National Science Week 2022 grant recipients

Twenty-six NSW organisations will receive funding to support the delivery of creative community events in National Science Week that runs from 13-21 August 2022. The national celebration of science is set to inspire bright young minds and community members alike, encouraging interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

A highlight will be Sydney Science Trail, now in its third year and held across three sites – the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the Australian Museum. This 5-day event will feature a diverse range of hands-on activities, talks, panels and shows, presented by science communicators and scientific researchers.

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the event is one of hundreds available across NSW, with many funded through Inspiring Australia NSW’s National Science Week grants.

“STEM provides our young brilliant minds with an unrivalled opportunity to make a difference to our society and the planet,” Mr Henskens said.

“Whether it’s inspiring a sense of wonder about the species in our oceans, hearing from women leading in their fields of STEM research, or exploring science through improvisation, music and art, there’ll be an event for everyone to enjoy.

In NSW, National Science Week is an initiative of Inspiring Australia NSW aimed at promoting partnerships and collaborations across the science sector and building on the myriad science engagement activities across the country.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said by ensuring widespread community access to scientists, often in a recreational and family-friendly context, the community will be better informed about scientific research and the process of investigating critical challenges.

“I commend all those who work with Inspiring Australia NSW in its collaborative approach to promoting our brilliant NSW scientists and engineers and ensuring more people are aware of their achievements,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

The NSW Government is investing $832.7 million in scientific research, innovation and technological development in 2022-23. Find out more

Inspiring Australia NSW grant recipients

A total of 14 projects will receive funding from Inspiring Australia NSW.

Sydney Science Trail

Sydney Science Trail returns as series of live, online and science-based events for schools and the broader community presented across three sites, the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Sydney, The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan (ABG) and the Australian Museum (AM). Over two weekends, Sydney Science Trail: Live will welcome visitors to enjoy a diverse range of hands-on activities, talks, panels and science shows presented by science communicators, First Nations educators, academics and scientific researchers. Delivered as a collaboration between Australia’s two oldest science institutions, it will demonstrate our mutual vision for sharing science with the community and become a true celebration of Australia’s leading role in science and research.

A key outcome of Sydney Science Trail: Live is to bring science alive in a meaningful and accessible way for the whole community. We believe it is important for everyone to be a part of this conversation: whether through learning about the importance of diversity within our ecosystems and the impacts of climate change on our lifestyles, or the overall relevance of science and innovation in securing our future – all the while, reflecting on the value of shared cultural and traditional wisdom within these spheres. We aim to empower visitors to make a difference in their own lives and communities.

Two additional components will compliment this National Science Week celebration – Sydney Science Trail: Online (science-based online activities complementing our onsite activities and to increase audience accessibility) and Sydney Science Trail: Education (onsite schools day program incorporating Sydney Science Trail Expo, a science show and workshop over our two key sites).

Virtual Excursions Australia

SciFest 2022 is a celebration of science combining online events and virtual excursions. All welcome to participate in a comprehensive program of 15 live virtual events designed to empower participants to have a long-term involvement in science. These virtual events are accessible for participants across NSW with a timetable of sessions running Monday 15 – Friday 19 August 2022.

Urban Field Naturalist, headspace Bankstown and University of Sydney

A new initiative in Western Sydney will bring together a youth mental health service, a citizen science initiative, and an urban ecology research program to examine biodiversity in cities with the aim to reach out to young people to provide resources and activities that combine urban ecology, nature-mediated wellbeing and scientific literacy. This new collaboration between headspace Bankstown, the Urban Field Naturalist and the Integrative Ecology research group at the University of Sydney will expose participants to the science of studying nature in cities. A secondary objective is to show how time in nature can benefit wellbeing, particularly for those in living in urban environments.

Liverpool City Library

All invited to a series of science based storytimes held at local branch libraries and a series of expert talks for adults. Digital art and family VR workshops will also be presented.

Building on the success of 2020 and 2021 Live from the Lab programs, this music and science initiative brings science to new audiences on the radio.

Live from the Lab

By commissioning musicians to create emotional responses to science and to encourage scientists to communicate their research in partnership with members of the arts community, Live from the Lab takes science to new audiences by reaching people ‘where they are’ as fans of music and musicians. The project will create sonic stories to connect members of the public with new and exciting science and realise the potential of collaborations between science and art.

Northern Sydney Science Hub

A series of library talks and art science workshops will be presented by partner organisations that are members of the Northern Sydney Science Hub. The theme of “Glass: more than meets the eye” will be explored via scientific research from partner agencies with expertise in the areas of Photonics, Optics, Lasers, Quantum, Space and Astronomy. The group will also link with Dr Sarah Jane Moore and the Indigenous community. Fizzics Education will also present free family science shows.

Sonification, Music and Digital Art

Be inspired by a surprising evening of Sonification, Music and Digital Art at the Cell Block Theatre at National Art School. Dr Mark Temple will join academics who will discuss their work on diverse topics such as coronavirus biology, wetlands, climate change and emerging technologies in music. A common theme for each presentation will be how data sonification and/or field (audio) recordings feature in scientific work practice. Discussions will be led by Sunanda Creagh, an award-winning journalist and a Senior Editor at The Conversation. Additionally, each academic will demonstrate and/or perform music to accompany the audio. Video projections will be used to create an immersive performance environment. This will combine science (audio from data sonification/research), music (performance) and art (digital projection). The video projections of digital art will be generated in collaboration with past and present National Art School students and will be projected onto the walls of the Cell Block Theatre.

Blue World Discovery Tour

A virtual dive, ocean literacy workshops, a library exhibition and an animation presentation,  Blue World Discovery Tour will include a marine scientist led virtual scuba dive to make the participant feel like they have been on a scuba dive and experience a sense of wonder and excitement about the species in NSW waters. There will also be a Blue World Discovery Massive Colour-In where participants will work in groups or alone on a series of large format (1m x 1m) colouring-in sheets. The artwork will include species seen in the film and include interpretive material/ interesting facts about the species. Participants will develop some understanding of the connections between different species in marine habitats. There will be a Drop -in Colouring Booth with Merran Hughes who will help finalise the series of artworks with participants at the library. All sessions will target adults, kids and families in different sessions over Science Week.

Five Dock Library

Five Dock Library presents a free event for the community to come learn, experience, and create together. There will be a range of activities at hands-on stations throughout the venue, setup like market stalls, and a program of short demonstrations and talks operating from a demonstration stage area. The main audience is families, so some activities will be suitable for children, while others will be more suitable for youth and adults.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide & Protein Science

Two public talks with leading researchers on animal conservation, and repurposing molecules made by animals for human medicine. The event will be aimed at members of the general public without a science background with a particular focus on people over the age of 15 who would likely already have a grasp on the importance of animal conservation and finding new medicines. We have two key speakers who will each give 30 min talks followed by a 30 min panel session. One event is planned for the Powerhouse Museum and the other in partnership with Science at The Local in the Blue Mountains.

Lines of Best Fit

Lines of Best Fit is a science-themed improv show that seeks to engage audiences with scientific talks from researchers. The format of the show is an adaptation of an improv format called an Armando. This format features a monologist at the start, followed by a collection of improvised scenes inspired by the monologue. In Lines of Best Fit, the monologue that is featured is always a talk given by a scientist that focuses on scientific topics or concepts. Each show features a new guest scientist who gives a 4-minute presentation about their research. The improvisers hear the talk for the first time on stage, along with the audience. Audiences and/or improvisors will get to ask the scientist 1-2 questions about the talk, followed by approximately 20 minutes of scenes from the improv troupe inspired by the concepts presented in the talk, plus a brief recap with the speaker after the improv. This format takes approximately 30 mins.

Australian School of Entrepreneurship

Australian School of Entrepreneurship will present six interactive workshops addressing the topic: Innovation in Agriculture and Glass. Designed to promote entrepreneurial thinking and STEM knowledge and help young people develop innovative tech solutions for local problems in the Northern Rivers region, the free workshops will target young people aged 8 to 24 years over two days from 13-14 August 2022.

Hunter Innovation and Science Hub

Community members in the Hunter region are invited to participate in a series of displays, workshops, lectures presented at venues in Singleton, Maitland, East Maitland, Heatherbrae, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, as well as online. Hands on activities will be on offer at Newcastle Museum and in the Gardens, to form part of the Hunter Science Festival across the region.

The Corridor Project

Learn how to bring #habitatforspecies alive using stop motion animation, collage and drawing techniques. Be part of a series of workshops and help build an imaginary woodland situated on a river teaming with birds, animals, insects, and plants. All welcome to participate in a series of events combining ornithology, animation and scientific illustration experts together to engage communities in creating flora and fauna habitats envisaged as a short video. Participants will learn to draw and contribute their creations to an animation, guided by artists Todd Fuller and Angus Fisher over four workshops held over two weekends.

National grant recipients

Earlier this year, twelve NSW organisations were announced as successful National Science Week grant recipients from an annual national funding round.

  • Western Sydney Parklands Trust: Participate in a series of workshops and activities presented by Sydney’s science community, Science in the Scrub will answer these questions through hands-on experiments, stimulating curiosity in a new generation of scientists.
  • Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern: What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is our native flora used in bush medicine and soap making? How do Indigenous Australians make axes from stone and other artefacts? The Indigenous Science Experience at Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and Indigenous youth and Elder achievements.
  • Science in the Swamp – Dinosaurs and Superpowers: Head to Centennial Park to celebrate the science of nature’s superpowers. Wander the wetlands, try daytime astronomy, ID a frog, meet Centennial Park’s bats, and learn about Indigenous knowledge from Deadly Ed.
  • Sea Country Stories: Discover local Sea Country Stories by visual experiences such as sitting in a bark canoe, spearfishing flounder by Moon phases, and using Indigenous astronomy to understand the seasons. Guests will be immersed in virtual experiences (360 videos, drone and virtual reality) that celebrate Australian Indigenous marine science with stories from around the country.
  • The Mobile Poo Palace: Take An inside look at the digestive system with Hunter Medical Research Institute. Follow the food and take a tour of the digestive system in the oversized, inflatable Mobile Poo Palace.
  • Sustainable Fishing for a Big Blue Future: join the Marine Stewardship Council to learn how scientists are combatting overfishing, reducing bycatch and maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. Shoppers can play their part by learning what to look for when buying seafood.
  • Gardening below the surface: try your hand at restoring seagrass with Operation Posidonia at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science! Experts from Operation Posidonia share the science behind the restoration of these habitats in NSW estuaries through workshops, a field trip and collaborative art projects.
  • Pocket Astronomy in Pocket-Sized Towns: join astronomy and astrophysics students from Macquarie University to enjoy what towns have that the city lacks – darker skies and a better view of the Milky Way! Participants will also learn about light pollution, preserving the night sky, and Warrumbungle National Park – Australia’s first ‘Dark Sky Park’.
  • Inspiring the Mid-Coast with eDNA Science: Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services presents a discovery tour to find out what and who is lurking in the waters of the Manning River. Community DNA detectives will help scientists find DNA fragments in water samples to help detect fish, crayfish, eels, riverine frogs, rakali, platypus and the threatened Manning River turtle.
  • Girl Guides Association of NSW: Girls aged 10 to 17 from the ACT and surrounding area will get together for a Science Camp with researcher role models for fun demonstrations, hands-on workshops, night-time astronomy, and even a bit of personalised lab-coat decorating. 
  • Greenlight for Girls (g4g): be part of an international initiative to inspire girls to pursue their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Particpate in activities that demonstrate the links between science and everyday life and meet fellow science-enthusiasts from different schools and backgrounds.
  • Another Antarctica: Envisaging Antarctic Futures: University of Wollongong will present an interactive exhibition that presents Antarctic science, policy and different perspectives in a gallery space. Learn about Antarctic research via a series of interactive presentations and workshops within the gallery.

Read more about the national grant recipients

National Science Week is Inspiring Australia’s flagship campaign. In NSW, Inspiring Australia is a partnership between the University of Sydney, Investment NSW within the Department of Premier & Cabinet and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.