Science prizes closing soon, Jim’s Mowing talks about his PhD, NASA submariner visits Melbourne

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

Know a top scientist whose contribution hasn’t been recognised? Or an emerging leader in science? A couple of major science prizes are closing next week:

More info on those prizes below, and also in this bulletin:

Nominate high-calibre scientists and emerging leaders for a Prime Minister’s Prize 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 a scientist who’s shaping up to become a leader in their field? People like:

  • Benjamin Kile who thought he’d discovered a gene that regulated platelet production, but realised it was already known – as a cancer gene. He’s now looking at how cells go bad and how cancers start.
  • Amanda Barnard who can predict which nanoparticles will work best and which could be dangerous by creating virtual models of nanoparticles and their environment – with applications in drug delivery and medical diagnostics.
  • Michael Cowley who’s making drugs for obesity by mapping the parts of our brain which control appetite and metabolism.

Nominate your colleagues and peers, and any excellent early or mid-career researchers for the $300,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, and the $50,000 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year and the $50,000 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.

And, do you know an inspiring science teacher who is working hard to make science accessible, interesting and relevant to students? Please encourage them to nominate for the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, and in Primary Schools.

Nominations for the PM’s Prizes close on 27 April at 5pm local time in Canberra

There’s more information online here, including nomination forms and profiles on past recipients, or contact or +61 2 6270 2878 or +61 2 6270 2826

Nominate outstanding women scientists for a L’Oréal Fellowship

Nominations for the 2012 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships are now open.

This year the three Fellowships increase in value to $25,000 each. And for the first time they’re open to New Zealanders.

Each year since 2007, L’Oréal Australia has offered three Fellowships to help early-career women scientists consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science.

The winners will be announced on August 24 at a ceremony in Melbourne.

The one-year Fellowships can be used to help finance the scientific research of the Fellows, including equipment, reagents, consumables, travel expenses and conferences. The Fellowship may also be used for child care or hiring a research assistant to cover maternity leave.

To get a sense of the qualities expected of entrants into this highly competitive Fellowship, we encourage potential applicants to read the brief profiles of past recipients:

All the information on how to apply is online at:

Travel grants for PhD students to visit EMBL in Europe

EMBL Australia are about to open two new travel grants for PhD students worth up to $7500 to attend conferences, short courses or laboratory training at one of European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s (EMBL) campuses Europe.

EMBL is one of the global powerhouses of life science research – with a focus on nurturing leading young researchers. Now, through Australia’s associate membership of EMBL, Australian PhD students have access to the program.

They’re looking for the best young PhD students – those with the potential to develop into leaders of one of the 18 programs that EMBL Australia members are planning to set up across Australia.

More information will be available soon at their website:

Eureka Prizes: for research, scientific leadership and communication

We’re not involved in the Eureka Prizes, but we understand that this year there are 18 prizes on offer. They range from awards for research to scientific leadership to communication and journalism. Most of the Eureka Prizes are worth $10,000 cash to the winner.

Entries close at midnight Friday 4 May 2012

More details at their website:

Jim’s Mowing talks business at NICTA’s Meet-the-Founder lecture

Jim from Jim’s Mowing will be having a chat at NICTA – 17th April at Melbourne University – about his PhD, his research and what makes people tick in the Meet-the-Founder lecture series.

Jim Penman started a part-time gardening business while undertaking his PhD in history at La Trobe University. He launched a full-time mowing business in 1982 with just $24.

Jim’s Group now has more than 3,200 franchisees and a turnover of about $350 million.

Jim is still actively involved in the running of the business, and is directly accessible to all his franchisees and to any client with a serious complaint.

He is currently funding a research program at La Trobe University on the biological basis of social behaviour. It is based on his PhD thesis. The Australian Research Council has further aided this project with a $1 million matching grant.

More information at:

NASA visiting Melbourne for the International Space Apps Challenge

Australian coders and programmers will join others from around the world for a ‘hackathon’ this weekend, with collaborations across continents – and in space, on the International Space Station. And we’ll be welcoming two visitors from NASA:

  • Chris Gerty – a crew member on NASA’s undersea mission on the NOAA Aquarius Underwater Laboratory
  • Deborah Diaz – NASA’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, and an IT specialist who’s worked at the Department of Homeland Security and the e-Government portal

The International Space Apps Challenge is an international codeathon-style event that will take place over a 48-hour period in cities on all seven continents, including Antarctica – and in space, on the International Space Station – on the weekend of 21-22 April, 2012. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing solutions to global challenges.

In Australia, there will be events in:

  • Melbourne, at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre
  • Canberra, at the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre
  • Adelaide, at the Flinders University Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century

Participants form teams focused on solving a particular challenge. The teams compete with other teams in Australia and around the world to utilise publicly available space technology and data to design innovative “solutions” to a predetermined series of “challenges.”

More info from the Victorian Space Science Education Centre at:

Media training dates – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra

Our media training course is designed for scientists or anyone else who needs to communicate complex and technical ideas via the media.

It will help you improve your chances of being accurately reported, and you will learn what to expect when the media covers a story.

Three working journalists will come in over the course of the day and you will undertake practice interviews for TV, radio and newspaper. The workshop structure is licensed from our friends at Econnect Communication.

The courses run from 9.30am to 5pm, and cost $740 + GST per person which includes coffee, morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

  • Melbourne: Tuesday 29 May, Wednesday 4 July, Tuesday 15 August
  • Canberra: Wednesday 2 May, Wednesday 8 August
  • Sydney: Tuesday 5 June, Thursday 9 August

We also welcome expressions of interest for possible future courses. If you’re interested in attending, or have any questions, please contact me on

More details at:

I also post occasional updates about prizes, lectures and other science news throughout the week on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us at: @scienceinpublic and