The Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication is an initiative of the Australian Science Communicators. The award recognises our heroes in science communication who have not yet had the recognition they deserve.
Nominations are now open for the 2022 Unsung Hero Award of Australian Science Communication.
UPDATE: Nominations close at 9 AM AEDT on Monday 06 February 2023.
The award will be announced at the ASC Conference in Canberra, 16 February 2023.
Previous recipients have been Jen Martin (2019), Kylie Andrews (2017), Geoff Crane (2016), Kylie Walker (2015), Frankie Lee (2014) and Craig Cormick (2013).
The award was relaunched by the 2011 National Executive, realigned from the previous ‘Unsung Hero of Science’ award (read some background here).
The criteria for nomination for the Unsung Hero Australian Science Communication are:
- Nominees (an individual or group) must be currently residing in Australia and actively engaged in the Australian science communication sector, interpreted broadly to include, but not limited to, pursuits such as:
- teaching or outreach (in science or science communication),
- broadcasting or reporting on science,
- script and book writing on science or science communication,
- science promotion,
- policy advice or program development in the sciences,
- health or climate communication,
- research into science communication, and
- interpretation of science within cultural institutions.
- The work the nominee must have been carried out and had an impact in Australia. Impact can be relevant to a range of areas, including but not limited to:
- contributing to the public or decision-makers’ understanding of science,
- increasing the science sector’s value or quality of science communication,
- improving the practice of science communication,
- improving policy within the science or science communication sector via advocacy or advice, or
- increasing the appreciation decision makers have for science communication expertise.
- Nominees should have not yet received significant recognition for their contribution to science or science communication.
- Minor awards or scholarships are not considered significant recognition, but recognition such as the Eurekas awards, OAMs, honorary doctorates, fellowships, being published in collections such as the ‘Best Australian Science Writing’, or having a large national public profile for their specialist topic would be considered exclusionary.
- This will intentionally rule out many popular science communicators or journalists.
- This will also mean the nominee may be largely unknown within the Australian Science Communicators membership.
- The nominee’s contribution has been so significant over a period of time (at least several years) that they should by now have been recognised.
The award may be made to a nominee whose work is across many fields, but the science communication component of their work must be highly significant.
Nominators should give careful consideration to what counts as impact in science communication and demonstrate that in their nomination. For example:
- A science communication professional working for a Government or Government-funded entity may score better if it is demonstrated that their strategic leadership led to positive change for the sector (e.g. changes in public or decision-maker attitudes or behaviours).
- A prolific communication researcher may score better if it were demonstrated that they conducted outreach within the sector to facilitate the translation of their work into practice.
- A scientist who communicates may score better if it were demonstrated that their contribution to science communication as a practice was significant and unrecognised.
Benefits of the award
Ideally, the award will assist the recipient in their work by publicising their unseen efforts in the field and leading to broader awareness within the Australian Science Communicators and the public. The award may also focus attention on the importance of their endeavour, give them greater credibility or help them overcome barriers. The award may also assist career progression or facilitate further recognition via other awards, fellowships, etc.
Recipients will have their citation presented at the Gala Dinner, receive a certificate, and be recorded on the Australian Science Communicators website. Past recipients have also received press coverage of their award.
Selection is based primarily on the written information provided on the nomination form by the nominator. The committee may access the public record to verify whether a nominee is eligible (e.g. have they already been recognised by another award), but will not consider projects or impacts not included in the nomination form.
A selection committee of representatives convened by the Executive Committee from the Australian Science Communicators will assess all nominations and determine the award recipient. In rare instances, the selection committee may request further information from nominators before making their final decision.
The Australian Science Communicators reserves the right to make no awards should the judges consider that the quality of candidates does not warrant awards, or should the nominated candidate(s) not satisfy the selection criteria.
Requirements for Award Nomination
The nominator must be a financial member of the Australian Science Communicators, but the nominee need not be a member. While not essential, the nominator should first consult with the nominee and any referees prior to the application.
Each nomination must comprise a fully completed award nomination form.