By Chloe Braithwaite
Winning a Eureka Prize can be a life and career-changing event. The 2015 Eureka Prize finalists and winners continue to excel – receiving widespread media coverage, major grants, institutional awards and further recognition in the months following the Award Dinner. It’s time to start thinking about your entry or nomination. Are you Australia’s next science star?
The 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, now in their 27th year, seek to reward outstanding Australian science with 16 prizes in four categories:
- Research and innovation
- Science communication
- School science
In 2016, there are two new prizes: The Johnson & Johnson Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research, awarded for innovation in medical research, and a new Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science. This is the third in a suite of prizes for science communication, sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as part of the Inspiring Australia initiative.
In the last few years, citizen scientists have worked on some of Australia’s biggest, most important discoveries. At the same time, popular research projects that appeal to citizen scientist include:
- the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute
- the Genographic Project with National Geographic that answers fundamental questions about human origins and populations via advanced DNA analysis and
- an online protein folding game called Foldit, built to help scientists understand how proteins fold.
Two other Inspiring Australia sponsored Eureka Prizes reward Science Journalism and Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. Each recognise the importance of communicating scientific issues to the public, including science policy and work that presents the social or economic contributions of innovations in science and technology.
Finally the Sleek Geeks Eureka Prize rewards science communication on a different scale. Split into two individual categories for primary and secondary school, students with a knack for filmmaking and a passion for science are encouraged to explore a scientific concept, discovery or invention through film in 1-3 minutes.
Are you our next Sleek Geek, Citizen Scientist, or Science Journalist? Nominate yourself, or someone you know, by 7 pm AEST on Friday 6 May 2016.
For more information visit the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes website.