Inspiring NT

Farming in the desert, hi-tech “QR Codes” to be placed on walking trail and more.

NT winners amongst 63 Unlocking Australia’s Potential science communication grants announced today by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

An Alice Springs indigenous group hopes to start farming in the desert, using harvestable versions of plants used for thousands of years in ceremonies and bush medicine.

Their first target is Emu Bush (genus: Eremophila) – and work will soon get underway to identify optimal propagation and pest control techniques as well as “methods for maintaining hedges suitable for harvesting”.

The project is a partnership involving the non-profit group Akeyulerre Cultural Healing Centre and the Arid Zone Research Institute, with indigenous youth to be involved in the horticulture work.

“There is currently little information with regards to the large-scale production of many plants from this region,” project spokesperson Sam Hussey says.

“Although harvesting from the wild remains culturally important, we hope that by establishing our own crop of the most commonly used plants, the sustainability of the enterprise and the plant populations can be maintained.”

The project has received a $100,000 Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant, from Inspiring Australia, announced today.

Media contact: Ms Sam Hussey – – 08 8952 2339

Inspiring Australia grant recipients also include:

  • A “Sustainable Science Trail” will be created around Alice Springs. Walkers will be able to use their smartphones to photograph signs showing “QR Codes” along the way, and this will take them to relevant information online. ($45,000).
  • A program of workshops will be held in the Kimberley, Darwin and Katherine, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land focussing on building skills and understanding in environmental and cultural conservation ($150,000).
  • A project to develop the skills of at least two Central Land Council indigenous community rangers groups, to discuss and promote local natural science issues ($44,930).

About the grants

Almost half a million dollars ($489,930) in funding was awarded to NT-based projects

A total of $5 million has been awarded across the country in three levels of grant categories, small, medium and large, for projects to be delivered in 2012 and/or 2013 and/or 2014.

The prime objective of the program is to increase the engagement of Australians in science and it has prioritised projects that engage people who may not have had previous access to or interest in science-communication activities. Inspiring Australia is an initiative of the Australian Government.

For a complete list of grant recipients go online to

For more information: