Inspiring QLD

Locating science in Red Dog tales, citizen scientists monitor sea turtles, Robogals across Queensland and more.

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

Red Dog and red dirt: true tales of Australia’s ecology

Norman Lindsay’s ‘The Magic Pudding’ not only told  memorable and charming yarns, but also brought alive for readers, the Australian bush and animals as a vivid part of our cultural narrative. Through social media, an interactive map and a smartphone app, the University of Queensland’s Locating Science project will use storytelling to connect acclaimed Australian books and films with eco-cultural themes, supported by an Inspiring Australia grant of $35,000 Think desert, mining and Red Dog; marine ecology and Dirt Music; biodiversity and The Hunter. The online space will share participants’ stories and images and be a truly public forum for discussion and education, new ideas and engaging the general public with the science behind Australian stories.

Media contact: Dr Jane Stadler – –  07 3365 3136

Call for citizen scientists to monitor sea turtles

Scientists and Indigenous representatives will host talks about sea turtle biology, facilitate community meetings about the threats to sea turtles, and involve local people in sea turtle and marine debris monitoring in their own areas. The project is for school-age children, the general community, and in particular, young hunters. This project received $26,000 from Inspiring Australia and it has two aims:  education about turtle biology, and training in scientific monitoring of sea turtles and their habitats.

Media contact: Julie Traweek – – 07 4721 2699

Robogals are on the way

Fun, engaging robotics and engineering workshops will be brought to young students through Queensland by the Robogals team, exposing children to science and technology they would not normally get their hands on. The University of Queensland’s Robogals project seeks to promote student participation in science, technology and engineering careers and especially encouraging girls, students from disadvantaged schools, and rural students. The children learn about mechanical design, programming and engineering, thoughtful design and debugging.

Media contact: Aaron Lederhose – – 0427 721659

Deepening knowledge about water science

Queenslanders are awash in information about water—its scarcity, the risks and impacts of flooding, the use and abuse of water bottles and they have engaged through various media forms including twitter, advertising, flood maps, and even comics. With Inspiring Australia support of $4,971, the University of Queensland will present a one-day interactive public symposium, some of which will be aired on ABC’s “Big Ideas” with Paul Barclay and discussed online on the ABC website. With four water science experts and an emphasis on audience participation, water science will become integrated with social knowledge leading to a deeper understanding for everyone.

Media contact: Professor Gay Hawkins – – 07 3346 7416


Science on vacation

Primary school pupils have a real thirst for scientific knowledge, they all want to know exactly ‘how stuff works’. This clever series of vacation-care workshops will be an ideal antidote to holiday boredom with on-stage performance and hands-on workshops combined with web 2.0 activities and experiments with digital media. Liddell Education has $5000 from Inspiring Australia to present ‘Science on the Road’.

Media contact: Steven Liddell – – 0410 550 481

Parasites infiltrate 3 states

Parasites are barometers for the health of any ecosystem and public knowledge about them, and the scientists who research and combat parasitic disease, can only be beneficial. Parasites are also a fascinating and very popular science topic. The Australian Society for Parasitology will produce a series of free events in Launceston, Perth and Canberra to explore the world of parasites.

Media contact: – Lisa Jones – 07 40421311

About the grants

A total of $5 million has been awarded across 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: