NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has announced funding of $70,000 for the NSW Regional Science Grants program, increasing support to regional communities wishing to celebrate science through public programs and events.
The program aims to sustain and extend the Network of NSW Regional Science Hubs, dynamic partnerships between community organisations and scientists who work together to present events and activities that promote the value of science to Australians from all walks of life.
Mr Stoner said that while each Hub is made up of people from a vast array of fields, they share a common passion for sharing science with the community.
“Regional Science Hubs highlight the importance of science to our everyday lives,” Mr Stoner said.
A number of Hubs delivered outstanding community events last year, from biodiversity surveys on the Far South Coast, animations created in response to astronomy talks in Albury-Wodonga through to a sustainability fair in Dubbo.
An installation at the New England Regional Gallery in Armidale that showcased local smart tree technology was hugely popular, and the broad range of innovative science activities delivered in Jindabyne, Caroothal, Cootamundra and beyond inspired thousands of people during National Science Week.
In recognition of this success, Mr Stoner said the NSW Government increased its support towards new and existing Hubs from $20,000 last year to $50,000. Inspiring Australia committed a further $20,000 as part of the national strategy for science engagement.
“We hope this additional funding will enable more communities to experience some of the tremendously innovative and instructive science events we have seen in previous years,” Mr Stoner said.
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane said that NSW Regional Science Hubs play an important educational role.
“Not only do they hope to capture the interest of those attending the many and varied events, but they also aim to be educational and informative – particularly for our young people who might be considering a career in the sciences.”
“This is a terrific science outreach program, and I would encourage experts in science, professional organisations and educational institutions to join with industry and community groups across the state so that we can further engage the community through entertaining and educational science experiences,” Professor O’Kane added.
Applications for the 2014 Regional Science Grants program close on Wednesday 26 March.