Eureka finalists, L’Oréal women and other prizes

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

In this bulletin:

It’s prizes season. Tonight the Eurekas are announced. Last week was the L’Oréal Fellowships. Prizes are open in WA and NSW.

And next week we’ll open the $25,000 Centenary Lawrence Creative Prize for early career life scientists. More on all these below along with details on media training for scientists in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Last week L’Oréal recognised three more early-career female scientists with For Women In Science Fellowships.

This year’s fellows are:

  • Kathryn Holt from the University of Melbourne is tracking the spread of superbugs
  • The University of Tasmania’s Joanne Whittaker is piecing together how India and Australian broke up 100 million years ago
  • Misty Jenkins is spying on serial-killer T cells at the Peter Mac Cancer Centre in Melbourne. More below.

Tonight we’ll find out who will win this year’s Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Read below to find out if there are any Eureka Prize finalists from your institute.

The 2013 Eureka Prizes finalists have discovered:

  • Better bulls emit less methane (Armidale)
  • How to use car tyres to make steel (Sydney/Newcastle)
  • The causes and effects of catastrophic firestorms (Sydney/Canberra)
  • How bats can help us treat deadly diseases (Geelong)

They’ve invented:

  • A hypodermic camera to guide surgeons (Perth)
  • A bionic eye to proof-of-concept stage (Melbourne/Sydney)
  • Nanotechnologies to deliver drugs to their targets (Melbourne)

They’ve revealed:

  • The sinister effects of micro-plastics in the oceans (Sydney)
  • How to personalise leukaemia therapy (Sydney)
  • How to slow the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Melbourne)
  • The mysteries of locust swarming (Sydney)

Read about all the finalists at

If you’re not joining us at Sydney Town Hall tonight for the affectionately named “Oscars of Australian Science”, follow us through the evening via Twitter (@eurekaprizes) tonight to find out who won.

And, if you join the conversation please use the hashtag #Eureka13


Australian Museum Eureka Prizes announced tonight

This year’s finalists include researchers, innovators, photographers and science communicators from universities, government agencies, and schools across Australia.

See if there are any finalists from your institute at the Australian Museum website

  • There’s strong representation from the university sector, with finalists from most of Australia’s major universities.
  • CSIRO has got five teams of finalists.
  • Two CRCs and a couple of ARC centres will have their fingers crossed.
  • Several industry groups are represented through their collaborations with researchers.
  • And students from five schools will be hoping that their science mini-documentaries get a gong.

The award dinner – fondly nicknamed the “Oscars of Australian Science” – will take place at Sydney Town Hall tonight, Wednesday 4 September, in the presence of 700 science, government, cultural and media leaders.

To follow the action as it happens, follow @eurekaprizes on Twitter, where we’ll announce the winner of each prize live.

And, if you’d like to congratulate the winners or join the dinner party conversation, use the hashtag #Eureka13.

2013 L’Oréal For Women In Science Fellows announced, and inspire the next generation

On Tuesday 27 August Johan Berg, the CEO of L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand, presented three early career researchers with an $AU25,000 L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship .

This year’s fellows – Dr Kathryn Holt, Dr Joanne Whittaker, and Dr Misty Jenkins – are stopping the spread of superbugs, piecing together the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle, and spying on serial-killer T cells.

You can read about the fellows and their research below, and view their full profiles along with a short video about each of the fellows online at

If you’re tweeting, feel free to share in congratulating the winners using the hashtag #4womeninscience

Tracking the spread of deadly diseases

Dr Kathryn (Kat) Holt of the Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne, is using genetics, maths and supercomputers to study the whole genome of deadly bacteria and work out how they spread. Through her previous work on a typhoid epidemic in Kathmandu, she found that it didn’t spread in the way we thought epidemics did. Her research will not only change how we respond to epidemics across the globe, but also help to inform the control of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals here in Australia.

Read Kat’s full profile including images and a short video.

How Australia and India broke up-100 million years ago

Ask Dr Joanne (Jo) Whittaker of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart. Jo is a marine geoscientist is tackling the biggest puzzle on the planet-the formation of continents.  With the help of Australia’s national marine research vessels, and now her L’Oréal Fellowship, Jo is reconstructing how the Indian, Australian and Antarctic tectonic plates separated over the past 200 million years, forming the Indian Ocean and the continents as we see them today. This information will help model climate change better, find new gas resources, and understand the dynamics of our continent.

Read Jo’s full profile including images and a short video.

When killing saves lives: our immune system at work

Dr Misty Jenkins of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centrespends a lot of her time watching killers at work: the white blood cells of the body that eliminate infected and cancerous cells. She can already tell you a great deal about how they develop into cell assassins.

With the support of her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship Misty is now exploring how T cells become efficient serial killers-killing one cancer cell in minutes and moving on to hunt down others.  Her work will give us a greater understanding of our immune system and how we can use T cells to defeat disease.

Read Misty’s full profile including images and a short video.

L’Oréal Girls in Science Forum, inspiring next-generation scientists

In support of even younger women in science, last Wednesday L’Oréal and the Fellows hosted around 150 girls from year 11 and 12 at the Australian Synchrotron for the Girls in Science Forum.

After touring the Synchrotron, the next-generation of aspiring scientists questioned L’Oréal Fellows on everything from choosing university subjects to juggling motherhood with a career in science.

Science prize deadlines and upcoming events

6 September [WA] – Western Australian Science Awards: Applications close

The WA Science Awards celebrates the achievements of the State’s science community and highlights the role of scientists and science communicators in Western Australia. Award categories include Scientist of the Year, Early Career Scientist of the Year, Student Scientist of the Year, Science Ambassador of the Year and Science Engagement initiative of the Year.

Find out more information about the awards.

15 September [NSW] – NSW Science and Engineering Awards: Applications close

The Awards recognise and reward the state’s leading researchers in science and engineering for cutting-edge work that generates economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for New South Wales. The range of categories includes:

  • Excellence in mathematics, earth sciences, chemistry and physics
  • Excellence in biological sciences (Ecology, environmental, agricultural and organismal)
  • Excellence in biological sciences (Cell and molecular, medical, veterinary and genetics)
  • Excellence in engineering and information and communications technologies
  • Emerging research
  • Renewable energy innovation
  • Innovation in public sector sciences and engineering
  • Innovation in science and mathematics education

Find out more information about the awards to see if you or someone you know might qualify.

Ultimo Science Festival returns on 12-22 September [NSW]

In a joint initiative between the Powerhouse Museum, the ABC, Ultimo TAFE and University of Technology, Sydney, the annual Ultimo Science Festival will once again be transforming the Ultimo precinct into a nucleus of science activities, talks and exhibitions.  From the science of a good coffee to mapping the Milky Way, there’s bound to be a workshop, talk, tour, or event to capture your curiosity.

See the full festival program.

Science Award Ceremonies Coming Up

  • 4 September [National; NSW event] – Eureka Prizes: Award ceremony
  • 9 October [National; VIC event] – Banksia Awards: Award ceremony
  • 30 October [National; ACT event] – Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science: Award ceremony

$25,000 Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize

The Centenary Creative Prize recognises creativity in young researchers.

The inaugural winner in 2011 was Dr Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Having unravelled key information on how and why breast stem cells contribute to the progression of breast cancer, she is now turning to the challenge of lung cancer.

Last year the prize went to Jian Yang, from the Diamantina Institute at the University of Queensland, who has solved a major puzzle of missing heritability by developing software and methods to determine the multiple genes involved in conditions such as schizophrenia, obesity and diabetes.

The prize is awarded to an early-career medical research scientist who has displayed outstanding originality and whose thinking has made a significant change in their field. Scientists working in Australia who finished their PhD in the past eight years are eligible.

The Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize, is named for advertising guru Neil Lawrence, who was inaugural chairman of the Centenary Institute Foundation. It celebrates creativity as the essential ingredient in all human endeavour, whether in science, art or marketing.

More information on the opening of nominations next week.

Media training for scientists in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth

Conveying the complexity of your research into a 30-second grab for the media can be hard, and sometimes daunting.

The solution is to shape the essence of your science into a story. Our media training courses for scientists and communication staff will help you develop and target your news stories for specific audiences and media.

In this one-day course, you’ll meet three working journalists from print, TV and radio who will give you practice in being interviewing and teach you about life in the newsroom.

We have media courses running in most capital cities to the end of 2013.

Melbourne: Tuesday 15 October

Adelaide: Tuesday 17 September

Perth: Tuesday 1 October

Sydney: Monday 11 November

We can also hold courses in other locations or on other dates if there’s sufficient demand, and we welcome expressions of interest for possible future courses. If you have at least four people to participate, we can probably find others in your area to make a course viable.

More details about the course can be found online at