Scientists in residence on radio

Top 5 under 40 is an exciting new radio initiative seeks to discover a new generation of science thinkers and give them a voice. Five outstanding early-career researchers under the age of 40 who are working in Australian universities and research institutions across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical research will undertake a 10-day media program as ‘Scientists in Residence’ at Radio National.

The ten applicants with the most innovative ideas will be selected for a two-day workshop at Radio National in February 2015. Working with RN’s specialist producers and science communicators, they will develop their program ideas and pitch to a panel of judges comprising Robyn Williams, presenter of RN’s The Science Show, and Professors Fiona Stanley (UWA), Lesley Hughes (Macquarie) and Merlin Crossley (UNSW).

“Australia needs to support the work of its young scientists more than ever,” says Professor Les Field, UNSW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science.

“They’re the ones who will be at the forefront of solving many of the critical challenges we face such as fighting climate change, developing renewable energies and life-saving medical treatments. Without support, we run the risk of losing our best thinkers overseas and to other industries,” warns Professor Field.

“For many young researchers, getting a foothold in Australia depends on being able to effectively communicate their ideas,” says Radio National’s Robyn Williams. “Through this partnership with UNSW, RN wants to help turn the vital work of Australia’s young science thinkers into compelling programs so as to reach as many people as possible. We love discovering new voices at The Science Show. Stay tuned.”

Ambassadors for Top 5 under 40 include Nobel Laureate in Physics Professor Brian Schmidt (ANU); Chief Executive of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay; Natasha Mitchell, presenter of RN’s Life Matters; the CSIRO’s incoming CEO, Dr Larry Marshall; and marine scientist Professor Emma Johnston (UNSW).

Early-career researchers who meet the scheme’s criteria have until Friday 16 January 2015 to apply online at

Listen to a radio interview about the Top 5 under 40