Grants, prizes and funding worth $3 million+; where is chemistry going?; and what are your Science Week highlights?

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

More than $3 million worth of science prizes, fellowships, grants and awards are open for nominations over the next couple of months, from $5K for young engineers to two CSL Centenary Fellowships worth $1.25million each.

This week, the Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research open—two $50,000 prizes for outstanding mid-career researchers working with stem cells in medicine, agriculture or any other field.

Read on for more.

We can help you make the most of Science Week

Last year, 1.3 million Australians got involved in 1,800 registered National Science Week events around the country. We’re the national publicists for Science Week, providing communication support for event organisers and briefing media outlets with tasty story leads.

If you have an event or topic you think has strong media potential, let us know and we’ll consider including it in our media releases and briefings. Email us at

And it’s not too late to create an event, or to register an existing event via

More below.

New media and engagement training dates

Do you (or any of your staff) need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media?

Join us for our scheduled one day courses around the country or talk to us about a customised course. More below.

  • Sydney – 31 August
  • Melbourne – 1 August, 12 September
  • Canberra – 5 September
  • Adelaide – 19 September
  • Perth – 21 September

Also in this bulletin:

The next 100 years in Australian chemistry

RACI celebrates 100 years of chemistry and looks to the future at Centenary Congress

2,500+ chemists in one place: what’s the role of chemistry in shaping the economy, now and in the future? What is e-drug discovery and what will it offer medicine? Can chemistry help save the planet through energy storage or cleaner production? How will chemistry address the challenges of the 21st Century?

In just under three weeks, Melbourne will host the RACI 100 Centenary Congress, celebrating the 100th birthday of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and bringing nine national, regional and international conferences under one congress roof.

Registrations are still open

Visiting speakers include:

  • ‘Trump’s Aussie mate’ Andrew Liveris – Australian-born, US-based chairman and CEO Dow Chemical Company, who Trump has appointed to lead his American Manufacturing Council.
  • Nobel Prize for Chemistry (2005) winner Robert Grubbs (Caltech), who won for his work on a multistep reaction process and catalysts to help it. The benefits can be cleaner, cheaper and faster reactions.
  • His Excellency Mr Ahmet Üzümcü – Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015 Nobel Peace Prize winner)
  • Frances Arnold (Caltech) – American scientist and engineer, and a pioneer of ‘directed evolution’, which uses chemical engineering to create useful biological systems such as highly reactive enzymes or microorganisms that convert biomass to alternatives fuels.
  • Martyn Poliakoff (University of Nottingham) – a green chemistry research leader working with supercritical fluids – gases compressed under so much pressure that they have properties of both gases and liquids. Martyn is also a star of the YouTube series The Periodic Table of Videos.

Conferences being held as part of the Congress include:

  • The RACI 17th Asian Chemical Conference
  • The World Conference on Carbon 2017
  • The 8th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry
  • The 11th Asian International Medicinal Chemistry Symposia

RACI 100 Centenary Congress will be held from 23 to 28 July 2017 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Register online.

Over $3 million in grants, prizes and more

The $50,000 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research

Applications open now until 4 August

Two up-and-coming leaders in stem cell science will be awarded $50,000 each to boost their career to the next level.

The Metcalf Prizes are open to mid-career Australian stem cell researchers. The winners will be chosen for their scientific excellence, proven leadership ability and the potential to have a continuing influence on stem cell research in Australia.

Last year the prizes went to James Chong for his work developing stem cell therapies for heart failure and Tracy Heng for her research bringing immunology and stem cell science together to make cancer treatment gentler and more effective for elderly patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders.

Read more about James’ research here, and Tracy’s research here.

Applications are encouraged from all fields – from agriculture to medicine. If you are working with stem cells, you are eligible. Last year’s unsuccessful applicants are also encouraged to apply again this year if they are still eligible.

Or if you know someone who is a worthy candidate, encourage them to enter. Encouragement from respected peers is often what gives emerging research leaders the confidence to put themselves forward. In our experience, almost all applicants for the nation’s science prizes, especially for the early-career prizes, were encouraged to apply by their colleagues or supervisors.

The Metcalf Prizes are an initiative of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

More at:

Two $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowships

Australian biomedical researchers are invited to apply for one of two CSL Centenary Fellowships, each worth $1.25 million over five years in support of discovery and translational medical research.

These fellowships are offered to outstanding mid-career scientists and aim to foster a thriving medical research community by supporting the development of science from benchtop to bedside—a recognised area of need in Australian research.

Applications are open until Monday 31 July.

More information

Last year’s inaugural Fellows were Geoffrey Faulkner and Steven Lane. Geoffrey is exploring the possibility that long-term memory might be stored in our brain’s DNA. Steven is working to improve survival for patients with acute leukaemia. Find out more about the 2017 CSL Centenary Fellows.

Steven Lane and Geoff Faulkner, the 2017 CSL Centenary Fellows, with CSL Chairman John Shine

Awarding health and medical research

The annual Research Australia Health & Medical Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations that have helped further Australian health and medical research through corporate giving, philanthropy, advocacy or their own research contributions.

Nominations are now open for the:

  • Peter Wills Medal for outstanding contribution
  • Advocacy Award
  • Griffith University Discovery Award – for an early-career researcher
  • Great Australian Philanthropy Award
  • Data Innovation in Health and Medical Research Award
  • Leadership in Corporate Giving Award
  • NSW Health Health Services Research Award
  • GSK Award for Research Excellence

Nominations close Monday 17 July and are submitted via this online form.

For more information about the awards, click here.

The 15th Annual Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards Night will be held at Metropolis, overlooking the Yarra River in Melbourne on Thursday 5 October.

Book tickets for the awards night.

Two $400,000 Westpac Research Fellowships

Is your work strengthening Australia-Asia ties, enabling positive social change, or focused on technology and innovation?

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is partnering with Australia’s leading research universities to offer two Westpac Research Fellowships valued at a minimum $400,000 over three years for outstanding early career researchers working in these areas.

Applications close Thursday 31 August.

More information

Meet some of the past Westpac Scholars

Grants for out-of-the-square brain cancer research

Cure Brain Cancer’s Early Career Fellowships (up to $115,000 per year for three years) aim to support bright young researchers to develop their career in brain cancer research. It is expected that fellows undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure that will lead to a more permanent position within the brain cancer research field. Applications close Friday 18 August.

The Innovation Grant (up to $200,000 over two years) aims to fund new research projects that deviate from existing paradigms and current lines of investigation. The grant allows investigators to follow leading observations and exploration of novel ideas in brain cancer research. The grant supports investigators to produce proof-of-concept data for their higher-risk projects and establish feasibility for future research and grant applications. Applications close 7 July 2017.

Both grants are helping the foundation meet its mission to increase brain cancer survival from 20 per cent to 50 per cent by 2023.

More information

Fellowships for clinicians working with Diabetes

JDRF Australia’s Mentored Clinician Researcher Fellowship (MCRF) aims to support and foster the careers of emerging clinician researchers who show potential to make significant progress towards curing, treating or preventing type 1 diabetes.

The fellowship provides salary support for 0.25FTE and funding for research training for two years, to enable active clinicians to take time away from their clinics to dedicate to research.

Applications close Friday 28 July.

Nominate for $5,000 young engineer prize

The Batterham Medal is an early career award for a graduate engineer who has achieved substantial peer/industry recognition for his/her work in the past five years.
The medal, and $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to one of Australia’s best young engineers at the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE)’s Oration Dinner on 24 November in Sydney.

Nominations close on 31 August.

The Batterham Medal Guidelines and Nomination form are online.

National Science Week 2017: are you in?

National Science Week gives people from all walks of life opportunities to meet scientists, do science, discuss hot topics and celebrate the contribution of Australian science to society, culture and the economy.

It’s the prime time for open days, events and broad science engagement.

As the national publicists, we’ll be providing communication support for event organisers and briefing media outlets with tasty story leads. If you have an event or topic you think might have strong media potential, let us know and we’ll consider including it in our media releases and briefings. Email us at

Make sure you register any events you’re holding on the National Science Week website. Registering is important—both for building the buzz and getting bums on seats!

Already, some of this year’s highlights include:

  • Life on Mars at the Sydney Opera House, with astrophysicists and NASA scientists.
  • Big Science Adelaide – a new festival bringing big issues, brilliant minds, great sights and top science to Adelaide’s CBD, with events such as SAHMRI’s exploration of Proton Therapy for cancer treatment.
  • Neuroscience meets music at the Harry Perkins Institute.
  • Catch a Rising Star events, with women in science touring regional Queensland.
  • The Questagame Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge online competition, where participants can join the botanic garden team of their choice and find and identify iconic Australian species.
  • Science Gallery Melbourne’s first exhibition/experiment ‘Blood’.
  • The Aurecon Bridge Building Competition, challenging senior students around Australia to put their engineering skills to the test.

National Science Week (12-20 August) has become one of Australia’s largest festivals and in 2017 it turns 20 years old. For more information about the week visit or email

From biofabrication to better batteries: IMPACT7 competition takes research from lab to life

On 1 August, finalist IMPACT7 researchers will pitch problem-solving projects to industry and the public.

They’ll be pitching to a group of ‘Impact Leaders’ including Charles Day (Office of Innovation and Science Australia CEO), Amanda Caples (Victoria’s Lead Scientist), Nicholas Gruen (CEO, Lateral Economics), and John Dyson (Investment Principal at Starfish Ventures).

It’s like Shark Tank, but for science, and the public are welcome.

The IMPACT7 finalists are:

  • Preventing global ecosystem collapses: Lucie Bland, Research Fellow, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University
  • Seeing small: LuciGem, diamonds for biomedical imaging: Carlo Bradac, Research Fellow, UTS
  • Biofabrication: the hospital of the future: Mathilde Desselle, Project Manager: Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology, QUT
  • LithSonic: Daniel Jewell, Project Manager, LithSonic
  • GEF-D (Geo Energy Foundation Design): Guillermo Narsilio, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Passive Radar: see without being seen: James Palmer, CEO, Silentium Defence
  • CONSULT: A brain surgery planning tool: Lee Reid, Research Fellow, Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO
  • Using bacteria to fight mosquito-borne disease: Perran Ross, PhD candidate, University of Melbourne

These researchers will get feedback and advice from the Impact Leaders, which audience members can learn from, too.

The day will be hosted by broadcaster Marc Fennell, with biomedical innovator and 2005 Australian of the Year Fiona Wood the keynote speaker.

It’s also an opportunity for building research and industry networks. Buy tickets online.

More information

Science meets Policymakers

75 scientists wanted to bring their insights to Canberra

Science meets Policymakers will bring up to 75 researchers and practitioners from a range of science and technology disciplines together with up to 75 policymakers from across government and agencies – to make connections and examine the intersection between the evidence base and policy development.

This full-day event will be held on 8 August 2017 in Canberra at the ANU Commons Function Centre.

Delegates will hear from experts in policy formulation and senior policymakers who are actively building plans in areas informed by, and important to, science and technology. The program also includes targeted workshops with national leaders in policy, which will increase understanding and build meaningful collaboration between scientists, technologists, and policymakers around topics of mutual interest and expertise.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Cathy Foley, Policy Chair, Science & Technology Australia
  • Dr Charlie Day, CEO, Office of Innovation and Science Australia
  • Dr Patricia Kelly, Director-General, IP Australia
  • Mr Malcolm Thompson, Department of Environment and Energy

More information

Communication and engagement training—book now for 2017

Do you (or any of your staff) need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media?

We offer a flexible range of training programs to help your researchers understand their audiences, the essence of their story, and how to build their profile with the audiences and stakeholders that matter for their projects and for their long-term career development.

Our offerings include:

  • Meet your audience: from government, business, and/or the media
  • Make your pitch: what’s the essence of your story
  • Build your profile: websites, media, social media
  • Make your story work for mainstream media
  • Presentation training: make your story come to life
  • Photography and videography for scientists.

“The biggest prize I received as a Fresh Science finalist was intensive media training by Science in Public,” says astrophysicist Alan Duffy. “I gained experience in different media formats such as radio and TV with practice interviewing, and invaluable coaching in how to tailor my message that I use to this day.”

For more information on a bespoke course, visit or call us on 03 9398 1416.

We also hold regular media and communication training workshops around Australia, for scientists and those who communicate science.

In 2017, our media and communication training course for scientists will be in:

  • Sydney – 31 August
  • Melbourne – 1 August, 12 September
  • Canberra – 5 September
  • Adelaide –19 September
  • Perth –21 September

Registration is now open for all courses via EventBrite. Or call us, 03-93981416.

In these courses, we’ll help you shape the story of your research into a form that works for the media, as well as for government, industry and other stakeholders. The day’s insights and training will help you feel more comfortable in dealing with journalists when media opportunities arise.

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 practise being interviewed in front of a camera and on tape.