In this bulletin:
- Fresh science discoveries shared over a pint – 22 July
- Doherty and Frazer talk health literacy – 7 August
- Junior researchers wanted for the national stem cell conference
- Send your best PhDs to Europe for the EMBL PhD Symposium
- Nominations open for Australian Institute of Physics awards
- Media training for scientists in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
Australian science communication stacks up pretty well against the best of Europe. That’s my overall impression from five weeks in Europe visiting CERN, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Nature, the European Bioinformatics Laboratory, and the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki.
I suspect one of the reasons is that Australian scientists are hungrier. The pan-European institutions often have secure funding from member states and are perhaps a little complacent about broad public engagement.
I was also struck by the confusion about the difference between science journalism and science communication. If it’s funded by the scientists or government (as most of my team’s work is) then it’s not journalism, even though we aim to write in a journalistic style. It’s a mistake to think that new media reduces the need for independent reporting.
Back in Australia we’re entering the seasonal celebration of the best of Australian science. Next week you’ll hear about the 2013 Fresh Scientists, in August we’ll help announce the L’Oréal Fellowships, in September the Eurekas, and in October the PM’s Prizes. There’s a list of this year’s Freshies below and if you’re in Melbourne next week you can meet them at the pub talking about everything from sea squirt sperm to ageing and beer.
And in August in Melbourne Peter Doherty and Ian Frazer discuss the importance of health literacy and the public understanding of science-based medicine.
There are also grants for young researchers to attend the National Stem Cell Conference and to visit EMBL in Germany and prizes for physics research and service.
Science discoveries shared over a pint – Fresh Science at the pub
This year’s 12 Fresh Science national finalists, picked from five state finals involving 60 young scientists are:
- Julie Lovisa, James Cook University
- Wai Woo, Monash University
- Alexe Bojovschi, RMIT University
- Hossein Mokhtarzadeh, University of Melbourne
- Robin Beck, University of New South Wales
- Angela Crean, University of New South Wales
- Christian Reynolds, University of South Australia
- Yee Lian Chew, University of Sydney
- Aliaa Shallan, University of Tasmania
- Lee Hickey, University of Queensland
- Evan Stephens, University of Queensland
- Ruth Thornton, University of Western Australia
We’ll be issuing media releases about their discovery in the coming weeks – starting with Wai’s research into using alcohol to make better asthma inhalers and Ruth’s research into using a cystic fibrosis treatment to help treat children with inner ear infections.
If you’re going to be in Melbourne this Monday 22 July, you can hear about the discoveries of all the Fresh Scientists over a beer at the Duke of Kent.
Science performer Chris Krishna-Pillay will introduce this year’s 12 Fresh Science national finalists and put them under the pump, challenging them to describe their work in rhyme, reason or verse… and using the odd firework. Details here.
About Fresh Science
Fresh Science is a national program that trains early-career science researchers to tell their stories of discovery to the media and public.
We’ve selected 12 ‘Freshies’ to participate in the national finals, from 22-25 July, on the basis of their ability to communicate and the newsworthiness of their discovery.
So far they’ve had to write their own press releases, practise radio and TV interviews, polish their ‘elevator pitches’, come up with answers to tricky questions, and entertain a crowd over a glass of wine.
The four-day national final will provide them with more in-depth training in presentation and talking to media. We aim to teach them how to talk and write about their research in plain English and in different ways depending on the audience involved – including business and government.
If you want to find out more about the program, visit www.freshscience.org.au
Doherty and Frazer talk Health Literacy – August 7
We frequently hear about general literacy levels in the community, and even about science and maths literacy, but rarely about the wider public understanding of evidence based health matters. How can we extract the evidence-base in public discussion on vaccines, diets, cancer etc.
At Giants of Medicine we’ll hear from Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty and 2006 Australian of the YearProfessor Ian Frazer.
Discussion will be moderated by Reema Rattan, Health Editor for The Conversation, followed by 20 mins of Q&A.
Giants of Medicine
Health Literacy: Public Health & Evidence-based Medicine
When: 7 August, 2013, 6:30–8:00 pm
Where: The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Tickets: $10, students $6.50
Sponsored by Embiggen Books, Australian Science Communicators, The Rationalist Society, The Conversation and Inspiring Australia.
Opportunities for junior researchers to attend stem cell conference
Up to 50 travel grants and prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia
Students are being offered support to attend the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research in Brisbane.
Flights and registration for 50 students and early-career researchers will be funded by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, as part of their commitment to promote the study and use of stem cells.
This conference is a great chance to boost your profile, with plenty of speaking spots for junior researchers, awards for posters and presentations, and a special networking event.
The grants are only available to members of the Australian Society for Stem Cell Research – but you can join any time, and there are discounts for students.
Submit an abstract and apply for a grant at www.asscr.asnevents.com.au/awards before Friday 26 July.
Join the EMBL PhD Symposium with a travel grant from EMBL Australia
Australian PhD students in the life sciences are invited to apply for one of 20 travel grants to attend the 15th EMBL PhD Symposium in Heidelberg, Germany.
Apply online at www.emblaustralia.org/students/grants
The Symposium brings together fellow students from around the world for a three-day series of talks by leading experts but also by students themselves. It’s an opportunity to make connections with students from around the world and get new insight into your own research direction.
The program is organised each year by first-year PhD students at EMBL, and includes networking opportunities, poster sessions and workshops with experts.
This year’s program has been announced, with talks and presentations on the theme “Competition in Biology – The Race for Survival from Molecules to Systems”:
From enzyme catalysis to ecosystems dynamics, biology is riddled with competition. DNA sequences compete for transcription factor binding to be expressed, cells in communities often compete for resources, pathogens compete against host immune systems, and on a larger scale, organisms compete against each other for limited resources in their environment.
New Handbook sends ‘buyer beware’ message for unproven stem cell therapies
Sorting science-based advice from snake oil sales pitches
An increasing number of expensive, unproven and unethical stem cell therapies are being offered in Australia and overseas, advertised on slick internet sites with glowing testimonials. A new publication will help people living with illness make informed choices about their treatments.
From successful bone marrow transplants to shock stories of bone fragments growing in eyelids, emerging stem cell therapies have both great potential and great risk.
The Australian Stem Cell Handbook summarises the pros and cons of medical travel, potential risks and benefits, and helps patients evaluate their options when considering local options or travelling overseas for treatments.
The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia has developed and published the Handbook in conjunction with Stem Cells Australia.
Nominations open for Australian Institute of Physics awards
Last month, the AIP recognised Professor Lloyd Hollenberg from the University of Melbourne for excellence in research in physics in Australia; and Professor David Jamieson, also from the University of Melbourne, for outstanding service to physics. These annual awards are once again open for nomination:
- The Walter Boas Medal, which recognises excellence in research in physics in Australia (in the past five years) by an AIP member – nominations close 1 August 2013
- The AIP Award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia – a Branch Committee, or three members of the AIP, may nominate an individual AIP member who has made an exceptional contribution to physics as a discipline by 1 August 2013
More info at www.aip.org.au/info/?q=content/aip-medals-prizes-awards or from Olivia Samardzic, Special Project Officer AIP, at email@example.com or by phone on (08) 7389 5035.
Media training for scientists in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth
Our course will help you distil the essence of your science into a story that will work for the media and others.
In this one-day course, you’ll meet three working journalists from print, TV and radio who will give you practice in being interviewed and teach you about life in the newsroom.
We’ve now selected dates for media training courses to the end of 2013.
Melbourne: Thursday 15 August; Tuesday 3 September; Tuesday 15 October
Adelaide: Tuesday 17 September
Perth: Tuesday 1 October
Sydney: Monday 11 November
We also hold courses or in other locations if there’s sufficient demand, and we welcome expressions of interest for possible future courses. If you can deliver four people we can probably find others in your area to make a course viable.
More details at www.scienceinpublic.com/training