The science, engineering and technology awareness-raising and education extension activities funded through SCOPE include:
The Science Communication Program (SCOPE) team in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research are pleased to announce the availability of two $50 000 grants for the development and trial delivery of science communication projects in regional and remote communities in 2010/11. For further information, see the Sustainable Science Outreach Grant Guidelines. Applications close 5.00pm AEST Friday 30 July 2010.
For more information email Geoff Crane or call 02 6270 2880.
The Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD) is coordinating a program of events and activities in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.
Through funding from the Science Connections Program (SCOPE), a series of seed grants are available to help museums, science organisations and community groups establish programs that encourage Australians from all walks of life to explore the role of biodiversity in sustaining vital natural systems, and as a source of inspiration and cultural identity.
These seed grants, of up to $5000 each, will be available in multiple rounds of funding throughout the year. The second round of up to a total of $15 000 is available now to CAMD members and like institutions and their project partners.
Applications by expression of interest are invited, and should set out the aims, scope, timeline and methods of the project, the resources sought from CAMD, and those to be contributed by participants. Applications shall be no more than two pages and will be assessed according to the following criteria, and preference given to projects which clearly demonstrate:
Please forward expressions of interest for the first grant round by close of business on Wednesday, May 12 to:
The Prime Minister's Prizes for Science are the nation's pre-eminent awards for excellence in science and science teaching. The Prizes are a tribute to the beneficial research contributions that Australian scientists have made to our economic and social well-being, and to the dedication and quality of our science teachers. The award of the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science provides the opportunity for the Australian Government to publicly honour and celebrate these outstanding Australians.
Particularly through the award of the major prize, the Prime Minister's Prize for Science, we recognise outstanding research outcomes that have demonstrated their importance through their applications and their contributions to the generation of yet further knowledge and understanding. The Prize comprises a solid gold medallion, embossed with the Australian Coat of Arms, and a grant of $300,000.
The Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year and the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year are awarded annually for outstanding scientific achievements that advance, or have the potential to advance, human welfare or benefit society. Furthermore, the Prizes demonstrate to students of science that high achievement is possible at an early stage of a career in research. These Prizes are awarded to early career researchers who have completed their PhD within the 10 years prior to their nomination. They each comprise a solid silver medallion and a grant of $50,000.
The Prime Minister's Prizes for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary and Secondary Schools recognise two teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to science education in Australia. The Prizes recognise science teachers' crucial role in creating and nurturing the interest of our youth in science. They were awarded for the first time in 2002 and each comprise a solid silver medallion and a grant of $50,000.
In May 1997 the Australian Government supported a highly successful pilot National Science Week, featuring activities coordinated and arranged by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) and the Australian Science Festival Limited (now known as ASF Limited).
National Science Week is now a major national celebration of science, engineering and innovation involving community-based projects and activities by science centres, museums, universities, science personalities, research centres, professional organisations and schools. It runs for ten days in the middle of August each year and this year featured over 1000 events.
National Science Week has continued as a partnership program between the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and the ABC, ASTA, CSIRO Education and shac Communications, a media and promotions company responsible for National Science Week's National Tour of international science personalities.
The Australian Government financially supports National Science Week because it assists three key objectives:
Australian Government funding is available on a competitive basis to provide support for National Science Week projects.
The ABC Science Project is delivering high quality science outreach and news through three component activities: the 'News in Science' pages of the ABC's flagship website The Lab; participation in National Science Week including hosting the on-line National Project and supporting National Science Week activities; and science outreach events such as Cafe Scientific and the new "Scientists on the Loose" touring program. As well, these ABC-supported science outreach activities are recorded for later broadcasting on ABC Radio, and content is also available as video footage and podcasts.
Previous SCOPE-supported ABC Science Project initiatives are still available on The Lab, including "The ExperiMentals", a series of science shows along the lines of "Why is it So?"; "Ace Day Jobs" and "Catapult", both highlighting examples of science-based careers; and science teaching resources to be found on The 'Surfing Scientist' pages.
The Science and Engineering Challenge is an interschool competition designed and implemented by the University of Newcastle. The Challenge aims to generate student interest in applied science, through participation in hands-on activities including the building of siege catapults, balsa bridges and flying dirigibles. Regional finalists in all states and territories compete in state finals and state finalists compete for the title of national champion in the Grand Challenge. Regional participation in the Science and Engineering Challenge is facilitated with extensive on-ground support from Rotary Clubs, Engineers Australia, local businesses, Councils and schools.
The Science and Engineering Challenge started in 2000 and involved 14 schools from the Newcastle region. SCOPE funding has facilitated a dramatic national expansion of the Challenge, driven by continuing high demand from schools. 2005 saw participation by more than 10,000 Year 10 students from over 300 schools. In 2007 the Challenge was taken to 15,500 students from more than 550 schools.
Science in the City has been such a successful National Science Week initiative of the Australian Museum and the University of Sydney that it has generated two outreach programs, 'Science in the Suburbs' and 'Science in the Bush', which are growing in scale and reach with the assistance of SCOPE funding. Both of these outreach programs offer activities for primary and secondary students including talks, workshops, hands-on experiences and demonstrations, and science shows illustrating key scientific principles. These program elements are delivered by Australian Museum and University of Sydney staff together with teams from a range of other organisations including CSIRO Education, Questacon, other Universities, the Children's Medical Research Institute, Country Energy, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Hunter Wetlands Environmental Education Centre.
Venues for 'Science in the Suburbs' include Cronulla, Cumberland and Tocal, while 'Science in the Bush' tours to regional centres such as Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Newcastle.
SCOPE's support for the Australian Science Olympiads and the Australian Mathematical and Informatics Olympiads covers national high quality extension programs involving thousands of senior high school students, as well as assisting with the costs of selection of and participation by Australian teams in annual International Olympiads in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Informatics.
The Professor Harry Messel International Science School (ISS) is held biannually in the University of Sydney and is organised by the Science Foundation for Physics within the University's School of Physics.
A residential school run over two weeks in July, the ISS involves presentations by internationally respected guest lecturers from Australia and overseas to 140 science students from ten countries (50 students) and Australia (90). Up to five Indigenous students participate in the ISS.
The ISS' costs are met through contributions from several organisations and an income stream generated by a capital fund, the Messel Endowment. The Australian Government is an Extra Galactic Donor to the Endowment, having contributed $1 million through SCOPE's predecessor program, the National Innovation Awareness Strategy, in 2004. As the Endowment's capital base is not yet large enough to generate sufficient revenues to fully fund the ISS, SCOPE continues to support the ISS with $90,000 biannually.
As an Extra Galactic Donor, the Department also sponsors the Len Basser Award for Scientific Leadership, presented to a student who demonstrates both strong academic interest in participating in the ISS and collegiality in sharing his/her understanding of the science being taught with fellow students. The award is named for an inspirational chemistry teacher who taught at Sydney Boys High School. Eight of Len Basser's students became Fellows of the Royal Society, including Lord (Robert) May, a former President of the Society, and Sir John Cornforth, who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975.
Each year, the Australian Museum assists the award of approximately twenty Eureka Prizes, sponsored by a range of organisations including CSIRO, Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, University of NSW, University of Technology, Sydney and the Botanic Gardens Trust. In partnership with the Museum, SCOPE sponsors three Eureka Prizes for science communication:
The Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science celebrates individuals or organisations who effectively promote interest and enthusiasm about science to the general community, while the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Science Journalism is awarded to an Australian journalist whose work is assessed as having most effectively communicated scientific and/or technological issues to the public over the preceding twelve months.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Peoples Choice Award, offered for the first time in 2005, provides the public, and particularly high school students, with the opportunity to vote online for the scientist or research group of their choice. Candidates for this award are selected by the Australian Museum from amongst all nominations received for the Eureka Prizes for scientific research, of which there are approximately ten each year. Candidates are selected on the basis of how interesting the Australian Museum considers their research to be. The Museum prepares researcher profiles, summaries of the science being done and pictures of the scientists.
The researcher with the most votes receives the award, but there are prizes for participation as well - SCOPE's sponsorship includes the prize of an online voter's framed partial DNA sequence.
The People's Choice Award provides an effective means of exposing students to tangible examples of young people who have gone on to pursue exciting and successful careers in science. By asking students to consider, evaluate and discuss real, high-profile research by contemporary Australian scientists, the People's Choice Award provides role models to inspire secondary students to develop and maintain an interest in science beyond secondary school. The award is promoted to teachers nationally as a means of addressing State and Territory science curricula's "Science in Society" components, and is supported by online lesson plans.
This Melbourne-based project annually provides intensive media training to 16 early career researchers, drawn from across Australia, teaching them to deliver clear, informative and entertaining public presentations about the scientific research they are undertaking. Audiences they face during the training phase include a sampling of the general public, school groups, executives and journalists. Fresh Science training will be held in June each year from 2008, enabling the Fresh Scientists to return to their home states/territories to participate in National Science Week events in August.
The Ultimo Science Festival is a successful and innovative event resulting from a collaboration of four organisations based in Ultimo, Sydney: the Powerhouse Museum, the University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo TAFE and the ABC. The event began as a National Science Week initiative but has now expanded beyond National Science Week's boundaries, starting before and finishing after the Week. In 2007 the event attracted the participation of a further 22 collaborators, including other universities and research organisations, NSW Government Departments, the Ultimo Library, community groups and the Sydney City Council.
EngQuest provides hands-on opportunities for primary school students to experience applications of science, mathematics and technology through fun and interactive student projects. Developed by Engineers Australia with professional assistance from childhood educators, EngQuest projects are designed for primary school teachers across Australia to use in conjunction with the curriculum or as a stand-alone activity. They comprise investigation, design and construction activities which are offered through the EngQuest website, together with comprehensive guidelines for completion. Engineers Australia supports EngQuest through a National Co-ordinator and designated support staff in its nine divisional offices across Australia.
The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is held over two weeks each January at the Australian National University. It is sponsored by the Australian Government and a range of public and private sector organisations including CSIRO, ResMed, and Cochlear. Forum participants, drawn from Years 10-12, subsequently take part in site visits to NYSF sponsoring organisations and other science-intensive industries to gain an appreciation of the science-based careers open to them if they continue to study science beyond Year 12.Evolution: the Experience and Evolution: the Festival.
Evolution: the Experience is a major international conference to be held in Melbourne over the 6 days of 8-13 February. It will mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin�s birth on 12 February 1809. The conference will bring together some of the world�s foremost experts in evolutionary theory.
The conference organisers are taking advantage of this expertise in arranging Evolution: the Festival, comprising a number of events nationally during 2009 including a touring speaking program. Evolution: the Festival will culminate on 22 November with a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin�s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo's construction of the most powerful telescope to be built in the world at that time, and of his initial discoveries with it: sunspots, and the craggy surface of the moon, which challenged Aristotle's proposition that heavenly bodies were divine and therefore smooth and free of blemish.
Although he was not the first to observe the skies, Galileo did what no-one else before him had done: he sketched what he saw, and he made these illustrations available to the public in a book published in March 1610. This was the beginning of modern instrumental astronomy, and a milestone in the history of evidence-based science. To mark this historic turning point, 2009 has been declared the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) by the United Nations.
A working group under the chairmanship of Professor Matthew Colless, the Director of the Anglo-Australian Observatory, has planned a comprehensive set of activities to mark IYA in Australia. These include participation in a number of global programs developed by the International Astronomical Union, and a range of initiatives to mark Australia's own important contributions in astronomy and space science. These include a celebration in April 2009 of the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, and the role of Australian instruments at Parkes and Tidbinbilla in that historic event; a booklet featuring prominent Australian astronomers and their work and discoveries; and a �Quiet Skies� initiative that will highlight Australia's suitability to host the Square Kilometre Array.
The 2009 Australian Science Festival will be held from 27 to 31 May and will comprise a number of feature events including:
The Festival will link with the 2009 Conference of the Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA), which will be held in the National Convention Centre over the three days of 26 - 28 May. The Conference will include presentations of the CRCA Awards for Excellence in Innovation, presented to CRCs to recognise outstanding examples of the transfer of CRC research results, knowledge and technologies that have been developed for a wide range of users including the community, companies and government agencies. Awards are given in the categories of:
The Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) is an umbrella body representing the interests of approximately 65,000 scientists and technologists in Australia. One of FASTS' core activities, supported by DIISR, is Science Meets Parliament, an annual two-day event providing scientists and politicians with the opportunity to meet and discuss a range of scientific issues of mutual interest and national importance. Departmental funding to FASTS through the Higher Education Support Act ensures FASTS is able to continue to hold this significant event.
Additional Estimates funding of $1.125m was made available through SCOPE in 2006-07 as a contribution to the refurbishment of the Museum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. The Museum houses important collections of seeds and raw materials which were brought to South Australia during the colony's early years, to educate colonists about growing various crops and the uses to which the harvested raw materials could be put. The Museum is a valuable science education resource for the State and was in previous years a regular destination for school groups. Refurbishment is expected to be complete in 2009.
The former Department of Education Science & Training hosted a Science-based Careers Forum on Wednesday 16 August 2006 at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra. The Forum was timed to follow a conference hosted by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) on the topic "Boosting Science Learning - what will it take?" and was successful in its objective of enabling several people attending the ACER conference to stay on to attend the Forum.
The Forum brought together people with a common interest in promoting science-based career opportunities - people who would not normally "touch base" on this topic with each other. The Forum also provided a range of perspectives on the nature of the problem we are confronting in attempting to promote science study and science-based careers. A science education to at least Year 12 is becoming increasingly important to a range of prospective employers, yet at the same time, knowledge of the interesting careers available to students who pursue such studies is not widely dispersed.
The Forum received presentations from a number of representatives from industry, education and careers advisory sectors. Areas covered included why a science education is important to industry employers; initiatives that have been taken to encourage awareness of science-based employment opportunities, and to promote continuing science studies; expectations of a new employee's "skills set"; and perspectives on the issue of making science an attractive elective for students.
Careers Counsellor Dr Jim Bright delivered the keynote address and acted as facilitator throughout the day.
A DVD set of the Forum's proceedings is available upon request.
The former Department of Education Science & Training and the Office for Women hosted a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Symposium on Friday 30 March 2007 at Parliament House in Canberra. The event was attended by more than 50 of Australia's leading female scientists, engineers and researchers, drawn from all States and Territories, and a similar number of female students from Years 7 - 11.
One of the Symposium's primary goals was to create the opportunity for each scientist or engineer to establish an ongoing mentoring relationship with the student they nominated to attend, or with whom they were paired. It also provided the opportunity for delegates to discuss issues of relevance to women pursuing careers in science and engineering.
The then Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP opened the Symposium, which was emceed by Dr Clio Cresswell, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney and author of the book "Mathematics and Sex." Delegates at the Symposium heard inspirational speeches from six speakers.
Feedback from a number of students attending - and their parents! - has been very positive.
DVDs of the Symposium's proceedings are available upon request.