Science prizes, awards, events and forums; plus media training around the country

Bulletins, Exclude from Home Page, Science stakeholder bulletins

Welcome to 2020 and our first bulletin of news and opportunities for the science world including our training courses kicking off in Sydney next week.

Forums and events

  • The Australian Financial Review is partnering with Science & Technology Australia to host a number of briefings. First one is on AI in Sydney.
  • The Universities Australia conference is coming up in Canberra. 
  • The Australian Science Communicators are meeting in Melbourne.
  • Our preposterous universe with Sean Carroll in February; and an evening with Peter Singer in June.
  • Catalysing Gender Equity 2020 is in Adelaide 20-21 February.

Awards, prizes and opportunities open

  • BridgeTech is offering personal development for medical technology commercialisation.
  • Science communicators are looking for this year’s unsung hero.
  • Women in STEM prize nominations are open in Queensland with three $5,000 bursaries.
  • Queensland also has three $5,000 TAFE Indigenous Pathways scholarships on offer.
  • The BioMelbourne Network is looking for 2020 women in leadership nominations.
  • Nominations for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will open on 6 February and close 12 March.

Sydney next week, then around the country: media and communication training
Find out how to get your science reported widely and accurately at our first media training workshop for the year in Sydney on January 22.

Then in: Melbourne (5 Feb, 29 April, 26 June), Perth (3 March, 2 June), Canberra (19 March), Adelaide (13 May) and Townsville (1 April).

Last year we ran more than 23 courses across the nation for hundreds of researchers. Our full-day workshops guide scientists on how to talk to the media and include practice interviews with working journalists. We also run forums on presenting, pitching, social media, and talking to business and government.

Boosting your research communication
Can we help you reach a wider audience? Last year we helped with more than 100 media releases, including several that put our client’s names in the New York Times, The Guardian, CNN and Seven News.

Highlights included: the warped and twisted Milky Way, grannies diving for venomous seasnakes, equity in astronomy, and announcements for the NHMRC on ‘mitochondrial donations’ and new alcohol guidelines that garnered comprehensive media coverage in Australia.

Talk to us about how to maximise the visibility of your research.

Fresh Science
Universities around the country are issuing releases on the 2019 Fresh Scientists. Highlights include international media and industry discussion of new lithium sulfur batteries that offer four times the storage; and stories on a shortage of homes for NT tree-rats, tracking bird flocks with weather radar, and the mechanism of peanut allergy.  

Thank you to the 19 universities who supported Fresh Science in 2019. We’ll be in touch soon about 2020.

Forums and events

AFR Future Briefings: Harnessing AI – 12 February in Sydney
2020 sees a new series of breakfast events from the Australian Financial Review – the AFR Future Briefings, supported by NBN Co and Science & Technology Australia (STA). These events will build on STA’s experience in bringing researchers and industry people together through its program, Science meets Business.

The first event – Harnessing AI, a breakfast in Sydney on Wednesday 12 February – is open for registration now. Future briefings will cover Health & Longevity (May; Melbourne), Connected Consumers (September; Sydney), and Security & Privacy (November; Melbourne).

More information here.

Australian Science Communicators conference –  16 – 19 Feb in Melbourne The trust crisis, bushfire safety, using animations for science communication, speed mentoring and a snapshot of creativity in science communication from 23 of the world’s leading science organisations.

Join science and technology communicators from around Australia at the annual conference in Melbourne. 15% off full conference if you use the code ScienceInPublic at checkout.

Book here: 
Universities Australia 2020 conference: Education Changing Lives – 26–27 February in Canberra
More than 65 speakers, 1,000 delegates and 40 partners and exhibitors are expected to attend this event to hear from visiting experts and discuss the challenges and future of the university sector.

This event is open for registration now. Discounted early bird rates are available until 27 January.

More information here.

An evening with Peter Singer
Have you ever wondered whether you’re actually a ‘good’ person? Join Peter Singer, once labelled “the most dangerous man in the world”, for an evening in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland or Melbourne.
Book online:

Our preposterous universe with Sean Carroll
We shouldn’t be here. Not really. It was never likely that one day trillions upon trillions of atoms would all come together and make a sentient little sack of anxiety to wander around the Earth for a few decades.
Bending time and space to his will, Sean Carroll is a physicist crossed with a philosopher.

You can hear him in Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Brought to you by Think Inc.

Gender equity conference 20–21 February 2020
Guided by the Women in STEM Decadal Plan and organised by the Academy of Science/SAGE.
Delegates will participate in a variety of workshops, seminars, gallery submissions and panels, each focused on progressing and implementing strategic recommendations and opportunities in the decadal plan.
More information here.

Awards, prizes and opportunities currently open

Queensland University of Technology’s BridgeTech Program 2020 applications open
The BridgeTech Program is a national professional development strategy that trains researchers and entrepreneurs on how to effectively navigate the med-tech commercialisation pathway.

Convened and administered by QUT, the program involves a consortium of partners, including companies, universities and industry associations.

The BridgeTech Program is a national professional development strategy that trains researchers and entrepreneurs on how to effectively navigate the med-tech commercialisation pathway.

Convened and administered by QUT, the program involves a consortium of partners, including companies, universities and industry associations.

Applications for the 2020 are now open and will close on 31 January
Find more here. 
ASC Unsung Hero Award of Australian Science Communication
Nominations are now open for the 2019 Unsung Hero Award of Australian Science Communication. They close at 5pm on Friday 31 January. The award will be announced at the ASC Conference in Melbourne in February.
More information here.
2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize – three $5,000 prizes
2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is open for submissions until 4 February. This state-wide competition is open to early to mid-career women working in STEM.

Three professional development bursaries of $5,000 will be granted to the winners of the Jury Award, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award, and the People’s Choice Award.

The winners will be honoured at a special event at the World Science Festival Brisbane in March.
More information here.
BioMelbourne Network’s Women in Leadership Award 2020 Nominations 
These awards recognise and champion women who work in, or support, the health industry – including biotechnology, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and digital healthcare – whether as executives, management, R&D practitioners, suppliers, service providers or in other roles engaged with the sector. Nominations close 11 February.
Advance Queensland – TAFE Queensland Indigenous Pathways Scholarships – $5,000 each
These are open for application now. This initiative focuses on supporting Indigenous students to gain qualifications to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths sectors.

More information here.  

On the horizon: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – $750,000 total prize pool
Heads up: nominations for Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will open on 6 February and close on 12 March.
More information here.

Media and communication training workshops

Find out how to get your science reported widely and accurately: book now for Sydney 22 January. More dates and locations here

Meet journalists from television, radio and newspapers. Talk to them about how they report science and what they look for in a story.

Build your confidence by doing some practice interviews on camera and on tape.

Work with two science communication professionals to finesse the key points for telling your science story.

Understand how the media works and how you can minimise the risk of it going wrong.

Book into one of our full-day media and communication training workshops.

  • Sydney
    • Wednesday, 22 January
    • Tuesday, 21 April
  • Melbourne
    • Wednesday, 5 February 
    • Thursday, 29 April 
    • Friday, 26 June 
  • Perth
    • Tuesday, 3 March 
    • Tuesday, 2 June 
  • Canberra
    • Thursday 19 March 
  • Townsville
    • Wednesday 1 April
  • Adelaide
    • Wednesday 13 May

Cost is $800+GST per person, which includes full catering for the day.

Alternatively, book an in-house or custom session. Introduce 20 to 200 researchers to the media with our “Meet the Media” 90-minute panel discussion, featuring three journalists.

Learn what makes a good pitch, write one, present it and get feedback in a dedicated session.

One-on-one support for special pitches or presentations is also available.

Fresh Science

This year’s Fresh Science stories are rolling out from research institutes around the country.

Monash University’s story about engineer Mahdokht Shaibani has run around the world. She has created a lithium battery that only needs recharging every five days.

Her work has clocked up well over 100 stories in Australia, the US, England, China, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France and elsewhere. Highlights include the Sydney Morning Herald, New Scientist, PC Mag, and La Repubblica, among many others.  She’s also received calls from industry.

Macquarie University’s release about the work of electric vehicle researcher Foad Taghizadeh has led to a couple of phone calls from potential commercial interests and coverage in specialist publications including PV Magazine Australia and The Driven.

Read the latest stories at

Thank you to:

  • University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, and the Western Australian Museum
  • The University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University, RMIT and the Royal Society of Victoria
  • The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, and Econnect Communication
  • The University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, and the Australian National Maritime Museum

Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, and the South Australian Museum