SCREN: Science Communication Research and Education Network

Special thanks to Sean Perera from ANU for this contribution.

SCREN is a network of science communication researchers and educators in Australia, and aims to enable members to take part in collaborative science communication research and share best practices in science communication training at tertiary institutions.

Inaugurated in June 2007 under the auspices of the Director of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at The Australian National University in Canberra, SCREN’s current membership includes academics from thirteen Australian universities. The Network has been successful in attracting participation from The University of Auckland and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

In April 2011, a collective body of members met over two days at the SCREN Symposium in Canberra to deliberate future directions for science communication research and tertiary training, further to outcomes of the Inspiring Australia Conference (more about that later).

If you would like participate in SCREN or have any question please e-mail here.

Dr Sean Perera

Associate Researcher
Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
The Australian National University

Grants to realise big ideas from young rural innovators

Information provided by Lara Cole, Events Coordinator ABARES
(Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

Grant applications are now open for the 2012 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. If you’re 18-35, this is your chance to apply for up to $22,000 to fund your project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue to benefit Australia’s primary industries.

The Awards aim to encourage science, innovation and technology in rural industries and help to advance the careers of young scientists through national recognition of their research ideas. Project recipients can undertake groundbreaking research and innovation with the objective of keeping Australia’s rural industries sustainable and profitable. The Awards have already helped more than 150 young Australians make their ideas a reality and showcase their talent to the world.

Visit the website for information on applying for the Awards, tips and advice from Award partners, the application form and details on the successful 2011 recipients and their projects. Applications close 5pm AEDT Friday 18 November 2011.

Social Media’s growing interest in Science: Aust. science followers top half a million

We all know how important social media is for any communications today. But what about science communications? It seems that social media interest in science is an exciting and growing area which all science communicators can tap into.

Also don’t forget to follow ASC (@auscicomm) on TWITTER!

[Press Release from Science Alert]:

Aust. science followers top half a million

Science from Australia and New Zealand has attracted half a million followers on the global internet phenomenon Facebook.

Australasian science news reported on this month topped 500,000 Facebook fans worldwide for the first time.

“We’re finding there is a wonderful appetite among young people worldwide to learn more about Australian and NZ science via Facebook,” says ScienceAlert managing director Chris Cassella. “From a short item on Facebook, they can click right through to the full story on ScienceAlert, or to the university or science institution where it originated.

“Science Minister Kim Carr has encouraged us all to ‘inspire Australia’. Well, thanks to Facebook we’re inspiring the world, as well Australia, with what our science is achieving, and with the science courses and jobs it offers.”

Mr Cassella said that Facebook itself now had 800 million users – and is growing rapidly worldwide, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. “It’s clearly the coming thing in communication, replacing traditional media and even websites as the place where people get their information and share new ideas.

“For half of the 18-34 year old users, Facebook is the first thing they check when they wake up in the morning. Half of them do it on their smartphones, before even getting out of bed.”

In another milestone, ScienceAlert’s following has overtaken the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in popularity among Australian Facebook sites. “That was pretty remarkable, considering the huge boost which Australian tennis gained from Sam Stosur’s win at the US Open,” Mr Cassella says.

“On Facebook at least, Australasian science now ranks ahead of the tennis, rugby league, Cricket Australia, our World Cup soccer bid and popular rock ‘n roll station Triple J.

“You can see the rankings on”

“In our view, this underlines the remarkable power of social media to increase awareness of Australasian science and technology – and to expand the global reach of our university courses and research positions.”

He added “In another remarkable development Sciencealert is presently ranked 14th in the world among news sites, in terms of its Facebook following.

“This means Australasian science has more followers on Facebook than news icons like The Wall St Journal, TIME magazine, The UK Financial Times, The Washington Post, and the popular online newspaper the Huffington Post.”

“It’s not just about how many fans you have, though. Each of these fans has hundreds of friends, who in turn have hundreds of friends, and information disseminates exponentially among them. This is what makes social media different from all other kinds – the information tree keeps growing more branches and twigs.”

ScienceAlert founder Julian Cribb said it was very pleasing to find such a large and enthusiastic audience for Australian and NZ science via Facebook. “When I started ScienceAlert, the aim was to share the good news about our research achievements freely with a wider audience. That was achieved through the website, but social media have added an entirely new dimension.

“The fact that Australasian science now attracts a larger audience among this segment of young people internationally than any other science publication in the world holds considerable promise for the future, if we can keep it up. The next generation will grow up with a keener awareness of Australasian science and what it has to offer the world.”

More information:

Chris Cassella, Managing Director, ScienceAlert, 02 6100 4307
Julian Cribb, founder, ScienceAlert, 0418 639 254.
Facebook Page:

News and opinions:
Advertising inquiries:

Tall Poppy Awards – Judging now underway

The Science Excellence Awards is South Australia’s premier event to recognise and reward outstanding scientific endeavour, including its application in industry and the advancement of science and mathematics education.

New categories for Awards

This year’s Awards are being launched with an exciting new set of categories focussed on high achievers in the early stages of their careers, including PhD graduates and early career STEM professionals and educators.

Judging is now underway. Finalists will be announced mid October and a Gala Dinner will be held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on November 3rd. All eight 2011 SA Tall Poppies will be invited to the event where the TPoY will be announced and awarded.

More information:

Member Profile: Sally Miles

Sally Miles has always had a strong interest in Science Communication. Upon completing a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University in 1997, she sought ways to communicate environmental issues and practical solutions to the public. Sally has worked in communications roles with Clean Up Australia, The Wilderness Society, Planet Ark and Conservation Volunteers Australia. In 2008, Sally moved into the corporate sector through Big Switch Projects and more recently, the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI), working with businesses on developing and communicating their sustainability and climate change programs.

Sally has researched, written and spoken on many environmental issues including climate change, energy efficiency, biodiversity, water management and waste issues such as plastic bags, container deposits and e-waste. She has developed a diverse range of environmental programs from indigenous education kits to corporate staff engagement events.

Sally lives in Sydney and currently works as an independent writer and consultant in Sustainability Communications. She reads and writes on all things Science and is planning to complete her Masters in Media Practice at Sydney University next year. She also looks after her two young children: Jack (2.5yrs) and Lily (6months). In the few spare moments between nappy changes she enjoys blogging, yoga, meditation and running (& may or may not survive her first half marathon coming up in September).

Connect with Sally on Linkedin.


The 2nd Annual National Science Communication Officers’ Forum 2011

Thanks to Karine Bruron from Liquid Learning Group for providing this information:

Liquid Learning is delighted to present The 2nd Annual National Science Communication Officers’ Forum 2011 – the premier event for communication professionals to exchange and acquire knowledge, tools and skills for true performance excellence.

The National Science Communication Officers’ Forum 2011 will be held on 22 & 23 November 2011 at Citigate Central, Sydney

Essential Tools and Approaches for Developing Communication Strategies within Scientific and Technical Research Environments

View the brochure here:

ASC Members receive a 10% discount off the standard registration fee.

Visit Liquid Learning’s website at:


Phone: (02) 9437 1311


National Science Week (NSWk) – August 13-21

Author: Jesse Shore

National Science Week (NSWk) is 13-21 August, and with related events scheduled either side of that nine day week it becomes a three or four week ‘week’. Many of the activities during this time are organised and/or delivered by ASC members. We are a diverse bunch and our many-sided involvement in NSWk mirrors this. It is likely that the more successful NSWk becomes, the more work, and hopefully employment, there is for science communicators.

I have a special mention about ASC member involvement in NSWk activity in South Australia. The ASC SA branch committee works closely with the SA NSWk coordinating committee (and I expect other ASC branches have representatives on their local NSWk committees). The branch is helping organise the launch of NSWk in SA. In conjunction with that event, they are announcing their two awards: the Unsung Hero of South Australian Science and Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Communication.

ASC SA is following that up with a book launch of Dinosaurs in Australia, a CSIRO publication, and is holding this notable and timely NSWk event in association with RiAus.

Last year around 1.4 million Australians attended NSWk events. Individual ASC members and our branches are doing their bit to increase this number as well as raise the quality of Australians’ engagement in science.

And given the efforts of full-time science communicators, I expect we will contribute to the three or four week ‘week’ extending into an even more horologically incorrect time period.

See for a list of NSWk events, and to learn more about NSWk and its future dates.

Jesse Shore

National President


Liquid Learning’s Forum Rescheduled

Author: Kali Madden

ASC is supporting Liquid Learning’s second annual National Science Communication Officers’ Forum

It has been rescheduled to 22-24 November 2011 in Sydney, Citigate Central. Read more

The event in brief:

Essential Tools and Approaches for Developing Communication Strategies within Scientific and Technical Research Environments

• Applying Innovative Strategies for Dealing with the Media
• Negotiating the Science Communication Spectrum for Better Results
• Maintaining Scientific Integrity
• Communicating Complex Information with Creativity

Click here to view the brochure:

ASC members receive a 10% discount off the standard registration fee. For more information, visit Liquid Learning’s website at: or email: or telephone: (02) 9437 1311