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

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

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.

We also offer communication planning, web design, photography and social media. And we can help you get media coverage for your conference.

More below.

National Science Week – are you in?

Last year, 1.3 million people participated in over 1,500 activities during National Science Week. It’s a catalyst that makes it easy for anyone to hold a successful event.

So how will you use Science Week to celebrate your science this year? It’s from 13-21 August.

Highlights of the program so far include Steve Wozniak and Brian Cox touring the country, a national innovation summit, and Wildlife Spotter – the national experiment.

More below.

Kind regards,
In this bulletin:

National Science Week: are you in?

Last year, 1.3 million people participated in over 1,500 activities during National Science Week.

So how will you use Science Week to celebrate your science this year? It’s from 13-21 August.

Science Week is an ideal time to take your science out into the community. It gives Australians opportunities to meet scientists, do science, discuss the hot topics and celebrate its contribution to society and the economy.

This year’s big events include:

  • Apple co-founder and innovator Steve Wozniak
  • BBC presenter and rock star of astrophysics Brian Cox
  • biohacking with Ellen Jorgensen
  • a huge National Innovation Summit in Sydney
  • over a thousand science events
  • Wildlife Spotter – the national experiment inviting ordinary Australians to do real science, identifying animals from over a million images from automated cameras
  • a tech-savvy schools theme of ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’
  • and hundreds of activities in schools around the country.

The secret of Science Week is strength in numbers: local events and stories together build the buzz that becomes a national shout.

Now is the time to register any events you’re planning, whether it be a simple science-themed ‘Brain Break’ morning tea in your workplace or a mega-celebrity science public event. Registering is important – both for building the buzz and getting bums on seats!

Register any events you’re holding on the National Science Week website. And read our tips for writing a great event description.

We are providing national 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 media releases and briefings.

Email us at scienceweek@scienceinpublic.com.au.

Showcasing today’s defence technologies, and inventing tomorrow’s

The Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) is staging open days this week at its Melbourne laboratory for industry and academia, to showcase innovative technologies being developed to give the Australian Defence Force a capability edge.

Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky, said Partnerships Week was based on the successful event held in Adelaide last year.

“Our industry and university partners have said they value the interaction with our scientists and the opportunity to get involved with the specialist work we do for Australia’s defence and national security,” he said.

Dr Zelinsky said DST had the responsibility for managing the $730 million Next Generation Technology Fund identified in the recent Defence White Paper.

“To deliver on the Next Generation Technology Program, collaboration with industry and academia is critical, requiring multidisciplinary research by large teams working across institutional and national boundaries,” he said.

And here are some of the cool things they can tell us about.   

Adding 10 per cent to the life of Australia’s F/A-18 fighter jets

Defence scientists were asked to confirm that it was safe to keep flying the F/A-18s beyond their original service life rating of 6,000 hours (about 30 years of normal use). Would the aircraft be safe? Or would cracking become a danger?

The team put the vital parts of an F/A-18 into a test rig and put it through its paces day after day. The result – the planes can keep flying, keeping pilots safe and saving hundreds of millions of dollars. You’ll see the wing test rig at work – just like IKEA testing their furniture, but a bit more serious.

Testing acoustic tiles for Australia’s stealth submarines

The Collins Class submarines are amongst the quietest, stealthiest subs in the world, allowing them to propel through the ocean without being detected by sonar systems. Special sound-deadening (anechoic) coatings on submarine hulls contribute to the increasing stealth capability of modern subs.

The design, manufacture and performance of anechoic tiles (including their ability to sustain harsh operation conditions and not fall off during missions) has traditionally been the focus of DST research. Now DST are developing a new generation of acoustic tiles for potential use on Australia’s new submarine, the Shortfin Barracuda.

Australia’s most flexible Defence flight simulator

Credit: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Credit: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Air operations are complex. They can involve dozens of aircraft supported by aerial flight commanders, traffic controllers, and ground staff.

That makes real life training incredibly expensive. Even simulator training is complex and labour intensive. So DST researchers are developing new approaches to training teams in air operations.

The Air Operations Simulation Centre can also help the Air Force work out the best ways to crew new aircraft and operate systems.

Making a Bushmaster truck disappear

Vivienne Wheaton wants to make Army vehicles invisible – wherever they are. Her vision is of trucks that automatically sense their backgrounds and change colour as they move, for example from the bush to the city. Research at the University of South Australia is supporting this goal. Professor Peter Murphy will demonstrate some samples of the colour-changing materials produced by the university lab.

Can body armour be worn in the jungle?

Credit: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Credit: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

How long could you walk through a tropical rainforest wearing body armour?

Australian soldiers regularly train and work in hot environments, but the body armour that soldiers wear was designed for urban operations undertaken in the hot, dry climate of Afghanistan.

So would the current body armour increase the risk of heat injuries in a humid jungle environment?

Defence science researchers worked with 39 infantry soldiers over a two-week period at the Army Jungle Training Centre in Far North Queensland. They measured the thermal strain and heat injury risk as well as the usability and functionality of the body armour.

The field work was backed up by a sweating mannequin back in Melbourne. They found that wearing body armour in a jungle environment did not increase the risk of heat injuries. They also found that the Velcro straps were too noisy.

Developing autonomous technology to explore and map ‘around the corner’

Using autonomous technology to scout out and map hazardous urban environments following a disaster or a crisis, improving the safety of Australian soldiers and helping them to more quickly understand the disaster area and support humanitarian needs.

Two students from RMIT and Swinburne are assisting in the research.

Alternative Fuels Research

Could jets and tanks be powered with fuels from plants, waste fats, even donuts?

Meet the alternate fuels research team who can tell you about the intricacies of getting it right when it comes to fuelling the ADF’s aircraft.

About Defence Science and Technology Group

DST Group is the Australian Government’s lead agency responsible for applying science and technology to safeguard Australia.

It is Australia’s second largest publicly funded research agency after CSIRO.

Its annual budget is approximately $408 million and it employs approximately 2,300 staff, predominantly scientists, engineers, IT specialists and technicians. Around 800 are based at Fishermans Bend.

See more at: www.dst.defence.gov.au/discover-dsto

About Fishermans Bend

The Fishermans Bend site was established in 1940 for aeronautical research, initially as the Division of Aeronautics within CSIR which later became CSIRO. In 1949 it was incorporated into the first of a series of defence science organisations which are now known as Defence Science and Technology Group.

Defence scientists at Fishermans Bend have played major roles supporting the defence of Australia, including:

  • the Nulka ship missile decoy that protects Australian, US and Canadian ships from missile attack and has earned billions of export dollars for Australia
  • a series of studies that have helped Australia safely fly its military aircraft including:
    • fatigue tests of 222 Mustang wings in the 1950s
    • advice on the F-111 aircraft from 1968 to 2010 when the aircraft was withdrawn – DST research contributed to Australia flying the F-111 long after it had been retired overseas
    • full-scale testing of the F/A-18 Hornet started in 1995 and led to 24,000 of test ‘flying’
    • assessment of F/A-18 gearboxes, led to US redesign and saving millions in operating costs.

See many more achievements at: www.dst.defence.gov.au/discover-dsto/our-innovations

Running a conference? Get some media coverage

Got the best and brightest minds in your field attending a conference in Australia?conference

Why not use the opportunity to put your science, stories, speakers and issues in front of journalists, the public and government.

A well designed media program can increase the impact of your event on your community of interest, raise your profile locally, nationally and internationally, and focus government attention on your field and issues.

We can help you find the stories from your conference, run your media room, take care of your social media, arrange public talks for your speakers, and help attract more delegates.

See how other conferences have extended their reach with a media program: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/category/conferences

And media training around the country – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth

media trainingWe’ve also just announced our media and communication training dates for the rest of the year.

  • 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

Registration is now open for all courses via EventBrite.

In this course, 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.

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.

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

Find out more at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/training

Science in Public – planning, mentoring, communicating

Contact me 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 which captures the essence of your story and purpose.
Kind regards,

Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public

82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood VIC 3015
PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015

03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977