Aussie science in a cold Chicago, Famelab, travel grants and more

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

I’m writing from a cold Chicago where, this weekend, I’m holding a dinner for international journalists (and a few policy-makers) to celebrate and showcase Australian science.

We’ll have science editors from the Economist, Asahi Shimbun, The Financial Times and many others.

International journalists love stories of Australian science and we will provide! We’ll have highlights from 2013 and from our coming edition of Stories of Australian Science. If you have any exciting developments you’d like me to mention on Sunday drop me one bullet point, and a weblink and I’ll see if I can fit it in.

Stories of Australian Science is being finalised but we can still take a few late submissions.

Back in Australia:

Applications are open now for the EMBL Australia PhD Travel Grants

PhD students have limited opportunities to travel overseas for training and networking.

But EMBL Australia’s student program offers travel grants and support for any Australian PhD student to spend time at European Molecular Biology Laboratory campuses in Germany, France, Italy or the UK.

Students can join training courses, conferences or symposia across Europe, learning from experts in a wide range of life sciences.

The following travel grants are available in 2014:

  • The EMBL Australia PhD Travel Grants provide up to $3,500 for short trips of less than six weeks, or up to $7,500 for a longer visit of up to 6 months. Applications for travel between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2014 are now open, until 4 April 2014.
  • The EMBL PhD Symposium Grants offer travel to Europe to attend the annual EMBL PhD Symposium – a conference designed for PhD students, organised by PhD students. Applications will open in April/May 2014 for travel to the symposium in October 2014.
  • The EMBL Australia’s International PhD Program enables students to undertake their PhD at an EMBL facility in Europe. The PhD is jointly awarded and co-supervised by EMBL and the student’s Australian university, and students are provided with a stipend and travel support.

These grants are open to PhD students studying life sciences at any Australian university or research institute.

Later in 2014, EMBL Australia will also be offering training opportunities in Australia.

For more details on those courses, and all of EMBL Australia’s student programs, head to:

Awards for measurement research

Measuring is done in the kitchen, at cafés, in industry and in laboratories every day. The National Measurement Institute (NMI) is Australia’s peak measurement body responsible for biological, chemical, legal, physical and trade measurement.

They’ve just opened nominations for two awards, one for early career researchers, and the other for a highly significant contribution or long-standing eminence in the field.

Here are the details they’ve given us:

NMI is marking World Metrology Day by presenting two awards, the Barry Inglis Medal and the NMI Prize for outstanding achievement in measurement.

The value of each award is $2,000 and the closing date for nominations is 31 March 2014. Winners will be announced on World Metrology Day, 20 May.

For more information:

Passionate about your science? Nominate for FameLab Australia

Nominations for FameLab Australia are now open and close 5pm, Thursday 27 February 2014. Apply online now at

We’re looking for passionate early career researchers with a peer-reviewed discovery to present their science as part of the inaugural FameLab Australia – a new competition presented by the British Council, Cheltenham Festivals and Fresh Science.

The competition builds on Fresh Science, but with a twist.

Plain speaking is essential. Music, song, poetry and props are optional.

Applicants can be honours students, graduate students or up to 5 years post-PhD, and researching in any field of science, maths or engineering.

FameLab Australia will add an international element of performance to the existing Fresh Science program, which celebrates the achievements of early career researchers and shares their work with media and the public.

Up to 60 early career researchers will be chosen to join us at State Heats across Australia, where they will:

  • learn to find the story in their science and explain their work to a general audience
  • practice their media skills with journalists from TV, radio and the papers
  • get on stage to present their work to the public, with three minutes to inspire them…and our panel of judges.

The top two from each State Heat will jet over to Perth for the National Final.

Over four days, they’ll perfect their pitch with help from experts in communication and presentation, and we’ll tell the media and science community about their work.

The winner of the national final will head to the UK to represent Australia at the FameLab International Grand Final, at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in June.

Applying is easy. Applicants need to:

  1. Tell us about their work in our short online form
  2. Show us their passion in a simple video – a smartphone will do – explaining their discovery

To apply online, and for key dates and selection criteria, head

Get your work noticed: Stories of Australian Science 2014

We can still take a couple of late submissions to our annual showcase of Australian science, Stories of Australian Science 2014.

We welcome submissions of the best of Australian science. The storybook will reach all federal MPs, journalists in Australia and around the world, research leaders, and many others.

See last year’s Stories, and our other similar publications at You can search the storybooks by state, organisation or field of science, and we can also feed stories to your website.

We write the stories for you, but we’ll only publish text you (and/or your scientist) have approved.

There are a range of options available from $1,200 + GST for a single story through to $950 +GST per story for five or more stories (with a feature page).

Please email me on or give me a call on 03 9398 1416 if you’d like to include your best science in this year’s storybook.

More details at:

Media training for scientists – 2014 dates

Research America has new poll data showing that only 31 per cent of Americans believe scientists effectively communicate the impact of science. In Australia, our research efforts are too often invisible.

There is a role for every scientist to talk about the value of their science. We all have to be better at presenting science in public so that we maintain both public and government support.

Our media training course teaches you how to get involved in making the case for science – how to feel more comfortable with the media, and to have more control of your media appearances.

If you have new results, a discovery, a top-notch publication that you would like media coverage for; or just want to know how the media works, spend a day with us.

Our course is presented by two experienced science communicators, along with three working journalists from television, print and radio who conduct practice interviews.

We’re now taking bookings for courses in the first half of 2014:

  • Melbourne: Monday 24 February (full – wait list available), Wednesday 30 April, Wednesday 2 July
  • Darwin: Tuesday 4 March
  • Canberra: Wednesday 19 March
  • Townsville: April (date TBC)
  • Sydney: Tuesday 6 May
  • Adelaide: Friday 23 May
  • Perth: Monday 14 July

Other cities on request.

More information about the course and bookings at:

Contact to chat about the options

From yeast to coral reefs: systems biology in Melbourne

International Conference on Systems Biology – Deadline for abstracts extended to 28 February

  • How does a coral reef recover from a cyclone?
  • How do the habits of parents affect the success of IVF?
  • How does every cell in the heart contribute to its function?
  • How do we move from treating illnesses to optimising wellness?

Australia is quickly building a reputation for research in systems biology, and Melbourne is hosting the International Conference on Systems Biology later this year.

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a ‘systems biologist’, the team is looking for abstracts from:

  • Energy and the environment
  • Software modelling and data
  • High dimensional and multi-scale systems
  • Systems foundations, directions and outreach
  • Industry systems biology
  • Technology
  • Model systems and systems design

For more information, or to submit an abstract,

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.