Inspiring Victoria

Inspiring Australia

Is that angry bird Australian, art and science combine to explain free radicals and more.

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

Is that angry bird a native species?

Your smartphone will soon be able to help you to identify Australia’s native animals, thanks to a series of apps to be developed by Museum Victoria.

The museum has received a $390,000 Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant to work with museums around the country to create a range of state and territory specific Field Guides of Australian Fauna apps. They will be free, and work on Apple and Android devices. The project builds on Museum Victoria’s existing Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app.

“Citizen scientists can only contribute to a better understanding of our rich biodiversity if they can identify what they see,” Museum Victoria’s Dr Elycia Wallis says.

“The apps will be used to assist with identification of animals seen locally or whilst travelling, and to learn more about animals observed in the natural world.”

The apps download information to the device, meaning a persistent internet connection is not required to use them.

“A bushwalker in a national park may find that the phone signal is not strong enough, yet they can use an app without difficulty.”

Media contact: Emily Wrigglesworth / Lynnette Foo – /, 0478 305 884 / 0403 296 647

Explaining free radicals, with art

Artists will be embedded in the University of Melbourne’s “Free Radical” research laboratory, in a unique project that will unite art and science.

It will produce an art exhibition to appear in Melbourne, Sydney, London and regional areas, as well as resources for hands-on public workshops and lectures to tour regional areas.

The project, which received a $44,980 Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant, aims to “use art as a basis for science engagement” and to promote healthy lifestyles.

“Insight Radical will educate the public on the nature and impact of free radicals on health, their contribution to disease, as well as their role in material degradation,” Dr Renee Beale said.

Media contact: Dr Renee Beale / / 0404 804 384

Other grant recipients include:

  • A Carlton art gallery, the Dax Centre, will use selected works created by people experiencing mental illness as part of history of schizophrenia events. The events will explore the illness through art, story-telling and science undertaken at the CRC for Mental Health. ($4,303).
  • Engineers Without Borders Australia has received a $260,000 grant to stage a four-week “Regioneering Road Show” that will bring science education and outreach activities in more than 30 rural locations across 3 states.
  • Animations will be developed to communicate complex climate change science issues to the public ($39,000).
  • A series of library-based workshops will be held in the lower Wimmera area with a focus on environmental science found in story books. ($5,000).
  • Two grants will support a series of fun, science-based shows targeting children and teenagers in Bendigo and Warrnambool ($4,960 and $5,000).
  • In the future, could dog poo power your BBQ? Melbourne man Duncan Chew has received a $45,000 Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant, to build and install a “digester” in a city park that will turn dog poo into a biogas.

About the grants

More than $1 million ($1,008,243) in funding was awarded to Victorian-based projects in the Unlocking Australia’s Potential grants program.

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: