How does Nature rate your institution, PM’s Prizes open, global vaccines and more

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

Please help us identify the unsung achievers of Australian science for the Prime Ministers, and welcome to my occasional email to the science community on prizes and other activities.

Nominations open for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Do you know anyone of the calibre of Ian Frazer, John O’Sullivan, David Boger, John Shine, David Solomon and Ezio Rizzardo who hasn’t been recognised for their contribution to the nation?

Do you know early/mid-career scientists who merit national recognition?

And do you know of science teachers who are making a real difference in their schools and communities?

Please help us identify potential candidates for the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.  Each prize has a significant personal cash component. The closing date is 27 April.

The main prize – the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science – is worth $300,000.

There are also two awards for early- to mid-career scientists, both worth $50,000:

  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

And two prizes for science teachers, also worth $50,000:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Nominations close on April 27.

Nomination forms and more details at: the PM’s Prizes website.

How does Nature rate your university?

This Thursday 22 March, Nature publishes their Nature Publishing Index 2011 Asia-Pacific

The Index provides a unique insight into the quality and impact of Asia-Pacific science.

Which is the most productive university in the Asia Pacific?

Will Melbourne regain its 2009 crown as top Australian university or will Sydney hold onto its 2010 leadership position followed by Queensland and Monash.

Will James Cook University continue its march up the list?

Find out more on Thursday when all is revealed. We’re happy to brief media officers on embargo.

We’ve assisted with the editorial for the supplement and have written media releases for the top five countries.

The Index measures the output of research articles from nations and institutes in terms of publications in the 18 Nature-branded primary research journals in 2011.

More at from Thursday morning.

For Women in Science Fellowships open 1 April

This year L’Oréal is making some changes to its For Women In Science Fellowships.

Nominations are now also open to women researchers from New Zealand and the prize value has been increased to $25,000.

Nominations will open on Sunday 1 April and run until Tuesday 1 May.

The L’Oréal Fellowships are awarded to three female scientists with no more than five years of post-doctoral experience to assist their research at an Australian or New Zealand academic or research institution.

The Fellowships are worth up to AUD$25,000 over 12 months.

For more information, and for application forms (when they become available in April), please visit our L’Oréal For Women in Science site.

Media training for scientists – Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra

We’ve released our media training dates for the year:


  • Thursday 12 April
  • Tuesday 29 May
  • Wednesday 4 July
  • Tuesday 15 August
  • Thursday 27 September
  • Wednesday 14 November


  • Tuesday 5 June
  • Thursday 9 August
  • Tuesday 2 October


  • Wednesday 2 May
  • Wednesday 8 August
  • Oct/Nov date TBC – to follow the PM’s prizes for science

More details at

Vaccines to change the world

Over the next four years 250 million children will be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea, saving 4 million lives. Meet Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, and the man behind the campaign in forums in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

He’s speaking at:

ANU this Wednesday 21 March at 6.30 pm – details at

The University of Melbourne this Thursday 22 March at 6.30 pm

The University of Sydney, Friday 23 March at 8.45 AM. More at

Ian Chubb speaking in Melbourne at NICTA’s Big Picture seminar

On Wednesday 28 March, Chief Scientist Ian Chubb will be discussing Australia’s Future in Science and Technology as a part of NICTA’s Big Picture seminar series.

Ian will take on the decline in people following maths, engineering and science careers.

It’s from 5-7pm at The Spot Basement Lecture Theatre, University of Melbourne. More information here.

Women in science parliamentary friendship group

Kelly O’Dwyer, Federal member for Higgins and Amanda Rishworth, Federal Member for Kingston, has set up a woman in science parliamentary friendship group.

The first event, a cocktail reception, will take place in June – Elizabeth Blackburn will be the keynote speaker.

Penny Sackett, Cathy Foley and Suzanne Cory are supporting the group. I’ll have more information in the next month or so.

Melbourne wins conference on future biology

The cellular-wide impact of cancer; how pests interact with wheat plants; what characteristics of yeast give wine its taste: these are the sorts of complicated questions scientists from around the world will come to Melbourne in 2014 to discuss at the 15th International Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB 2014).

Systems biology uses all the tools of the biological and computer science revolutions to look at whole plants and animals. Over the next decade it is set to transform biology.

The bid was driven by EMBL Australia – Australia’s gateway to EMBL – the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Stories of Australian Science 2011 – our latest storybooks

We have a few copies of our latest publications:

They’re magazine-style print collections illustrating the diversity of Australian science. They’ve been distributed around the world via Australian embassies, as well as being sent to journalists and decision-makers across Australia.

We’ll be calling for stories later in the year for the next edition.

In the current editions you’ll read about:

  • Australian Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt and the search for dark energy
  • Indigenous perspectives of the night sky
  • the journey from wartime radar to The Dish to the Square Kilometre Array.

And you’ll meet:

  • past winners of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science
  • the brilliant young women of the L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships
  • the media-savvy 2011 Fresh Scientists.

Both of these storybooks are online at

We have a limited amount of spare copies, if you’d like some of either of these magazines for your institution, drop me an email on and I’ll see what we can arrange.

Fresh Science goes local

Each year for 15 years we’ve put 16 early-career scientists with peer-reviewed discoveries through a communication boot camp. Then we’ve put their stories out – generating 200 or more media stories each year.

This year we’re planning to add State finals. We’re looking for partners to help us run the event – and also, like many others, we’re waiting to hear if we have support from Inspiring Australia.

Australian Science Prizes calendar

We’ve created a database that brings together information about prizes and awards for scientists in Australia. You’ll find a broad range – from the Prime Minister’s Prizes to undergrad scholarships; awards for research, teaching and science communication; fellowships and scholarships.

You can filter to find prizes that you’re eligible for and interested in: perhaps just prizes for agriculture or health, for early-career scientists or students. Search for a prize you’ve already heard of, or simply browse the calendar to see what’s coming up soon.

You can check it out at If you notice any prizes that are missing, feel free to drop us an email for consideration.

Wining and dining international science journalists

Last month we took 40 of the world’s leading science journalists out to dinner in Vancouver and told them about

  • The Square Kilometre Array;
  • Illumination – economists doing useful things – developing a solar light that’s affordable to people living on $1 a day;
  • Stories of Australian Science (more on this below)

Our guests included the science editors from the Economist, BBC TV News, the Guardian, the Observer, and reporters from New Scientist, Discover, Discovery, Nature, Science and others.

We’re planning to do the same next year and welcome partners to help us. This year’s dinner was supported by the ANZ SKA bid team.

Who are Science in Public?

Science in Public is a specialist science communication agency based in Melbourne. Our team of eight science communicators, writers, and event managers assist organisations large and small around Australia. Read more about our work and our services at