Fresh Science

Fresh Science is a national competition that has been helping early-career researchers find, and then share their stories of discovery for the past 18 years.

Taking young researchers with no media experience and turning them into spokespeople for science, Fresh Science gives its finalists a taste of life in the limelight, with a day of media training and a public event in their home state.

In 2015 Fresh Science ran in every mainland state, with 61 Fresh Scientists in six state events, and seven public events bringing Fresh Science to around 1000 members of the public.

Read some of the fresh science we discovered in 2015 here.

Click here to visit the Fresh Science website

Researchers use sound to deliver drugs

A technique adapted from telecommunications promises more effective cancer treatments.

Dr Shwathy Ramesan from RMIT

Drugs can be delivered into individual cells by using soundwaves, Melbourne researchers have discovered.

Adapting a technique used in the telecommunications industry for decades, Dr Shwathy Ramesan from RMIT, and colleagues, used the mechanical force of sound to push against cell walls and deliver drugs more effectively than treatments currently in use.

The new technique aids in silencing genes responsible for some diseases, including cancer, by switching them on or off.

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Faecal pellets and food remains reveal what ghost bats eat in the Pilbara

Alba Arteaga Claramunt, University of Western Australia.
Photos of 2019 Science in Public Event at the Brisbane Hotel in Perth. Photos Ross Swanborough.

UWA, Curtin university and Perth zoo researchers have discovered that Australian endangered ghost bats in the Pilbara (WA) eat over 46 different species.

Its diet is very diverse ranging from small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Researchers used a new approach by combining two methodologies: DNA analysis of faecal pellets and classification of dried food remains.

They receive their name due to their pale grey colour and “ghostly” appearance. They are top-level predators and very important for the ecosystem.

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Meet the Freshies at the Pub

Bright ideas and beer combine when Australia’s Fresh Scientists strut their stuff at 2019’s Fresh Science Pub Nights.

Fresh Science is annual competition that invites early-career scientists to present their fascinating research in the time it takes for a sparkler to burn out.

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Fresh Science now open; $3.8M for young researchers and students; ARC Linkage grants announced; Science Week and science prizes

Encourage your early-career researchers to talk about their results and discoveries by getting them to nominate for Fresh Science – a national competition that helps emerging scientists who have results that deserve attention.

Fresh Science, now in its 22nd year, provides a day of media training, followed by a traditional pub test. More below.

Westpac has endowed a new perpetual suite of fellowships and scholarships. Nominate your top early-career researchers, social innovators and students now. Read on for details.

Other prizes and opportunities:

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The shape of a perfect storm: saving lives by predicting firestorms

Scientists available for interview – details and photos below.

Correction: an earlier version stated the tool is being formally trialed by the NSW Rural Fire SERVICE. It is currently in use, but formal trials ended in 2016.

A fully developed pyrocumulus cloud, formed from the smoke plume of the Grampians fire in February 2013. Credit: Randall Bacon

Firestorms are a nightmare for emergency services and anyone in their path. They occur when a bushfire meets a ‘perfect storm’ of environmental conditions and creates a thunderstorm.

Dr Rachel Badlan and Associate Professor Jason Sharples are part of a team of experts from UNSW Canberra and ACT Emergency Services that has found the shape of a fire is an important factor in whether it will turn into a firestorm.

Fires that form expansive areas of active flame, rather than spreading as a relatively thin fire-front, are more likely to produce higher smoke plumes and turn into firestorms, the researchers found.

This finding is being used to underpin further development of a predictive model for firestorms. The model was trialed in the 2015 and 2016 fire seasons by the ACT Emergency Services Agency and the NSW Rural Fire Service, and now forms part of the national dialogue around extreme bushfire development.  

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New coating cuts barnacle build-up to keep ships at sea longer

Footage of HMAS Canberra  available. Photos and video below.

A new corrosion-resistant coating that halved the build-up of algae and barnacles on ship hydraulic components is now being trialled on HMAS Canberra, one of the Royal Australian Navy landing helicopter dock ships.

Corrosion-resistant coating that halved the build-up of algae and barnacles.
Credit: Defence Science Technology

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology are collaborating with experts from the Defence Materials Technology Centre, MacTaggart Scott Australia, United Surface Technologies and the Defence Science and Technology Group to advance the new technology.

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Kid-friendly chocolate formula helps the medicine go down

FOR VIDEO AND IMAGES CLICK HERE

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have developed a winning medicine formula that makes bad-tasting medicine taste nice, making it easier to treat sick children.

The UWA study published by the journal Anaesthesia tested 150 children and found that the majority of children who were given the new chocolate-tasting medicine would take it again, unlike the standard treatment, while they still experienced the same beneficial effects.

UWA Clinical Senior Lecturer Dr Sam Salman said the poor taste of many medicines, such as Midazolam, a sedative used prior to surgery, presented a real difficulty in effectively treating children.

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Overcoming knee pain with the help of a digital twin

Scientists use computer simulations of joint and muscle movements to teach us to exercise smarter

Image: Dr Pizzolato is making digital twins to help improve how people move in real life. Credit: Gold Coast Orthopaedic Research Alliance, Griffith University

Researchers have developed computer simulations of joint and muscle movements that can teach us how to exercise smarter and prevent knee pain and further damage.

One in five Australians over the age of 45 suffer from painful and debilitating osteoarthritis, with the knee being the most commonly affected joint.  

Dr Claudio Pizzolato from Griffith University is making computer avatars or ‘digital twins’ of individual patients to see how their muscles and joints work. [continue reading…]

Nominations for Fresh Science now open

Do you know any early-career researchers who have peer-reviewed results, a discovery, or an invention that has received little or no media attention?

Please nominate them for Fresh Science, our national competition that helps early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. Scientists get a day of media training and the chance to share their work with the media, general public and school students.

Fresh Science is looking for:

  • early-career researchers (from honours students to no more than five years post-PhD)
  • a peer-reviewed discovery that has had little or no media coverage
  • some ability to present ideas in everyday English.

Fresh Science 2018 will run in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and NSW. We’ll also run it in other states and territories where we can secure local support.

I’d appreciate it if you could circulate this to early-career researchers in your organisation.

If you’d like to share our flyer calling for nominations, you can download it as a PDF or a jpeg or share the call on social media using #FreshSci

How to nominate [continue reading…]

Smart socks help physiotherapists treat patients remotely

‘Smart socks’ are helping physiotherapists better assess and treat patients during video consultations, by providing information on weight distribution and range of movement during exercises like steps, squats or jumps.

The wearable technology, developed by PhD candidate Deepti Aggarwal at The University of Melbourne, was trialled with three patients and a physiotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, from February to June 2017.

Background images and video below.

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