The 2024 ASC Prizes

The Australian Science Communicators (ASC) is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2024 ASC awards.

Along with the Unsung Hero award, the prizes now including the Science Communication Hero of Australia Award, Inspiring Project in Science Communication Award, Scientist Communicator Prize, and the Australian Science Communicators President’s Medal. These new accolades celebrate outstanding contributions and address gaps in Australia’s science communication recognition landscape.

Science Communication Hero of Australia: Niall Byrne and Sarah Brooker

The dynamic duo behind Science in Public, Niall and Sarah were recognised jointly for their partnership’s contribution to SciComm and the ASC. Their nominator highlighted their synergy, creating a force greater than the sum of its parts.

Sarah shared, “Scientists are my heroes. They have ideas and know-how that can fix many of the challenges we face in the world. It’s been a privilege working with many of them.

“Helping to get their work into the public space so that it informs policy, changes behaviours, inspires and informs.

“Science communication is fun. You get to hang out with very clever people. And then help them share their knowledge. What a buzz!

“To each one of the science communicators out there. Your work does make a difference. One researcher at a time. One child at a time.

“Keep doing it. My children need you. Science needs you. Scientists need you.”

2024 Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication: Catriona Nguyễn-Robertson

Known as the Singing Scientist, Catriona’s passion for engaging diverse audiences through articles, science shows, and teaching communication skills has earned her this award. Nominator Jen Martin said that “… communicating science and engaging diverse audiences is Catriona’s passion and forte.”

“I genuinely love doing all the things I do in science communication. Every day is different: focusing on a different area of STEM, working with a different audience, or communicating in a different way,” said Catriona.

“I’m always trying to make a positive impact in STEM education, and to be recognised for this is an immense honour.”

Inspiring Project in Science Communication: AusSMC Collaborative Journalism Project

This innovative project brought together scientists and journalists in five newsrooms, producing 75 articles, seven videos, 28 infographics, and resulting in over 4 million views.

Dr Susannah Eliott, CEO of AusSMC, said, “We’re thrilled to be the inaugural winners of this new ASC award. The award is not just for us at the AusSMC but for all the journalists and scientists working together in the newsrooms – they not only embraced the idea but produced some fantastic unique and in-depth content.”

The Inspiring Project award was accepted by Olivia Henry, Media Officer at the AusSMC.

Scientist Communicator Prize: Associate Professor Paola Magni

A forensic biologist, Paola Magni, applies natural sciences to crime scene investigations.

“This award means the world to me because it symbolises an ongoing journey that has profoundly changed my life and the lives of those who are no longer with us,” said Paola.

“My journey as a science communicator began with presenting scientific evidence in court, and continues every day sharing my research and preparing the next generation of scientists and innovators.

“It is my hope that by fostering a deeper understanding of science, more people will be able to make informed decisions, trust the scientific process, and, why not, consider becoming scientists themselves. If I can do it, so can you!”

ASC President’s Medal: Professor Emma Johnston

A champion of sustainability and diversity, Professor Emma Johnston has been recognised for her significant contributions to Australian science communication. A regular media commentator and co-presenter of a Foxtel/BBC series, she currently serves as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney.

“Being selected to receive this medal from amongst so many esteemed colleagues who share a passion for promoting awareness in science and technology and making science accessible to our communities, is a deep honour,” said Emma.

“Being recognised by the ASC for contributing to and having an impact on science communication in Australia is an accolade that means a great deal.”

The awards night

These awards were presented at the gala dinner at WA Museum Boola Bardip during ASC’s 2024 national conference in Perth. The conference, titled Support, Connect, Grow highlighted how quality communication can dismantle barriers, bridge knowledge gaps, and foster evidence-driven decision-making.

Congratulations to these outstanding contributors to science communication in Australia!

Leave a Reply