ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Craven and Tom Carruthers

We’re in full swing preparing for the Perth 2024 conference. By the time of this newsletter, our abstract submissions will be open, super-early bird registrations will be available in the coming days, and we have already secured our first sponsor. It’s all very exciting.

A little sooner than June, we have a networking gathering, and the student symposium. We extend a warm invitation to all members to participate and stay updated on the latest developments in the field of science communication. This year, we’ve broadened the scope to include PhD candidates, promising a diverse range of presentations.

Behind the scenes, the team are progressing with revisions to the membership portal. As communicated a week ago, now is the time to ensure your member details are up to date before we shut down to port to the new one. We hope to have further updates on progress next month.

With the year-end comes the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This gathering is a crucial opportunity for members to vote and engage on the range of changes we are hoping to enact in the next 12 months. We strongly encourage all eligible members to attend. For those unable to be present, please remember to submit your proxies.

Furthermore, if you have interest, we invite you to consider joining the National Council. Both of us are offering to continue the co-president role, and should the membership support that intention, we are aspiring to achieve a lot in what we expect to be our final 12-months in this role.

Finally, we would like to make a big welcome to Emma Berthold and Kate Patterson who have joined us in the Executive Office role as contractors for the immediate future. We are excited that we’ve been able to afford to have the support of them both, especially through this period of increased activity. Welcome aboard.

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Craven and Tom Carruthers

Welcome to another month of events. We’ve got our monthly member-only networking event and our national careers night. Also this month, Tom’s sneaking in two quick webinars with winners of this year’s Eureka Prizes.

In conference news, Jirana has just returned from a scouting trip in Perth and after many site visits, we have a healthy list of quotes to consider. A big shout out to the Perth branch and others for their support in getting this all going. The look of the week is taking shape. The conference theme has been confirmed to be Support, Connect, Grow – a reference to the essential role that the community plays in resilience against misinformation. We’ll be seeking sponsors in the coming weeks – please do get in touch if you know your organisation is keen to be involved.

We have some exciting news regarding the new website and member services platform. After what have been months of trials and discussions, we’re able to share that we’ve opted to engage with an Australian platform known as Members. This has many advantages over the previous US-based solution that was no longer fit for purpose. A big shout out to Jin-oh for helping us progress this through. We hope to be able to share a sneak peek at what our system will be capable of by the time of the AGM.

In scicomm policy, we’ve submitted our response to Australia’s draft National Science and Research Priorities. In the submission we thank the Office for including key issues we raised at the Roundtable earlier this year, and emphasise the crucial need for science communication beyond a publicist function. You can read the full submission here. For our full list of recent policy submissions and position statements, you can now go to this new page on the website.

A quick thank you to those who shared around or expressed interest in the interim Executive Officer position. We’re currently in contract discussions and will likely have two people share this role in the coming weeks. They’ll be prioritising operational matters to ensure we catch up on our legal and financial obligations, and in general just help us get through to the end of the year. Hopefully, this will reduce some of the load that both of us have been absorbing over the past few months.

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Craven and Tom Carruthers

Where-in-the-world-is-Tom? Turns out he just couldn’t stay away from #ScienceWeek, getting into Perth just in time for at least one event. Congratulations to everyone for getting through – we know how busy August is for many of us.

Behind the scenes, we’ve kept busy continuing work on next year’s conference, the website/CRM revamp, and preparing the ASC events we hope you got to enjoy. A big shout out to those members who have been assisting. Local branches and teams are also gearing up for some events in the later part of this year, so keep your eyes peeled.

Looking ahead, this month we’re both expecting to be in Perth to further conference planning and other strategic ASC business. Please get in touch if there’s someone or something we should check-out while we’re there!

We want to give a little shout out to Emma Berthold who has been supporting us in an ad hoc contracting role after Kali resigned. We are currently on the hunt for a bit more support to reduce Emma’s load, and have a paid contractor role now available. We would greatly appreciate you sharing it within your networks to anyone who might be suitable.

We’ve had a couple of events this week – including Networking on Thursday and we hope that people got the chance to go see Jen Martin in discussion with Ally Watson, Founder and CEO of Code like a Girl. Keep your eyes on our socials as there may be one more national event later this month (Tom’s trying to work something up).Looking forward to October, we’ve got another networking event and our national careers night. On to the future!

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

The beginning of the second half of the calendar year has been a busy one for us. This last month, we’ve had several meetings a week working across the breadth of the ASC for the membership.

Firstly, member events. As you may have noticed, we’ve two events this month including a successful networking event and ‘a damn good investment’, with more to come. Keep an eye on this page that will be updated as we lock things in. A reminder that if you have an idea, especially any PD opportunities for members, please get in touch. We have not been able to cover everything we want to with our current capacity, so are very keen to add more member-only events to the calendar and are aware that our events do not cover every aspect or member type.

Sticking with events, it’s time to save the date for our next conference! ASC2024 has been locked in, we’re going to Perth, the week of 17th June 2024! Time to put aside your budgets and prepare yourselves. We are still to lock in finer details and hope to make the most of the time in the west for those traveling from the east coast, if you’re keen to help, let us know. In the meantime, sign up for specific updates on the conference here.

Lastly, we’re getting into the thick of updating our membership software which will link up our website, member portal, events and newsletters. After a series of demos last month, we will be progressing with a new provider, and (fingers crossed), present you with a flashy new system by the AGM… we’ve probably now jinxed ourselves, but we’ll give it a red hot go!

For those following the journey of “where in the world is Tom?”. Tom is beaming in from Germany this week and getting up at 4am for meetings. Also, after getting married last year, Jirana is changing her last name, so do not be alarmed to be receiving emails from Jirana Craven, we have not managed to replace Jirana with another Jirana, it’s still the same Jirana!

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

A lot of conversations have been happening this month, and we’re closer to more and more answers as we look to start local and national events, professional development opportunities, ASC2024, governance, SCOPE (please fill in the survey!) and website renewals. It’s hard to share more than ‘it’s coming’. If you know either of us, you know we dream big, and we thank you for your patience. Of course, if you’ve any volunteer time you’d like to donate to help speed up the process, please let us know. We’re on the hunt for help with our website and membership portal upgrade along with conference and governance help. Just get in touch:

ASC is getting invited to more and more things, this time we were invited to attend the announcement of the Australian Science Olympiad team at Parliament House. Cassandra Layne (our National Treasurer) has provided an update on the event.

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

This month while Tom is still overseas, Jirana attended a workshop as part of the Australian Government’s Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review. It was an opportunity to discuss with other STEM related groups that promoted or worked on increasing diversity. The goal was to find solutions to increasing the different types of diversity, and identifying what already works and how it could be upscaled. Thank you to those who took the time to reply to our survey on this and share their thoughts, these were taken to the meeting and weaved into the discussion. The thoughts and ideas that we provided resonated with the group and were of value. Hopefully it leads to great change!

We also had a chat with a few ASC members in cities where there is currently no active branch, with the hope that although there might not be a branch, at least some local activity can be happening in the meantime. If you’re in a city with no branch, and would like to organise a one-off event, please get in touch. We’re happy to provide financial support and provide software resources for events that will benefit the membership. Send us an email and we can have a chat about it: alternatively, if you have an event idea (or want to organise) for the national membership, please get in touch too.

Hopefully now that we’re becoming more refreshed we’ll be able to start focusing on more events, governance, CRM and website updating. If you’re free to dedicate time to help, please get in touch. We’ll be reaching out to conference people soon so there’s still time to put your hand up to volunteer (we’ve fixed the form so you should have access now!).

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

This month we write from different continents with Tom still traveling Europe after the PCST conference where we put forward our bid to host PCST2027. You may have had the opportunity to attend the webinar on PCST but for those who couldn’t make it, Tom has promised to give a thorough update on how PCST went, however it’s been hard to resist the warm sun of Malta. In short, we did not win the bid, and we’ve received some feedback that will inform any future bid attempt. 

Last month we also had a webinar with the ASC’s Science Meets Parliament delegates. We hope to have the recording online soon – just as soon as we recover access to our YouTube account! Stay tuned.

Looking forward, it’s time for us to be thinking about the next ASC conference, and it’d be great to get some help with this and create a conference committee. Expressions of interest are open for those who wish to help, gain experience or be a part of organising the next conference wherever it may be. Some of you may be aware of some of our initial ideas but nothing is confirmed so be creative. Fill in this form if you’re interested in being a part of the organising committee.

Finally we’d like to end with a reminder that we’re always on the lookout for people who want to help ASC, or are looking to gain experience in ways that ASC can help. If you’re wanting more experience interviewing, writing articles, policy, government or advocacy work, website, project or event management, please get in contact. We’d definitely appreciate the help.

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

We hope this note finds you in good spirits. Last month, our colleagues Claire, Phil, Adam, Preeti, and Isabella represented the ASC at Science Meets Parliament. They had the opportunity to engage with policy-makers and stakeholders, and reported having a great and inspiring time. We will post a detailed blog and webinar about the event and their experience soon.

In the past month we have also provided input into two national policy issues and extend our gratitude to those members who contributed. We contributed to STA’s submission on Developing Advanced Manufacturing in Australia and secondly, both of us have contributed to a roundtable with the Chief Scientist on the refresh of the National Science Priorities and Statement. We expect to share these submissions publicly soon. We thank those who have contributed to this process – your insights and perspectives are invaluable. If you are interested in contributing to the policy sub-group in the future, please let us know (

Looking ahead, we know many will be attending the PCST conference in Rotterdam (April 12-14). Tom will be attending, presenting our in-person bid for the 2027 PCST conference. We wish Tom and all ASC members the best of luck, and look forward to hearing about your time and gathered insight.

You may have noted that we’ve started to publish some pieces on the ASC2023 conference, including most recently, Prof the Hon Kim Carr’s speech on A Scientifically Engaged Australia. Keep an eye on our blog as we continue to publish resources and pieces there.

Finally, we have become aware of a contract issue within the Inspiring Australia Network that has ramifications for science communicators and the community in the ACT. We are following up with our colleagues in this space and investigating how the ASC can best support. We will keep you informed via our blog or email but should you wish to have additional engagement, feel free to get in touch.

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to another exciting month of science communication!

Tom & Jirana

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

You’d think that we’d be taking a break and resting after what was a very busy and overcommitted month, however, after finishing the conference and EMCR intensive (which you can read about here), we switched gear and have been hurriedly finalising our bid for PCST 2027. Hopefully March will bring us some respite before Tom travels to PCST, and Jirana holds down home-base. Please let us know if you’re going to Rotterdam as well.

As some might remember, we talked about having a Special General Meeting during the conference to address ticket pricing and strategic direction. We weren’t able to make it work in time, and have opted to hold a virtual meeting instead. Once we’ve everything ready, we’ll let you know via email. 

The conference brought about many action items, and we’ll start actioning these while we still have momentum. Looking forward, we’ll start connecting with branches this month, start planning out events for the year, focus on putting the new strategic plan into place … and hopefully have a second to breathe! If you have webinar or event ideas for professional development of the ASC membership, please let us know about it and email with your idea.

If we haven’t said it enough already, thank you for making the conference amazing. We’ll let you know about the next one as soon as we can – in the meantime, if you’d like to help out with the next conference, please get in touch

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

We start this issue of SCOPE with a huge thank you to the membership for your continued support and our re-election into the Co-President role. We’re a little daunted by the list of things we’re tackling over the next 12 months, but we are excited by the challenge and the potential for success. A bit thank you also to Jen (VP), Cass (Treasurer), Ruby (co-secretary) and Kate (co-secretary) who put their hands up to be on the National Committee. We’re really excited with what this team has to offer, and feel privileged to have their expertise, willingness and support.

Also at the AGM we farewelled Kali Madden and thanked her for her years of service to the ASC. We are looking forward to having the opportunity to properly embarrass her at the conference in February. Get your stories and photos ready! We also held the inaugural Honours & Masters Research Symposium and Careers Night. The talks will be online soon for anyone who wasn’t able to attend.

Along with early-bird tickets being available now until 31 December, we are pleased to share that abstract submissions for the ASC conference are open. The link to tickets and abstract submissions can be found on the conference page, along with the timeline for when early bird and hybrid tickets run out. We understand that it is a busy time of year, but we do ask that for anyone who is considering presenting a case study, some research, or something else, to please fill in the form as soon as practical.