National Science Week 2024: Victoria’s Major Grant Recipients

The Royal Society of Victoria and Inspiring Victoria are delighted to congratulate the eight Victorian recipients of major grants in support of events for National Science Week in August 2024!

Many of this year’s projects support diversity and inclusion in science, including several grants for events featuring First Nations science and scientists.

The National Science Week Grants give funding of between $2,000 and $20,000 to people or groups across the nation. This year’s Victorian projects include:

The Martian Garden

La Trobe University

Could you live in a Martian garden? Over the next 30 years, human missions to the moon and Mars are planned: but can these extreme environments provide habitat for humans? Five events across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will invite the public to explore these challenges and try their hand at life beyond Earth in ‘The Martian Garden’.

Entering the Mars habitat, participants become the scientists needed to sustain life off-earth: plant biologists, engineers, psychologists, and food chemists. They will program vertical farms and harvesting robots, measure plant growth conditions, use DNA and imaging technologies, and process plants into new Space-food products before 3D printing them into bento boxes.

In two public forums, researchers will share how to select and adapt plant and microbial species to survive and thrive in new and extreme environments, how to support sustainable new ecosystems off-world, and how to find novel approaches back on Earth.

Indigi-STEM Bootcamp

Monash University

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from around Melbourne will discover real-world applications of STEM and explore Monash University’s cutting-edge laboratories, engineering workshops, and research facilities. Hearing from Indigenous experts through interactive sessions and guided tours, students will be challenged to problem solve real-life problems using teamwork and their science and technology skills. This event aims to address the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in science and higher education through celebration, empowerment, and culturally safe education.

Ecology: The Collaborative Science That We Must Get Right

Conservation Ecology Centre Pty Ltd

Visit fern gullies, giant beech trees, towering Californian Redwoods, and many of Australia’s favourite animals including kangaroos, echidnas, platypus, koalas, birds, and even glow worms in the Otway Ranges.

People from all walks of life can come to a free public forum and be part of efforts to conserve and protect the rich natural environment of the Otways and beyond. The Otways Ecological Research Forum brings together scientific researchers, public and private land managers, and the general public to discuss findings, innovations, and challenges in ecology, conservation science, and landscape-scale management.

Successful conservation needs scientists and on-ground land managers working together towards a shared vision. The forum acts as a direct communication line, bridging science, practice and the broader community. Participants can attend in person or watch online.

Western Treatment Plant STEMtastic Community Day – More Than Wastewater

Melbourne Water Corporation

Sewage, cows, and birds: take a tour of a sewage treatment plant, a working farm, and an internationally-recognised bird habitat – all at the same time! The Western Treatment Plant is a world-leading site in environmentally conscious sewage treatment and home to a variety of wildlife such as the critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot and growling grass frog. For the Open Day, attendees can discover some of the world’s rarest bird and frog species, connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, and chat with our scientists and engineers about all things sewage, biodiversity, and innovation. There will be collaborative games for the whole family, tree plantings, and bus tours of the site.

From Craft to Code

Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation

Learn how weaving gave us our first computer code, how circuit boards can make music, how clothes mending teaches us geometric patterns, and how modern electronics can be weaved into clothing. The public is invited to six free workshops exploring the origins of computer science and coding through traditional art disciplines. There will be a demonstration on the mechanical complexity of the loom, how it catalysed the fashion industry, and the relationship between math and pattern making. This week-long program of workshops is run by libraries in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and is open to all.

The STEM Zone Experiment – Family Science Festival

STEM Zone Pty Ltd

Visit the STEM extravaganza in Lardner, West Gippsland with more than 25 stalls for the public to perform experiments with microscopes, dry ice, virtual reality, and more. There will be a gas car racetrack, engineering challenges, and outdoor survival workshops. Local scientists will be interviewed on stage for participants to ask any questions they have always wanted to have answered by an expert. This free festival will inspire the next generation of scientists and celebrate the great innovations Australian scientists have made.

Science in Our Everyday

Bass Coast Community Foundation Open Fund

What would happen if we lost Inverloch to climate change? Join a panel of experts as they debate this serious hypothetical question with a dose of humour as part of the Bass Coast science fair.

The science fair will invite people to create a display or demonstration of ‘science in our everyday’, which will be displayed over the two-day public event. Prizes for the best displays will be announced on the final night, where the Inverloch panel event will also play out. The panellists will explore the local impacts of the global issue of climate change.

Welcome to the World of Dinosaurs

Vision Australia Limited

Feel the texture of dinosaur fossils, listen to the sounds of your favourite dinos, and ask a palaeontologist your burning dinosaur questions at this in-person and online event. Participants will explore the world of dinosaurs through their fingers, ears, and imagination at ‘The World of Dinosaurs’, an inclusive event designed to make the fascinating world of palaeontology accessible to children and those who are blind, low vision, or print disabled with engaging content and innovative accessibility features.

Each successful grant recipient will now be finalising planning and preparation over the coming weeks; if not already in place, please check back in via the links provided above for registration details soon.

This year National Science Week will take place from 10 to 18 August, through online and in-person events across Australia. You can find events close to you, or register your own event, online at