Growing meat in vats, beating addiction, better footy, fast and safe vaccines, Aussie volcanoes and more

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Great stories and talent up for grabs around Australia, including:

  • Cellular agriculture – growing meat in vats – NSW
  • Fast and safe vaccines? – VIC
  • What’s the link between science and footy? – SA
  • Taking a lie detector test in front of strangers – NT
  • One in five bags of food wasted – TAS
  • Gut feelings: what to eat to improve your mood – WA
  • Are Australia’s volcanoes about to erupt? – NSW
  • How to help an addict – VIC
  • Explode a watermelon – QLD
  • Help us find Australia’s owls – National
  • State of Science Index: how do we compare to the rest of the world? – new Australian data

These are just a few of the interesting and hot topics being discussed during this year’s National Science Week (August 14 to 22). Many events are happening online.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, experts and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

▪ Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863
▪ Niall Byrne: or 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.

Individual event details and media contacts:

Making fast and safe vaccines – online, VIC talent

Vaccines save lives, having eradicated once-common illnesses such as polio and smallpox.

The global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the speedy development of a new set of vaccines.

How were they made so swiftly? And are they safe?

Dr Jennifer Juno from The Doherty Institute is available for interview.

Friday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Daryl Holland, or 0434 952 009.

Growing no-kill meats – online, NSW talent

Scientist are turning to no-kill or cruelty free meat to help feed the world.

Researchers are helping farmers pivot – with cells grown in vats creating cultured meat.

UNSW food science researcher Johannes le Coutre and food journalist Joanna Savill are experts in cellular agriculture.

Ask them how meat is grown in vats, who’s going to eat it and what it tastes like.

Monday 16 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, or 0408 166 426

Johannes le Coutre is available for media interviews.

What does science have to do with football? – North Adelaide, SA

AFL players are teaming up with researchers to improve their game.

Find out how scientists and sports stars are working together.

As part of National Science Week, a Science in Football workshop will be held after the Adelaide Crows Football Club game at Adelaide Oval on August 22. Kids get to make their own pedometers, providing a starting point for young people to make the connection between STEM and football, and to start considering STEM careers as part of their future.

Sunday 22 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Katie Gloede, or 0419 828 369.

Can you beat a lie detector test? – Darwin City, NT

The team from Counterpilot is testing the science behind lie detectors and how reliable they are.

They are available to discuss whether a polygraph machine can help stamp out fake news and alternative facts.

The group is presenting Truthmachine – a social experiment/immersive experience as part of National Science Week, challenging people to take a lie detector test in a room full of strangers.

Saturday 14 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Matt Fraser, or 0401 326 007; or Amber Forrest-Bisley, or 0405 363 817.

One in five bags of food wasted – North Hobart, TAS

7.3 million tonnes of food is lost, dumped or wasted in Australia, every year.

And while much of that food is still edible, there are millions of Australian going hungry every day.

Food waste also creates toxic greenhouse gas emissions.

A panel of experts is available to discuss the issues at hand, including how to feed the hungry and how to stop the waste.

Speakers include:

  • Food microbiologist Professor Tom Ross (University of Tasmania)
  • Food rescuer Amelia Cromb (Grassroots Action Network)
  • Andrew Hillier (CEO, Loaves and Fishes)
  • Senior waste and environmental consultant Gwen Harper
  • Dietician Ngaire Hobbins
  • Hosted by sustainable food systems expert Leah Galvin.

Thursday 12 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Dipon Sarkar, or 0498 511 509

Speakers are available for media interviews.

Gut feelings: what to eat to improve your mood – Clarkson, Wanneroo, Girrawheen, WA

Never mind weight loss, your diet can have a direct impact on your mental health. Learn how choose foods that boost your brain and fight off depression and anxiety in this series of events conducted across Perth’s suburbs.

Your intestines are home to a vast population of tiny organisms, known collectively as the microbiome. And the mix of your belly bugs strongly influences not just physical but emotional wellbeing – using an internal communications pathway called the Gut-Brain Axis.

Join Edith Cowan University PhD candidates Tina Yan and Jo Rees as they reveal the ways in which the food you eat can improve your microbiome – and the benefits that brings for health and happiness.

Saturday 14 – Wednesday 18 August. Multiple dates and locations.

Media enquiries: Pepita Smyth, or 0417 171 551

Tina Yan and Jo Rees are available for media interviews.

Are Australia’s volcanoes about to erupt? – online, NSW talent

Australia’s fiery volcanic past has left behind an expanse of volcanoes stretching more than 4000 kilometres down the country’s eastern margin.

How prepared is Australia for a volcanic eruption?

Where will it be?

What are the warning signs?

Volcanologist and science communicator Heather Handley is available for interview.

Wednesday 18 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Heather Handley, or 02 9850 4403.

How to help an addict – online, VIC talent

Professor Dan Lubman is available to discuss how to help a friend or family member battling addiction.

He can explain why we get addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or the internet and why we struggle to control our behaviour.

Professor Lubman has published more than 500 reports, having worked across mental health and drug treatment settings in the UK and Australia.

He will speak at the event ‘The Science of Us: rethink addiction’.

Thursday 19 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Rebecca Lawrence, or DanLaubman,

The Big Watermelon Experiment: physics, forces and flying fruit – QLD talent

How many elastic bands will it take to make your watermelon explode? The Big Watermelon Experiment is a mass science experiment for school students. It has just one aim: to make melons go boom.

This nationwide event is guided by Dr Rob Bell, the former Scope TV presenter. See how to take part here.

Saturday 14 – Sunday 22 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Rob Bell, or 0438 387 019

Rob is available for interviews. Photos and vision available.

Can you find the owls in the night? Researchers recruiting Hoot Detectives – online

Hark, is that an owl hooting?

Researchers are after volunteers to help map five native Australian owl species, by listening to short recordings made in the bush. 

The idea is to hunt for Powerful, Barking, Boobook, Barn, and Masked owls.

The results will provide important information about the range and numbers of these beloved birds of prey. They will also help researchers develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems to use in a new field of science, known as “eco-acoustics”.

This nationwide project is called Hoot Detective, and is produced by ABC Science in collaboration with the Australian Acoustic Observatory for National Science Week.

Tuesday 10 August – Tuesday 31 August. Visit:

Media enquiries: Ben Keirnan, or 0408 184 858.

2021 Australian State of Science Index results revealed – online

Science and innovation company, 3M, is releasing the results of the State of Science Index, including Australian data for the first time.

The State of Science Index explores global attitudes about science. It is a third-party, independent research study commissioned by 3M that has been conducted annually for the past four years. It seeks to measure and explain how we, as people and a society, think and feel about science in our world.

Thursday 12 August. 10 am release. More at:

Media enquiries: Shannon O’Mara, or 0407 770 994

3M Australia Managing Director Chris LeBlanc is available for media interviews.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals, first held in 1997.

Last year about 1.1 million people participated in more than 1200 events, despite a global pandemic.

It is proudly supported by the Australian Government; and partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC. More information:

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. Media kit at Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: