Cuts, more cuts and confusion: Australian science in 2014?

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

I fear that that cuts and community confusion about science and evidence will be major challenges for science in 2014.  How can we encourage policy makers to use science properly in their deliberations on everything from climate change to public health and conservation? How can we support continuing funding for science?

I think we’ll need to work harder than ever to tell voters compelling stories of the impact of science on their lives.

Here are some ways I think you can do that.

  1. Get your marketing and communication people signed up to the Australian Science Communicators biennial conference from 2-5 February in Brisbane. Warwick Anderson, Aidan Byrne and other science leaders will set the scene at the opening plenary. The conference will give your team critical knowledge and networks that they’ll need in 2014.
  2. Get your early career researchers out in public space – engaging with events like Science Meets Parliament, 17-18 March next year in Canberra.
  3. Nominate your best research colleagues for prizes – these are powerful platforms for science promotion to government – as Terry Speed and his fellow winners demonstrated at this year’s Prime Minister’s Prizes.
  4. Support your peak lobby groups including Science and Technology Australia, Research Australia, ASMR, AAMRI, and the Academies.

And we of course have some services to assist you.

  1. We’re preparing our annual showcase of Australian science, Stories of Australian Science 2014 for publication in February. We welcome submissions of the best of Australian science. It will reach all federal MPs, journalists in Australia and around the world, and many others.
  2. We’re offering communication audits. 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.
  3. Our media training courses will be available in most states over the course of the year and we can run them anywhere with a guarantee of eight places.
  4. If you’ve got people at the AAAS in Chicago this February, we’ll be holding our Australian science dinner for international science reporters with the support of Inspiring Australia and the Australian government. Contact me for more information.

This year Science in Public has grown, in response to demand. There are now 14 people on the team and we’re all fired up and ready for another big year.

Best wishes for Christmas and the holiday season.


On behalf of Sarah, Tim, AJ, Margie, Tamzin, Toni, Laura, Chris, Tanya, Melissa, Stef, Lou and Sam.

In this bulletin:

Preparing for the science communication challenges of 2014

In the first week of February 2014, Australia’s science communicators are gathering in Brisbane for our biennial conference.

The conference is for anyone making science, technology and innovation accessible – from journalists to museum designers, scientists to teachers. We’re contributing to several sessions including the opening plenary when:

  • Warwick Anderson, head of the NHMRC
  • Aidan Byrne, head of the ARC
  • Oona Nielssen, head of CSIRO communication

will join me to reveal the communication challenges they’re facing. I anticipate a lively discussion as we come to grips with keeping science on the national agenda in Canberra.

Other topics include:

  • contentious science and communicating risk: what lessons can we learn from the immunisation and climate change debates?
  • business and industry: with representatives from BHP, GBS venture capital and others discussion science communication in public engagement
  •  ‘open or perish’: the rise of open-access journals and publishing  with open access pioneers and ARC and NHMRC representatives

There are also many professional development opportunities including:

  • telling stories with images using smart phones and tablets
  • evaluating the success of outreach programs
  • working with scientists in developing countries to communicate science
  • and a bit of speed networking

More details about the program at:

For your diary: key science prize dates for 2014

  • Benefit from the attention and boost a science prize can bring to you and your institute.
  • Major award deadlines in February and March.

Winning a prize can be a huge boost for researchers. It’s a chance for young leaders to build their profile, or for experienced researchers to draw attention to their work and their institute.

And aside from the cash, prizes often open new opportunities – to meet with the Prime Minister and other political leaders, for example, or to promote your work to the heads of Australia’s major funding bodies.

We’ll have more details in January on these prizes and on some new ones.

Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal, a new medal for women up to 15 years post PhD from any branch of the natural sciences

Nominations are open now and the deadline is 10 February 2014.

More at

Australian Museum Eureka Prizes will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014, with prizes for research and innovation; leadership and commercialisation; science communication and journalism; and school science.  Nominations open 7 February and close 1 May.

More at:

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, a $300,000 major prize, plus awards for early career research and science teaching.

Nominations open early in February and normally close in mid-March.

Dates will be announce at

Fresh Science, the national competition for early-career researchers wanting to share their work with the media and the public.

Nomination will open in March and closes April, followed by state and national finals.

Dates will be announced at

L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships are awarded to three early-career female researchers.

Nominations open Monday 3 March and need to be submitted by Wednesday April 16.

More at:

We’ll let you know about prizes throughout 2014 via this bulletin and on our calendar of Australian science prizes at

And if you have a prize to promote, please feel free to get in touch. We’re happy to discuss how we might help.

Get your science seen by journalists, politicians and science leaders

There’s still time to add your story to our annual showcase of Australian science, Stories of Australian Science 2014, for publication in February.

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

Each story is roughly 250 words long, and is accompanied by an image. 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: all you need to do is tell us what you’d like to include in the publication, and give us the scientist’s contact details.

We’ll only publish text you (and/or your scientist) has approved, and we’ll either use an image you supply (with appropriate credit) or an appropriate stock photo.

Each story includes the scientist’s or representative’s contact details to enable interested people to follow up with your organisation.

Taking part

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 if you’d like to include your best science of 2013 in this year’s storybook.

The stories will be online in the new year and the print version will be distributed in February 2014. For each story you book we’ll send you up to 100 copies for your own use (if you want more, we can arrange extra for you at cost price).

If you’re interested in participating in Stories of Australian Science 2014, drop me an email or give me a call.

Meet the world’s leading science journos at AAAS

In February hundreds of the world’s science journalists converge on the AAAS – the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

We take advantage of this annual gathering by inviting 50 of these leading journalists to join us for dinner on the last night. Our guests at the last dinner included: the science editors of The Economist, BBC TV News, The Independent, writers from Nature, Science and other publications, most of the board of the World Federation of Science Journalists, and our own Robyn Williams from the ABC.

If your organisation has genuinely international stories that you want to put in front of a global audience then talk to me. If you have staff going to the AAAS then we’d like to invite them too.

The only catch – it’s in Chicago, in February… cold.

Metabolism, inflammation and ageing: the Future of Experimental Medicine

Ask today’s leading researchers tomorrow’s big questions at the Future of Experimental Medicine Conference in March 2014

We’re only just starting to understand the roles of metabolism, inflammation and ageing in disease. But we are already discovering some really interesting things:

  • Ageing at the cellular level is one of the biggest risk factors for cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.
  • A decrease in the diversity of flora in our gut may be a contributing factor to many modern illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and even skin diseases.
  • Immune cells found in the gut and lungs, and linked to asthma, may also contribute to skin diseases such as eczema.

The Future of Experimental Medicine Conference is your chance to hear from world experts and ask them the questions you need answers to, whether you’re a clinician or a basic researcher.

What: The Future of Experimental Medicine: Inflammation in Disease and Ageing

When: 16 to 19 March 2014

Where: Manly, Sydney

More details at:

The conference will examine frontiers of current basic research and clinical applications, covering topics including immunology, cell migration and signalling, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, allergies and skin diseases.

The conference is intended for researchers and clinicians at any stage of their careers and we have generous discounts for students. We’re also providing opportunities for early career researchers and students to present via hot topics oral and poster presentations.

The inaugural conference is supported by The Charles Perkins Centre (The University of Sydney), EMBO, AbbVie, Janssen-Cilag, Sydney Medical School LaVision, Leica, CSL, and the NSW Government’s Office for Health and Medical Research.