What to look for in 2015; new science prizes; and how to sell your science

Tell us what to look for in 2015; new science prizes; and how to sell your science

A message from Niall Byrne, Creative Director,  Science in Public:

Please tell me what the world’s top science reporters should look out for from Australia in 2015. We’re at the AAAS in San Jose this week, wining and dining journalists from The Economist, BBC TV, PBS Nova, The Daily Mail, New Scientist and many other science news outlets.

On Sunday night over dinner we’ll give 50 of them a heads-up on what to look out for this year, together with plenty of Aussie red wine. We’re not seeking highlights of 2014 science; our dinner supporters COSMOS and the AusSMC are helping with that. But we do want to flag anything that science reporters should look out for this year—big ideas, papers, discoveries, conferences, etc.

Please send your ideas to me at [email protected] and copy in [email protected]. She’s hosting the dinner this year. I’m back home if you want to bounce ideas off me—0417-131-977. We’ll also include the best suggestions in our next bulletin to national and international science journalists.

Later in the year we’ll do something similar in Korea for the World Conference of Science Journalists. And we are looking for 2014 highlights for our next Stories of Australian Science. More on these below.

Also in this note – new science prizes including a new Prime Minister’s prize for the commercial application of science and a new L’Oréal Fellowship for NZ, plus Science Meets Parliament, and some self-promotion. I’ve summarised some of the ways we can assist science organisations with their communication—from mentoring your scientists and communicators to integrated communication programs.

We have a science minister now, but we still need to be better at promoting the value proposition of science to government and the community. And that’s for all science—physical/life/medical; applied and basic. I think the special pleading for medical research has been damaging to science in Australia. We need to resell both the concept of science as exploration, and science as a driver of sustainable economic and societal development.

We want to help you do that in 2015:

Now, down to business. 

Celebrate success—encourage your best and brightest to apply for science prizes 

Some of the country’s best known science prizes are growing in 2015.

There’s a new $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for the Commercial Application of Science, recognising innovators from science and industry who have enhanced our economy, translating scientific knowledge into a substantial commercial impact.

Nominations are expected to open in the next month or so for the new prize, as well as for:

  • The $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, which recognises the heroes of Australian science
  • The $50,000 early-career prizes—Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year and The Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • And the $50,000 teaching prizes—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.

There’s also a new L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship for New Zealand, meaning this year there will be three $25,000 Australian Fellowships and one $25,000 NZ Fellowship. These awards recognise outstanding early-career, female scientists; helping them consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science. So if you know someone like this, encourage them to apply from 2 March. Visit www.loreal.scienceinpublic.com.au.

Plus there are two new Eureka Prizes, one for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration, and one for Rural Innovation. These join the 14 other prizes for research and innovation, science leadership, science communication, and the Sleek Geeks school prizes. Entries open now at www.australianmuseum.net.au/eureka

Also back for 2015 are:

  • The Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research, which will give two up-and-coming leaders in stem cell science $50,000 each to boost their career. Applications are open until Monday 16 March at www.stemcellfoundation.net.au/researchers/metcalf-prizes
  • The British Council’s FameLab Australia, which is open for nominations until Friday 27 February. We’re not involved this year but it’s good presentation training for young researchers. More at www.britishcouncil.org.au/programmes/science/famelab
  • Fresh Science, which will be kicking off in June and July with State events training young researchers and getting their stories reported in Australia and overseas. Keep an eye out for updates at www.freshscience.org.au
  • And for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Victoria with a medical innovation that could change the world, there’s MedTech’s Got Talent, with over $100,000 in cash prizes as well as training and mentorship up for grabs. You can submit your application until 8 April at www.stcaustralia.org/entrepreneur-challenge.

Most applications for these prizes come from people who have been encouraged to apply by their peers and managers. So do encourage anyone you think is deserving to apply. Not only do prizes-winners and their organisations gain recognition, a prize can also lead to more opportunities, especially for early-career scientists.

Engaging with the decision-makers—Science meets Parliament

Science Meets Parliament is on 24 and 25 March 2015, once again giving members of the science community the opportunity to connect with the decision-makers in Canberra.

It’s your chance to engage with government, with small groups of scientists meeting face-to-face with parliamentarians in Parliament House.

It’s also a forum for the 200 attending scientists to meet lobbyists, parliamentary staffers, politicians and journalists—getting a feel for government policymaking and tips on how to successfully engage politicians.

For more information, and to register, visit: http://scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au/science-meets-parliament/

Communicating with your stakeholders and the community—we can help

From the media to schoolkids, government to the pub, we help scientists and science organisations present their ideas in public spaces.

We’ve helped:

  • marine scientists talk about how we’ve lost half the coral from the barrier reef
  • physicists announce the discovery of the Higgs Boson
  • CSIRO reveal the connection between WiFi and astronomy
  • geneticists celebrate Watson and Crick, the human genome and now the advent of personalised medicine.

From mentoring your communication team to a fully implemented communication plan we can help you optimise your communication efforts.

We provide a full range of services from training and mentoring to media liaison, writing, annual reports, websites, social media strategies and so on—for details see our website www.scienceinpublic.com.au/about/our-services.

Running a conference? Get some media coverage

So you’ve got a room, or even a hotel full of some of the best and brightest minds in your field, and they’re announcing their latest research. Why not use the opportunity to get some media coverage?

Your conference is an opportunity to get your discipline, stories, speakers and issues in front of journalists, public and government and a properly managed media program can help increase impact on your community, and create a marketing platform.

We can help you find the stories from your conference, run your media room, take care of your social media, arrange public talks for your speakers and help with delegate boosting.

Media and communication training—get your stories out there

I believe there’s a hunger for science in the media. A well prepared story can generate coverage in the press—TV, radio, print and online.

We can prepare a media release for you and prepare your scientists. Our media and communication training for scientists can be delivered to one, ten, or hundreds of your staff. We hold regular forums and workshops around Australia, but we can also offer courses on request if you have enough participants.

Our courses are designed to help scientists and communication officers understand what the media needs to bring your work to life; and teach you how to help the media tell your story accurately. Our full day courses also cover communication with stakeholders and government.

Our next training courses are in Melbourne (3 March, 14 April, 3 June); Canberra (9 April); Perth (20 April); Sydney (22 April, 7 July) and Adelaide (1 May).

Email [email protected] to make a booking.

Pitch to the world’s best science journalists—in San Jose and Seoul

Right now, hundreds of the world’s science journalists are converging at the AAAS—the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This year it’s in San Jose, California.

This Sunday night over dinner we’ll give 50 of the world’s top science journalists a heads-up on what to look out for this year, together with plenty of Aussie red wine and copies of our Stories of Australian Science 2014. Our guests include journalists from The Economist, BBC TV, PBS Nova, The Daily Mail, New Scientist, The Times and Science magazine plus the ABC’s Robyn Williams. Your ideas are welcome.

Later in the year we head to Korea for the World Conference of Science Journalists, where again we’ll be sharing the best in Australian science, with our next edition, Stories of Australian Science 2015. That publication is now open for submissions, see below.

Showcase your science stories in our next publication—submissions open

We are gathering stories for our next showcase of Australian science—Stories of Australian Science 2015.

In this publication we’ll celebrate the best of Australian science from 2014, making the stories available in print and online.

Stories of Australian Science 2015 will be published in May, and distributed at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Korea in June. In total, we’ll distribute 10,000 copies to science leaders, government and journalists in Australia and internationally.

Each story is roughly 250 words long, and is accompanied by an image. We write the stories for you: all you need to do is tell us what you’d like to include in the publication, and give us the scientist’s contact details. If you want a sense of what the publication looks like, you can view last year’s online www.scienceinpublic.com/stories

We’re taking submissions for Stories of Australian Science 2015 now —drop me an email or give me a call if you’re interested in being part of it. Costs start from $1,200 a story.

We’re also planning for a Stories of Australian Light to be published later in the year highlighting optics, astronomy, solar, light sources and more—as part of the 2015 International Year of Light in Australia.

More about Science in Public

Contact me to find out more about our services to train, mentor, plan and deliver media and communication strategies for science. Our fees start from $800 for training and $3,000 for simple communication plans.

Communication plans, mentoring and training

We can review your stakeholders, messages and tools and help you and your communication team refine your plans. We offer this service for individual announcements or for a whole program or institute.

Media releases, launches, and campaigns

We can help you develop an outreach program, from a simple media release through to a launch, a summit, a conference, or a film.

Publications and copy-writing

From a tweet to a newsletter; from a brochure to a Nature supplement, we can write compelling and accurate science-driven copy which captures the essence of your story and purpose.

Kind regards,

Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public

82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood VIC 3015
PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015

03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977

[email protected]


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