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Engaging Science Grants—2016/17 round 1 recipients

Twenty-one recipients of the Engaging Science grants will share in over $200,000 to help raise the profile of science in the community.

Recipient Project Amount Project Summary
Central Highlands Science Centre Inc. Science club assistant volunteer pilot program $10,000 Central Highlands Science Centre (CHSC) is a grassroot non-profit that delivers innovative out-of-school, community-led STEM programs and learning experiences to children living in regional Queensland. The centre's highly successful after-school science club program (6-12 year olds) requires a pool of enthusiastic volunteers to assist science educators deliver each 5 week program. This pilot aims to develop a new volunteer model that recruits, trains and supports high school students to participate in and lead hands-on, STEM-based activities.
James Cook University She Flies: using drones to build STEM confidence in girls $9,980 The 'new drone economy' is estimated to be worth $US20 billion per annum by 2020, providing 10% of future jobs. Australia leads the world in non-defence applications of drone technology. Yet women and girls are largely missing from the important emerging sector (<1% female pilots). 'She Flies' will give girls confidence in a male dominated STEM field. We will create and deliver a hands-on workshop for high school girls and their parents and teachers, teaching technical skills, safety and environmental survey.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science AIMS Science Days $10,000 As part of the 2017 National Science Week celebration, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) will open its doors to local secondary students to participate in an exciting exploration of modern topical marine science in practice. Students will immerse themselves in the innovative facilities that have led AIMS' international recognition as the premiere tropical marine science research agency in Australia.
Stanley River Environmental Education Centre Water quality monitoring $9,957 Stanley River Environmental Education Centre (SREEC) delivers programs for south east Queensland schools that take students into the environment to learn in an immersive and multifaceted way. A key component of these learning experiences is the physiochemical analysis of the water. The centre uses electronic data logging software and probes to enable faster and more accurate collection, which helps students become more engaged in critical analysis.
Runcorn State High School Year 7 STEM makerspace project $9,000 Year 7 students at Runcorn State High School will be involved in a STEM Makerspace Project. A Makerspace is a place where students come together to use and learn how to use materials, and develop creative projects. Students will be involved in an 8 week program where they will engage in STEM-related activities, from coding, programming, robotics, electronics, craft and lego creation. Kuraby State School students will join the program towards the end with the 2 schools working together.
Independent Schools Queensland STEM Alpha Kids $10,000 Innovative technologies, professional learning sessions and a STEM kit of resources will provide the basis for students and teachers to participate in fun, hands-on science and technology activities in independent schools in 11 regional areas of Queensland. Schools will join with their local libraries to share the fun and learning with parents and the wider community. At the end of the project there will be a virtual STEMkidsCon (conference) to celebrate science engagement.
Centenary Heights SHS Toowoomba STEM Enrichment Hub $17,097 Toowoomba STEM Enrichment Hub will be a pivotal resource in the development of a whole-school and community approach to driving the STEM agenda for our students and our regional community. It will be the space where ideas can be researched, constructed, tested and implemented. It will be supported by existing on-line and virtual resources. The Hub will operate at Centenary Heights State High School, steered by staff, students and parents in partnership with community experts and organisations.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries DAF Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science competition $10,000 The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' (DAF) Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science competition provides students from Years P-12 the opportunity to participate in a stimulating, hands-on, agricultural science project each year. The competition's aim is to encourage young people to develop an interest in science and agriculture as an exciting career choice. A large range of prizes are offered to winning students and presented at an annual Awards Day and Ag Science Expo.
Outback Gondwana Foundation Ltd. Outback Paleo to Present $9,835 This project brings together science, people and the outback. In south west Queensland exciting scientific discoveries are happening in the world of vertebrate palaeontology and natural history. This project will bring this science to remote Queensland communities, schools and visitors, right where dinosaur and megafauna discoveries are being made. Palaeontologists, geologists and Eromanga Natural History Museum staff will engage with schools, local and wider community members, inspiring them to find out more.
QBI—The University of Queensland Queensland Brain Bee Challenge $9,600 The Australia Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) was started in Queensland in 2006 by Professor Linda Richards at The University of Queensland's, Queensland Brain Institute (QBI). More than 1,500 Queensland students from all regions of the state competed in round 1 of this neuroscience competition. Round 2 will be held at QBI and feature a test for students, followed by tours and group activities to determine an Australian finalist. This event engages students, teachers and parents.
Cooktown State School Science to the Sea $10,000 This 3 day event brings university STEM lecturers to the Cooktown community to foster further STEM engagement. The breakdown of the 3 days is: Day 1 official opening, afternoon science fair and dinner with the key note speaker, Day 2 STEM science visits to schools including Cooktown State School, Holy Cross and Endeavour Christian College and the STEM community forum, and Day 3 STEM robotics and engineering workshop and mini design challenge to be lead by a robotics lecturer.
Bennyk Enterprises The Secret Life of Science! $10,000 The short film exposé, The Secret Life of Science, features the professional and personal lives of everyday Sunshine Coast women researchers involved in world-class STEM activities. The fun and informative video explores diversity in STEM women, and breaks down the stigmas of work-life balance and ‘unsexy’ science, by introducing amazing women from various stages of their STEM careers. Personal interviews will showcase highlights of their work alongside a ‘secret glimpse’ into their lives.
Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation Mapping Mithaka Country $10,000 Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation received consent determination in October 2015. The Elders want the corporation's Cultural Heritage Officers to map their sites of significance. An anthropologist, a community Registered Training Authority, a local shire and Mithaka have teamed up to provide a Certicate II in Anthropology for local community members so they are trained to identify, understand, map and record their sites of significance. The program is also open to young people on stations and towns within Mithaka Country
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Day in the life of a scientist $10,000 Senior biology students from the Moreton Region will be invited to visit Queensland's Institute for Medical Research, QIMR Berghofer. The day trip will give students the opportunity to conduct experiments in the education laboratory, hear about the latest in medical research, and learn about career paths and university study options in scientific research.
Stem Galaxy Studios Game design engaging stuents in Queenslan's unique biodiversity $10,000 Stem Galaxy Studios will create a free online game design platform, catalying student engagement with Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, iconic wildlife, and Riversleigh fossils. Users will design versions of Go Extinct!, Ariel Marcy’s (US-Aus Fulbright Scholar and The University of Queensland PhD candidate) award-winning board game. Students will learn how to read evolutionary trees, synthesise local research, produce citizen science, and engage with a profound scientific idea—that life, despite dazzling diversity, shares common ancestors.
Oreval Full STEaM Ahead! $10,000 Introducing children to professionals who are solving problems today will stimulate the natural curiosity of children, building their confidence and desire to help solve the problems of tomorrow. Full STEaM Ahead! channels the natural curiosity of young minds towards STEM subjects, through engagement with interesting scientists, engineers and others working in STEM fields. Giving children professional STEM role models who are not part of their daily environment will open their minds to more career options.
Central Queensland University Science Rocks! $10,000 Science Rocks! is an exciting engagement project created by Central Queensland University (JCU) to connect with students from 7 high schools, and involve them in dynamic, hands-on science-based activities at the university's Bundaberg campus. It will help build capacity in university science staff by developing their teaching skills so they can deliver science activities for students from Years 1-7. Staff will also develop and deliver appropriate, interactive science activities for the students to celebrate National Science Week 2017.
Aspley Special School Gardening scientifically $8,600 All students at Aspley Special Scohol have a disability. The school's gardens are hands-on Makerspaces where the students come together to learn, use materials and develop their STEM knowledge to grow foods for hospitality. This project adds a higher level and greater integration of STEM knowledge and skills for the students. They will measure, collect, record and analyse data on moisture levels in soil to determine the watering required for ideal growth. This project will increase the number of students engaging in this space and therefore participating in STEM.
James Cook University AB3—Australian Backyard Bird Box: Connecting School Students to the Environment $10,000 AB3 (an Internet of Things device with a touch screen) will be deployed in Townsville schools. AB3 will provide games to encourage students to learn local bird calls, record bird calls within the school area, identify the recorded calls, and send these identified calls over the internet to help researchers develop tools to monitor bird diversity. AB3 will leverage students’ passionate for technology and animals to engage them with STEM, their local environment, and local research activities.
The University of Queensland Soapbox Science Townsville 2017: promoting women in science in regional Queensland $9,900 Soapbox Science is a public engagement event promoting STEM women scientists to a wide audience and challenging the stereotypes of what a scientist does and looks like. After a successful first ever Soapbox Science event in Australia, held in Brisbane in 2016, we aim to bring this fantastic initiative to Far North Queensland for National Science Week 2017. By organising an event in Townsville we will be able to reach an audience that may not be exposed to science events like these.
The Royal Society of Queensland Science for decision makers $7,500 The Royal Society will host a series of short courses aimed at improving the confidence of senior leaders in business, government and academe, so they can brief their organisation on science-related subjects. Policy experts will present a mix of lectures, field activities and round-table discussions including case studies, to demonstrate how evidence-based science can inform policy and decision-making, and give participants the tools to apply scientific method to issues within their circles.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
23 February, 2017

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