Prizes; election wish lists; event grants and a NASA astrobiologist for Science Week

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

CORRECTION: In our science news bulletin sent out on 3 April 2019 we stated that ARC, CSIRO, and NCRIS received funding cuts in the 2019 Federal Budget. This is incorrect and neither CSIRO, nor the ARC received funding cuts. We based our statement on an analysis by the Australian Academy of Science. This has since been clarified. Here is the updated media release and here is a statement about the CSIRO funding.

Over $350,000 in science prizes are open for nomination right now including 18 Eureka Prizes, WA and SA scientists of the year, and the APEC Science Prize. The ABC is inviting 10 postdocs to media bootcamps. The Science Academy’s awards are open, as are the Tall Poppies for early career researchers. Details on these, and more below. If you need help with your awards strategy, and with finessing nominations, give us a call. 

Are you using National Science Week? Last year, 1.2 million Australians got involved in more than 2,100 events. Now is the time to register your event, apply for state funding and be part of the action. More below. We’ll be providing national publicity support so, if you’ve got anything special planned, let us know.

My colleague Tanya Ha has prepared a summary of the science world’s response to the budget and the coming election. In one line: there’s nothing much to see yet.

Send your journos and science communication geeks to Switzerland in July for the World Conference of Science Journalists, which we hosted in Melbourne in 2007. Join us for a briefing at the Swiss Consulate in Sydney on Wednesday 17 April. Register on Eventbrite.

We’ve got communication training courses coming up in Melbourne (9 April and 29 May), Perth (early May), Sydney (21 May), Adelaide (4 June), Canberra (6 June) and Darwin (early August). And we have cost-effective 90-minute courses for ECR training.

  • Make Your Pitch forum: learn what makes a good pitch, write one, present and get feedback. Suitable for 10 to 200 participants and runs for 90 minutes. $2,000
  • Meet the Media: panel discussion with TV, radio and print journalists. Suitable for 10 to 100 participants and runs for 90 minutes. $2,000
  • Meet Business and Government: panel discussion with business and government advisors. Suitable for 10 to 100 participants and runs for 90 minutes. $2,000

More below and if you want to find out more call me on 0417 131 977.

In this bulletin:

Budget and election news

Was the budget good for science?
The vibe from our Canberra-connected science friends is mixed. Some are celebrating money announced for medical research, women in science, Questacon, ANSTO, a Space Infrastructure Fund, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory for dark matter research, and a centre for coastal, environment and climate research. Others are disappointed, with money from the $3.9billion Education Investment Fund shifted to a new emergency response fund, and actual or effective funding cuts to university research.

Media stories and science sector responses to the 2019-2020 Federal Budget:

Solve it with science

One hundred sector leaders representing 70,000 scientists and technologists have collectively shared their priorities for the Federal Election. They urge decision makers to ‘solve it with science’.

“We want Australia to be a top 10 investor in research and development, and we hope to see the government elected in May reversing recent funding cuts and establishing a Research Future Fund to complement the work of the Australian Research Council,” said Science & Technology Australia President Prof Emma Johnson AO.

Read the joint communique outlining the group’s priorities at the STA website.

More medical research

The Association of Australian Medical Research Initiatives (AAMRI) is calling on all parties and candidates to show their commitment for Australia’s future health and wellbeing. They want to see the Medical Research Future Fund fully funded, continued support for new discoveries through NHMRC programs, and more effort towards secure and rewarding career pathways so that Australia retains its best medical researchers.

Read AAMRI’s full election statement.

Space colonisation with a NASA astrobiologist, an Indigenous hackathon, science meets sewer soap: get set for National Science Week 2019

Last year, 1.2 million Australians got involved in 2,100+ registered National Science Week events around the country. Over 3,000 media stories mentioned National Science Week, with many more covering the events and science in general.

This year’s program runs from 10 to 18 August and will feature NASA astrobiologist Dr Darlene Lim visiting Australia, medical molecular art in Adelaide, the science Queens of Kings Park, and more.

So, how will you get involved?

Now is the time to plan and register your event and gain a piece of the science action. Registration is open on the Science Week website: Read our guide to writing a great event description.

Science in Public is again providing publicity support, so if you’re planning an event or speaker with strong media appeal, let us know—email and we’ll consider including it in highlights media releases.

Event grants

  • New South Wales has a regional grant round that aims to develop the state’s science engagement networks outside Sydney. Grants of up to $8000 are available to initiatives that bring together at least three organisations to create a NSW Regional Science Hub. There is also a grant program for 2019 Sydney Science Festival events. Applications for each close on Thursday 25 April.
  • The South Australia Community Grants program offers grants of up to $2500. Applications close Friday 2 May.
  • Tasmania is offering seed grants of up to $500. Applications close Monday 29 April.
  • Victoria offers community seed grants of $500 to $2000, and a separate grant round for libraries offering $500 each to successful applicants. Closes Wednesday 10 April.
  • The Queensland and Northern Territory 2019 grant rounds have closed for applications.
  • Grant rounds will open in ACT and Western Australia soon.

Click here to see all National Science Week grant information.

Briefing on Science Journalists Conference in Lausanne in July

Send your journos and science communicators to Switzerland in July…It’s the World Conference of Science Journalists, which we hosted in Melbourne in 2007.

Come along to a briefing at the Swiss Consulate in Sydney on Wednesday 17 April from 6pm to 8pm.

Science journalists from around the world gather every two years to exchange ideas and build their networks. Hear more about the conference over a glass of wine and Swiss chocolate.

There are a few free registrations on offer for Australia.

This briefing is hosted by Bernadette Hunkeler Brown, the Consul General of Switzerland and Science in Public.

Wednesday 17 April, 6pm – 8pm
Consulate General of Switzerland, 101 Grafton Street, Sydney

Register here.

Science prizes and opportunities

Eureka Prizes

The ‘Oscars of Australian science,’ the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes celebrate research, science communication and journalism, leadership, and students. There is a total of 18 prizes and a prize pool of more than $160,000 on offer. In 2019 there are two new prizes, for:

  • long-form science journalism
  • STEM inclusion: for an initiative that has been effective in increasing participation, interest and access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Finalists will be announced online in late July, and winners at a gala dinner on Wednesday 28 August.

Applications close Friday 3 May 2019.

More information at:

Australian Academy of Science 2020 honorific and research awards and fellowships

Nominations and applications for the Australian Academy of Science’s 2019 honorific awards, research conferences, research awards and travelling fellowships are now open.

The honorific awards recognise outstanding achievement in three career-stage categories. Nominations close Wednesday 1 May.

Applications for 2020 research conferences and funding awards, and travelling fellowships close on Saturday 1 June 2019.

More information at:

2019 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize)

A US$25,000 (equivalent to A$35,000 – $36,000) prize is up for grabs for an Australian researcher aged under 40 investigating nature.

The ASPIRE Prize is an annual award which recognises young scientists from APEC economies who have demonstrated a commitment to both excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication, and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.

The theme chosen for this year is ‘natural laboratories’. This theme focuses on scientific developments through discovery in nature, or natural laboratories, which can include determining risks in infrastructure by observing weather patterns and protecting communities through enhanced detection of tectonic activity.

Entries close Saturday 13 April.

More information at the Australian Academy of Science website.

Science awards and prizes open in SA, WA and Victoria

South Australia
The search is on for SA’s top scientists, researchers and teachers as part of the 2019 South Australian Science Excellence Awards. The South Australian Scientist of the Year will receive a prize to the value of $25,000.

Other category winners will receive a prize to the value of $10,000 to use towards their career development. Nominations close Friday 26 April.

Nominations are also open for the Unsung Hero Awards of South Australian Science. They’re looking for heroes of scientific research and science communication. Nominations close on Friday 31 May.

Western Australia: Premier’s Science Awards
Applications are now open and will close on Tuesday 23 April. There are five prize categories with a total prize pool of $90,000.
More information at:

The Royal Society of Victoria Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research
The Medal is awarded to a scientist from one of four fields, which rotate annually. In 2019 the category is Earth Sciences. The program is now open for nominations, closing Wednesday 31 July.

More information at:

Opportunities for rising science stars and women in science

ABC Top 5 Media Residency

Applications are now open for two media residencies (Science and Humanities) at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Each of the two programs brings five selected PhD-qualified early career researchers (within seven years of completing their PhD) to the ABC for an intensive two-week media bootcamp. The scheme aims to equip emerging scholars with media and communication skills to help them reach and engage a wide audience for their specialist knowledge and research.

Applications close Wednesday 1 May.

More information at:

Tall Poppies

The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards recognise excellent up-and-coming researchers, alongside a proven ability and passion to engage the wider community with science.

Run by the Australian Institute for Policy & Science, these awards are often a stepping stone to other science awards. Nominations close Wednesday 10 April.

More information at:

STEM sidebyside: professional development for women in science

Applications are now open for the STEM sidebyside program, run by veski and Monash University. This program will feature workshops and networking opportunities to empower women at different career stages with the skills, networks and mindset to develop and achieve their career goals within STEM industries. The program is open to eligible Australian citizens and permanent residents around the country. However, all program sessions will be held in Melbourne and associated travel costs would have to be self-funded.

The program has two streams:

  • Leading the Way: for mid-career emerging leaders
  • Stamina: for women who want to, are about to, or have just, return(ed) to work within a STEM industry.

Applications close Thursday 18 April.

The science of sustainable energy at the Shine Dome

Registrations are now open for Science at the Shine Dome, which will be held in Canberra from Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 May. This year’s theme explores the role of science in a sustainable energy future.

The event will kick off with a one-day symposium ‘Power Up Australia, the sustainable way’, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, will deliver a keynote address to open the symposium.

More information at:

Can media help you boost your research impact? Find your story and your audience

Do you need help with communication and outreach training, mentoring and support to ensure your work has impact?

In a recent Nature careers column, Birkbeck’s Centre for Medical Humanities at University of London researcher Caroline Kamau described how gaining media coverage is a means of demonstrating impact, helping people and informing the public. We can help you do the same.
Join us for one of our courses coming up around the country:

  • Melbourne: Tuesday 9 April, Wednesday 29 May
  • Perth: early May (date TBC)
  • Sydney: Tuesday 21 May
  • Adelaide: Tuesday 4 June
  • Canberra: Thursday 6 June
  • Darwin: early August (date TBC)
  • Tasmania: To be confirmed
  • Other cities on demand.

Conveying the complexity of your research, your life’s work, into a 30-second grab for the media, or one-minute elevator pitch can be hard. The solution is to shape the essence of your science into a story.

Join our one-day media and communication training workshop and get some help.

We will help you find the right words to explain your research in a way that works for the media, as well as for government, industry and other stakeholders.

Two experienced science communicators will work with you to find the story in your research.

Over the years we’ve helped Monash launch the world’s first printed jet engine, revealed the loss of half the coral on the Great Barrier Reef, helped CERN announce the Higgs boson, and revealed the link between CSIRO’s Wi-Fi patent and Aussie astronomy.

Working journalists from television, print and radio will join us over the course of the day to explain what makes news for them. And you’ll get the chance to practice being interviewed in front of a camera and on tape.

The day’s insights and training will help you feel more comfortable in dealing with journalists when media opportunities arise.

Registration is now open via EventBrite.

Science in Public—planning, mentoring, communicating

Contact us to find out more about our services to train, mentor, plan and deliver media and communication strategies for science.

We offer:

Communication plans, mentoring and training
We can review your stakeholders, messages and tools and help you and your communication team refine your plans. We offer this service for individual announcements or for a whole program or institute.

Media releases, launches, and campaigns
We can help you develop an outreach program, from a simple media release through to a launch, a summit, a conference, or a film.

Publications and copy-writing
From a tweet to a newsletter, from a brochure to a Nature supplement—we can write compelling and accurate, science-driven copy that captures the essence of your story and purpose.