Sydney, 19 July 2023: The Australian Museum (AM) today announced the 12 finalists selected in the Science Engagement category at the prestigious 2023 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
Highlighting outstanding contributions through citizen science programs and fostering the understanding of science and science journalism, there are four prizes for Science Engagement. The nominated initiatives touch on a myriad of pertinent topics, from climate change and biodiversity to the future of artificial intelligence.
Kim McKay AO, CEO and Director of the Australian Museum, said, "Engaging the public in the wonders and realities of science has never been more vital. As we navigate a world that is increasingly influenced by scientific developments, fostering a broad understanding and appreciation for science can significantly shape our collective future.
“The positive correlation between high-quality science engagement and favourable public attitudes towards scientific research is undeniable. By bringing science into the community, we're not just sharing knowledge but cultivating an informed society that can actively participate in discourse and decision-making around critical scientific matters."
"The Australian Museum and other institutions play a pivotal role in this endeavour. Our efforts in making science accessible and fascinating can influence the way people view and interact with science. The initiatives showcased in the Science Engagement category of the AM Eureka Prizes exemplify this ethos. They beautifully demonstrate how scientific exploration can be made relatable and intriguing, from hands-on conservation activities to citizen science programs. These commendable endeavours are not just spreading understanding, but igniting curiosity, encouraging inquiry, and creating lifelong learners of science."
The 2023 Australian Museum Eureka Prize Finalists In Science Engagement are:
Department of Industry, Science and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science
1 Million Turtles, Western Sydney University; La Trobe University and University of New England
The 1 Million Turtle Team’s Community Conservation Program uses the TurtleSAT app to involve citizen scientists in hands-on activities such as habitat construction and restoration, nest protection and fox management. Emphasising STEM literacy and First Nations knowledge, the Australia-wide program has influenced policy, and saved over 1000 freshwater turtles and 200 nests in 2022 alone.
Dr Grey Coupland, Murdoch University
Dr Grey Coupland's Miyawaki Forest Outreach Program immerses students in climate and biodiversity action. With guidance and mentorship from Dr Coupland, participants plant and monitor dense native pocket forests in their own school. The young citizen scientists learn valuable STEM skills, and can see the tangible impact of their environmental stewardship.
Sea Slug Census, Aquamarine Australia
Since its inception, the Sea Slug Census has seen over 3000 divers, snorkellers and ocean enthusiasts photograph more than 930 species of slugs, including some never before documented in Australian waters. This project feeds into global biodiversity databases to allow scientists to detect important changes in the distribution of Australia’s sea slugs.
Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science
Dr Lila Landowski, University of Tasmania
From viral videos to record-breaking Zoom lectures, multi-award-winning neuroscientist and science communicator Dr Lila Landowski reaches across mediums and platforms to deliver her message of scientific progress for a brighter world. Her relatable style draws on the inspiring story of her own journey into STEM, engaging an audience of millions globally.
Professor Euan Ritchie, Deakin University
In the face of dual climate change and extinction crises, Professor Euan Ritchie is a sought-after voice, writing popular articles and influential opinion pieces, live-tweeting field research and offering insight in radio interviews. He guides policy and fosters public understanding of the natural world and how science can help overcome significant environmental challenges.
Professor Toby Walsh, UNSW
Professor Toby Walsh is a world-renowned authority in artificial intelligence (AI), exploring subjects such as self-driving cars and autonomous weapons. On television, in books and at academic forums he leads conversations about our AI-driven future: what it will look like, how we can prepare and what we should be wary of.
Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Science Journalism
Jo Chandler, Griffith Review
Jo Chandler’s longform essay Buried Treasure follows the most ambitious Australian Antarctic endeavour in a generation. The award-winning journalist had tracked the story for over a decade before pitching her article, which skilfully navigates urgent questions about science, our heating planet and the human condition.
Published in the Griffith Review (Edition 77: Real Cool World), 2 August 2022
Nicky Phillips, Nature
In her article, 'She was convicted of killing her four children. Could a gene mutation set her free?’, Nicky Phillips skilfully guides readers through the complex genomics research presented at a new judicial inquiry into the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg. Published just before the first hearing, it became one of Nature’s most-read online stories that week. Published in Nature, 9 November 2022.
Michael Slezak, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
As ABC’s national science, technology and environment reporter, Michael Slezak regularly delivers accurate, engaging coverage of scientific advances to millions of Australians. From NASA missions in central Australia, to the ecological impact of gas development projects and the politics of climate change – his reports are newsworthy, accessible and impactful. Aired on ABC TV and published online 18 May, 11 June and 4 October 2022.
Department of Industry, Science and Resources Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion
Indigenous Australian Engineering School, Engineering Aid Australia, University of Sydney and Curtin University
The Indigenous Australian Engineering School strategically supports First Nations students across Australia to complete STEM studies at secondary and tertiary levels, opening up career opportunities in engineering and technology. Of the 247 students who attended annual on-campus events since 2018, 71 have enrolled in a STEM-related course at an Australian university.
Little Bang Discovery Club, Children’s Discovery
Designed in collaboration with STEM experts, Little Bang Discovery Club ignites a curiosity for science in children from preschool age up – more than half of whom live in regional areas. The program reaches over 80,000 kids a year in the playful and familiar environment of their local public library.
That’s What I Call Science
Based in Tasmania, the volunteer-run radio show and podcast, That’s What I Call Science reaches over 10,000 people a week with programming designed to increase representation of diverse voices in STEMM. Since 2019, they’ve given the science community a platform to upskill and create engaging and accessible content for a breadth of listeners.
The AM Eureka Prizes, Australia's most comprehensive science awards, distribute $180,000 in prize money across a vast range of research areas, from environmental studies to innovative technologies, citizen science, leadership, and mentoring.
The winners of the 2023 AM Eureka Prizes will be unveiled on Wednesday 23 August at an awards ceremony held at the Australian Museum. An online livestream of the awards will also be accessible to all audiences on the night. Register for the livestream at australian.museum/eurekaprizes.
For more information and a full list of 2023 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists: australian.museum/eurekaprizes
What: Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Award Ceremony
Where: Hintze Hall, Australian Museum, corner of College and William Streets, Sydney
Theatre style award ceremony attended by 400 guests and live broadcast online
When: Wednesday 23 August 2023
Live broadcast from 7:30pm AEST via australian.museum/eurekaprizes
Interviews available with finalists
Media pack, including releases, finalist info, images and video HERE
Twitter: @eurekaprizes Facebook: @eurekaprizes
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