and treatments and even prevent eating disorders
  • The strategy outlines the ten questions that need answers for us to improve the quality of life for all affected Australians and their families.
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50+ countries, 300 physicists meet to address global shortage of women in physics

11 July 2021

We need all our best brains to solve global challenges.

And we need to empower women who want an intellectual life to explore big ideas. But,

  • over 99 per cent of physics students at Burkina Faso’s largest university are male
  • no women have graduated in physical sciences at The University of El Salvador between 2017 and 2020
  • in Chile, the percentage of women working full time in universities and research centres has stayed around 14 per cent for years
  • Cuba is doing better, where 20 per cent of physicists are women. But that’s less than a third of the overall percentage of women in the highly qualified workforce (68 per cent)
  • around 24 per cent of Germany’s physics PhDs are awarded to women. And they’re training thousands of physicists from other countries with 43% of women pursuing a PhD in physics being international
  • 95% of Irish students study science up to age 16 years, only four per cent of girls follow through with physics in their final years
  • the Netherlands is approaching 30% women in undergraduate physics enrolments, with steady increases
  • the United Kingdom has seen slight increases in women students from 21% in 2012/13 to 24% in 2017/18
  • Iranian women are leading the way in physics, making up around 55% of PhD candidates. And all physics teachers in female high schools are now women, further encouraging girls to pursue education in physics.

And in Australia? Women account for only 25% of Australian year 12 physics students. As they progress through university and research most fall away. A recent study in Nature noted that it will take until 2060 to achieve 33 per cent gender equity in astronomy research in Australia.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) has recognised a need to foster the participation of women in physics. This is IUPAP’s seventh International Conference on Women in Physics.

From 11-16 July they’re bringing together 300+ physicists from over 50 countries for a virtual conference, co-chaired by Dr Cathy Foley, Chief Scientist of Australia, and Professor Sarah Maddison, Swinburne University.

“Over the next week we will discuss what’s working, what’s not working, and what can affluent nations do to support women into physical science careers in developing nations,” says Cathy.

“The impact of COVID on research has set back gender equity,” says Cathy. “But it’s also introduced new ways of working online that could benefit women. This conference is one example.”

Over the next week we will be bringing you stories from the conference, with women physicists from Australia, international and developing nations available for interview.

For more information and interviews visit www.scienceinpublic.com.au/iupap-women and contact:
Laura Boland, laura@scienceinpublic.com.au, 0408 166 426
Niall Byrne, niall@scienceinpublic.com.au, 0417 131 977

IUPAP speaker call out

We’re assisting with media liaison for the 7th IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics next week.  We understand that you will be speaking at a session of the conference.

We’re working with the organising committee to bring the ideas and issues discussed at the conference to a wide public audience via media and social media. To do this, we will issue stories to the media throughout the conference, and to selected media in advance on embargo.

We are writing to see if you are willing and available during the conference to speak with media about your talk, work and/or relevant issues regarding women in physics.

If you are not available or interested, we would also appreciate you letting us know. Or if you would like to nominate a peer or colleague at the conference to speak about your work or session, please let us know their details and we’ll get in touch.

If you are keen, then we have a few short questions for you:

These are introductory questions to gauge your potential stories and opportunities for media coverage. So, if any question is irrelevant to you, please ignore it.

1.      Will your talk have ideas or information that’s potentially newsworthy?

  • If so, can you provide a copy of your talk (or key points), and/or a plain English explanation of the broader significance of your findings.

2.      Do you have any opinions that you would like to share?

For example:

  • You may have opinions about your research/discovery, or opinions and stories around equality, diversity and inclusion for women in physics in your country. If you can provide brief comments of 40 to 80 words then we can share those with journalists and on social media.
  • Would you be interested in writing an opinion editorial? This is a newspaper opinion story, usually around 600 to 800 words on your work and/or issues relating to the conference. We can edit contributions.

3.      Are you on social media?

If so, what handles/names do you and your organisation use?

We’ll be tweeting from @IUPAPwomen and we may also have time to share information you post on other platforms.

4.      If we do release information about your work would you like us to share it with any of your contacts?

·         For example your media team, journalists you’ve spoken with in the past, supporters of your work.

5.      Do you have any relevant photos that we can share with media and social media?

We’re writing to everyone speaking at the conference and we’ll choose the best mix of stories. If we include your work/story we’ll let you know. 

About Science in Public

Science in Public is a science communication and public relations business based in Melbourne. We have a core team of 7 staff and associates around Australia.

You can read more about us and our work at www.scienceinpublic.com.au.

And you can view examples of past conference media alerts and releases at the following links:

Contact us at sarah.bradley@scienceinpublic.com.au if you have any questions.

Can we guarantee supply of essential drugs in a global crisis?

Flow chemistry trial will test new way to make drugs locally and fast

Australia may soon be able to produce essential drugs – including anaesthetics and treatments for antibiotic resistant superbugs – rapidly and entirely onshore, ending the need to import them.

A collaboration between Melbourne chemical company Boron Molecular and DMTC Ltd (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre) is testing a new system capable of synthesising drugs at scale, quickly and continuously.

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No more than 10 a week and 4 a day…

Official site at www.nhmrc.gov.au/alcohol. Copies of all resources for media available here.

National Health and Medical Research Council confirms new national guidelines for reducing the health risks from drinking alcohol.

Graphics available via links below.

The guidelines are the result of four years of extensive review of the evidence on the harms and benefits of drinking alcohol.

They replace the previous version, published in 2009. They will underpin policy decisions and public health messaging for many years to come.

“We’re not telling Australians how much to drink,” says Professor Anne Kelso, CEO of NHMRC.

“We’re providing advice about the health risks so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives.”

Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, adds: “Every year there are more than 4,000 alcohol-related deaths in Australia, and more than 70,000 hospital admissions. Alcohol is linked to more than 40 medical conditions, including many cancers.

“Following the guidelines keeps the risk of harm from alcohol low, but it does not remove all risk. Healthy adults drinking within the guideline recommendations have less than a 1 in 100 chance of dying from an alcohol-related condition.”

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