Prizes, philanthropy, Mythbusters, PhD top-ups, The Economist and more

Bulletins, Science Communicators, Science stakeholder bulletins

A mixed bag of things this week.

Clunies Ross nominations are open to 29 August for superstars of applied science and technology.

Research Australia’s annual philanthropy conference kicks off in Melbourne on 19 August. Hot topics will include: the fundraising impact of debate on the medical research trust fund; how Cancer UK raised $830 million in a year.

Tomorrow in Melbourne you can meet the Science Editor of The Economist at an informal lunch I’m hosting at the University of Melbourne. Geoff Carr is here for AIDS2014 and has time on his last day in town to chat about science and The Economist.

You can also meet leaders of AIDS2014 at a public forum at the Melbourne Town Hall tomorrow. The panel is Nobel Laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, Salim Karim, Sharon Lewin, Matt Sharp and Leslie Cannold. More at the venue’s website.

A woman in the USA recently had a growth of mucus-producing nasal cells removed from her spine – the result of failed stem cell therapy. It’s a reality-check on where we’re at with stem cell science, but also feeds our imagination about its possibilities. Two stem cell pioneers will be speaking in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne about the potential, the reality, and the dangers of stem cell therapy. They are Irv Weissman, who discovered human blood-forming stem cells, and Ann Tsukamoto, a leader in the commercial development of stem cell medicine.

Also PhD top-up grants in physics, chemistry and biology at the new ARC Imaging Centre of Excellence.

And national tours for the Mythbusters, and astronaut Chris Hadfield.

More on all of these below.

Finally, Bill Shorten and other parliamentary leaders are keen for scientists to make submissions to the Senate inquiry into Australia’s innovation system. Submissions close on 31 July. More details are available at the Parliament of Australia website.

Kind regards,


In this bulletin:

Geoff Carr, The Economist’s Science Editor, in conversation this Thursday at University of Melbourne

Join us for a conversation with Geoff Carr, The Economist’s Science Editor, hosted by the University of Melbourne on behalf of the Parkville Precinct Communications Group, at a special viewing of the exhibition TRANSMISSIONS | Archiving HIV/AIDS | Melbourne 1979-2014. The exhibition showcases artworks, manuscripts, and other material from private collections and public archives explores the history of AIDS as seen in Melbourne.

Geoff Carr is in Melbourne for AIDS 2014. We have asked him if he could join us for a conversation about science, science journalism, The Economist, and his impressions from AIDS 2014.

12.30 – 2pm Thursday 24 July 

Light lunch is provided followed by discussion in the George Paton Gallery – Level 2, Student Union Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus.

This is a free forum aimed at journalists, science communicators and researchers.

Places are limited, RSVP essential to

Head to our website for more information.

Stem cells – the potential, the reality, and the dangers

Free public forums in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

When will stem cell medicine deliver on its promise for:

  • Cancer
  • Neurological diseases
  • Tissue regeneration.

What’s holding us back after the years of hype?

And why it’s a bad idea to pursue unproven stem cell treatments.

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia presents a free public forum with two of American’s top stem cell scientists who are also husband and wife:

  • Professor Irv Weissman – the discoverer of human blood-forming stem cells
  • Dr Ann Tsukamoto – a leader in the commercial development of stem cell medicine

Together with local experts in each city.

Further details and bookings at

What’s happening in stem cell research in Australia?

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia also recently published a snapshot of stem cell projects in Australia. The Snapshot of Stem Cell Research in Australia: May 2014 documents 150 projects and initiatives around Australia on stem cell research as of May 2014.

The snapshot aims to capture in one document the range of local current research, with the hope this will facilitate collaboration and networking among researchers.

Australia’s breadth of stem cell research reflects the country’s early pioneering work in the field: from the development of polymer scaffolding for stem cell-derived tissues in Queensland to adult central nervous system cell regeneration research in Tasmania; from lung tissue repair research in the West to potentially restoring eye sight using stem cells in the East.

The snapshot can be downloaded via the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia website.

Do you know a superstar of applied science and technology?

The Clunies Ross Awards recognise the risk and commitment it takes to make applied science work. From mining engineering to chemistry the awards acknowledge the contribution of scientists who have put in the hard yards to bring their idea to commercialisation, and the resulting economic, social or environmental benefits.

Nominations for the 2015 Awards are open now and close on 29 August 2014.

Past winners include: Professor Ian Frazer, inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine; Nobel laureate, Dr Barry Marshall, who discovered the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers; and Dr Fiona Wood, the inventor of spray-on skin.

This year the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) recognised:

  • Dr John Nutt, who helped pioneer the use of computers in engineering and contributed to the design of Sydney landmarks including the Opera House-for his commitment to the advancement of the engineering industry over the past 50 years
  • Professor Kevin Galvin, for his machine which revolutionised the effectiveness of mineral processing with a new way of extracting minerals from rock
  • Dr Ezio Rizzardo, Dr Graeme Moad and Dr San Thang, for Australia’s great polymer banknote technology-also used in everything from solar cells to drug delivery
  • Mr Ravi Ravitharan, Mr Peter Mutton and Mr Graham Tew, for their technical innovations in railway engineering which have been keeping Australia’s mining industry moving
  • Winthrop Professors Eugene Ivanov and Michael Tobar, for their invention of the world’s lowest-noise oscillators used in research, meterology, communications and defence.

For more on how to nominate, see the guidelines and visit the website for more information.

Enhancing philanthropy in health and medical research

  • What role does philanthropy play in health and medical research?
  • What can we learn from big overseas organisations?
  • How can research organisations use social media and crowdfunding?
  • How is the patient’s role in healthcare changing?

Find out at this year’s Research Australia Philanthropy for Health and Medical Research conference, held at the The Rialto Hotel in Melbourne, 19 August 2014.

The keynote speaker is Nick Grant, Director of Strategy for Cancer Research UK. Nick is a driving force in the world’s largest independent medical research charity for cancer, and he’ll be talking about the strategies and recent campaigns that have lead Cancer Research UK to become a household name that raised A$830m in donations in 2012 alone – an astonishing achievement considering 90% of all donations are £10 or less.

More at Research Australia’s website.

National Science week events

Mythbusters: behind the myths

A fantastical evening of on-stage experiments, audience participation, rocking video and behind-the-scenes stories. With this show, for the first time, fans join Jamie and Adam on stage and assist in their mind-blowing and mind-twisting approach to science.

See here for more details.

Chris Hadfield: from zero (gravity) to hero

All-singing, all-tweeting astronaut Chris Hadfield is coming to Australia in November. Throughout his 21 years as an astronaut and three spaceflights, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions-reigniting that collective sense of wonder first felt when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

More details available here.

For a full list of events and more information, visit the National Science Week website.

PhD students – help transform immunology and microscopy

The new ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging is offering PhD top-up scholarships in biology, chemistry and physics at:

  • UNSW
  • The University of Queensland
  • La Trobe University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Monash University

The Centre will award over 40 $5,000 top-up scholarships between 2014 and 2020.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging aims to provide an unprecedented understanding of how immunity works and to pioneer the next generation of imaging at the atomic, molecular, cellular and whole animal levels.

The Centre partners with ANSTO, the Australian Synchrotron, Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Germany, Leica Microsystems, and the University of Warwick.

Apply now: more details at the Centre’s website  or contact

Science in Public -planning, mentoring, communicating

Communication audits, mentoring and training:

We can review your stakeholders, messages and tools and help you and your communication team refine your plans for 2014. 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.


Niall Byrne

Creative Director

Science in Public

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PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015

03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977

Full contact details at