Organisations small and large contribute in myriad ways to the Victorian community’s connection to the sciences and the Royal Society of Victoria is committed to aligning its efforts with key partners and friends to augment worthy initiatives. Below are just some of the outstanding organisations, groups and individuals with whom we work to improve science literacy and engagement in our State.
The Young Scientists of Australia (Melbourne Chapter)
The Young Scientists of Australia (YSA) is a national volunteer organisation of young people involved in promoting science to their peers and to the wider community, aged 15 to 25. The organisation is split into four state-based chapters (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide), and in total we have over a thousand members throughout Australia. The Melbourne chapter was formed in 1991, and was one of the first in Australia.
YSA Melbourne prides itself on being a welcoming and safe space for those with an interest, curiosity or passion for science.
The other big part of YSA is science outreach: helping the wider community understand, learn about and use science in their daily lives. Our message is that science is not just an activity for people in labs; every single one of us uses it every day! YSA is involved in many different volunteer community outreach opportunities helping schools, universities and the public learn that science is important, fun and useful in their daily lives.
We’re always looking for new members and people to help out, so if you are curious and want to find out more please don’t hesitate to contact us, join, or get involved! You can also come along to any of our events and meet us in person.
The Victorian Tech Schools
Secondary school students from ten Local Government Areas will have access to cutting-edge learning at their regional Tech Schools, hosted by tertiary institutions in each locale. From 2019, the Royal Society of Victoria is delighted to partner with the Whittlesea, Banyule-Nillumbik, Monash, Gippsland, Bendigo and Ballarat Tech Schools, which act as “Science and Innovation Hubs” to their broader communities under the new Inspiring Victoria program.
The Tech Schools are high-tech learning environments, acting as learning hubs for the local network of secondary schools in their regions. Their innovative education programs will link with local industry to deliver real world learning. Students and teachers from partner schools will access their Tech School throughout the year for specialised programs.
These Tech Schools will emphasise the vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills needed for the 21st century. It will enhance the programs schools provide, and help prepare students for the jobs of the future.
Public Libraries Victoria
Public Libraries Victoria take in the hundreds of organisations acting as grass-roots knowledge hubs for communities across our state. From 2019, the Royal Society of Victoria is delighted to partner with this network to convene science engagement activities for people of all ages and backgrounds, supported by small grants under the Inspiring Victoria program, including activities for National Science Week.
Science for All
Science for All is a not-for-profit organisation that supports everyone in the world to get involved in shaping the future of human knowledge.
Recognising that many of the challenges facing the planet today do not have solutions which fall into neat categories such as ‘public health’, ‘environmental studies’ and ‘education,’ the group’s aim is to bring together experts from diverse areas to work in partnership with as many people as possible, using a combination of free face-to- face events in metropolitan and rural areas, as well as online tools.
One of the ways they do this is through the citizen science program ‘Campfires and Science’. Science for All is auspiced by the Royal Society of Victoria.
Among their many activities, Cultural Infusion brings presenters from diverse cultural backgrounds into your school, to entertain and delight your students. Their programs are designed to pack an engaging cultural experience into a standard schools period.
Give your students the opportunity to interact with cultures from around the world and build appreciation of other people’s beliefs and lifestyles.
Australian Science Communicators Victoria
They also assist members to develop and promote their own events, and maintain the Facebook group: Melbourne sci-com events and networking
They invite knowledgeable and relevant professionals to speak on current issues relating to science communication.
Eucalypt Australia are a not-for-profit, discretionary Charitable Trust dedicated to promoting Australia’s eucalypts. Whether this is through conservation, education or research, they feel Australians often overlook this nation-shaping, magnificent tree and its more than 800 species.
Science in Public
Science in Public is a science communication and public relations business based in Melbourne. They have a core team of twelve staff and associates around Australia. That makes them Australia’s largest non-government science communication business.
Their team has a passion for science and encourage and challenge scientists to reach the public, politicians and the media, while staying true to the science.
John Monash Science School
John Monash Science School is the first school of its kind in Victoria and one of only three such specialist science providers in Australia. Opening for the first time in 2010 with 197 Year 10 students, the school is now at capacity with 640 students from Years 10 to 12 and over 80 full and part time members of staff. Some 25 of these are Education Support staff.
The Leadership Team comprises three Principal Class Officers, nine Leading Teachers, the Business Manager and the Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives. The facilities and infrastructure are multi-storey and based on a ‘learning commons’ design to facilitate the variety of flexible teaching and learning approaches characteristic of the school. The school hosts leading-edge technology resources which have provided an ideal opportunity to further enhance and enrich learning. Monash University provided the site for the school building at the southern end of the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP).
The IMNiS Program
The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNiS) is an award-winning industry-led initiative of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). IMNiS connects motivated PhD students (mentees) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with outstanding high level industry leaders (mentors) in a one year mentoring program.
IMNiS provides Australia’s future STEM leaders the opportunity to engage with industry, extend their professional network, strengthen their implicit skills and get advice from an influential industry mentor. Student mentees learn what it takes to succeed in any part of the STEM ecosystem, gain a better understanding of how industry works and learn about career opportunities in other professional sectors.
Science into Action
Led by Dr Anthony Boxshall, Science into Action work with Research providers (like Universities), Government, Consultants and Businesses to maximize the influence of science on decision-making. They work at Senior Leadership, Executive and Board levels.
They focus on leadership, innovation and communication as core enablers of getting science working for you. Their primary focus is in science that grows public value. Their scientific strengths are broad across environmental sciences (from ecology to chemistry and everything in between). Their networks into science extend into many disciplines.
They have a long history in environmental regulation, conservation science, citizen science and co-designing science for use.
Australian Science & Innovation Forum
ASIF fosters Australia’s innovation culture, champions STEMM start-ups, and encourages and facilitates the development of innovative new products and services from Australian research. They particularly focus on encouraging the development and teaching of entrepreneurial skills to emerging young researchers and business people. They are undertaking a diverse range of activities, including:
- Establishing networking and information sharing opportunities amongst our members
- Disseminating information about innovation and entrepreneurship development opportunities
- Organising regional and national events for our members
- Advocating the teaching of start-up and entrepreneurial skills at undergraduate, PhD and postdoctoral level, across science, engineering, technical and business disciplines
- Advocating technical and scientific literacy among people in law, finance and government
- Collecting data to support the preparation of position papers relating to science, engineering and technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia
- Advocating the development of policies to foster innovation and entrepreneurship
- Coordinating Innovation Week each year
- Identifying and supporting innovators and entrepreneurs through the emerging innovators’ list.
The Kids’ Conference was founded in 2012 by Stephen Spain from the Australian Catholic University and Jo Clyne from the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria.
The conference involves short speaker sessions in which students in primary or secondary education can present innovative projects relating to History, Geography, Science, English and technologies. Students can present solo or in small groups.
The BrainSTEM Innovation Challenge offers students the opportunity to work in a research environment and participate in the journey of scientific discovery side by side with their STEM mentor. BrainSTEM builds a program to:
- create an opportunity for high school students
- come up with an idea as a team,
- connect them with a mentor (scientist) in a university and then
- work on that idea with their mentor in a university environment.
A team of 4 students from a school is matched with a mentor from a university. These students then engage in 4 to 5 mentoring sessions at the university (typically once a week) and work on their idea. At the end of that mentoring program, these students are given an opportunity to present and showcase their outcomes. The program will
· Grow their interest in STEM by working on innovative ideas
· Get them to learn “hands-on” and apply their academic learning with experimental science
· Integrate their overall learning with research and develop their sense of curiosity
Geological Society of Australia – Victoria Division
The Geological Society of Australia (www.gsa.org.au) was established in 1952 as a learned non-profit organisation. The Society’s objectives have been expanded to promote, advance and support the Earth Sciences within the scientific and wider communities.
Meetings are held on a regular basis and newsletters are produced to advise members of upcoming activities. The general meeting of GSA Victoria is normally held at 6.30pm in the Fritz Loewe Lecture Theatre in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. The School of Earth Sciences is located on the corner of Swanston and Elgin Street (how to get there?). The main purpose of each meeting is the presentation of a monthly seminar by an invited speaker. Each general meeting is preceded by a drinks and nibbles session where members can get together and discuss issues or just catch up. Each person is asked to contribute $2 – towards the cost of the drinks and food for the evening. Everyone is welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the GSAV.