The Phoenix Schools Program: resurrecting lab equipment for the next generation of scientists

During Andrew Gray’s efforts in setting up BioQuisitive, he realised a large amount of old but otherwise high-quality scientific equipment was being consigned to landfill from professional laboratories. Joining forces with Samuel Wines, the Phoenix School Program was born. Within a month, they had already diverted over $100,000 in donated equipment from the tip to a redistribution facility. The donated equipment is now destined to be repurposed at low-socioeconomic high schools and their students to foster their science education. Samuel’s vision for the program is to create an online portal that, in addition to an inventory of lab equipment on offer for schools, showcases citizen science projects, STEM-based jobs and businesses available for the next generation of scientists. Partnering with programs such as BioQuisitive and Science for All, they will encourage students to participate in curriculum-mapped citizen science projects to work directly with scientists.

Australia’s Royal Societies Turn their Focus to Stewardship

Stewardship describes a deep relationship between people and place. In modern Australia, it is often proposed as the next step of transition for a culture that is emerging from a colonial, extractive relationship to the landscape. The transition to stewardship may require we reorganise around the unique characteristics of the country, undertake significant regeneration of damaged ecosystems and deprioritise constant economic growth in favour of an enduring sufficiency gathered from a prosperous and biologically diverse environment. Join members of all the Royal Societies in Australia for this unique series of three webinars, seeking a new model for the management of the Australian landscape so that our natural systems are conserved and regenerated for the benefit of future generations.

The Future of Electronics

Our uptake of new technologies and electronics comes at a cost: information and communications technology (ICT) consumes about 8% of global electricity, doubling every decade. A massive amount of energy is consumed in the thousands of factory-sized data centres that house “the cloud,” as well as computer systems for telecommunication and storage. Most of the energy consumed in data centres, computers and other devices is dissipated as heat rather than being used to power the device itself, meaning that much of it is wasted. ICT is now on par with the aviation industry for their contribution to global warming, and it’s time for a change.

Is Victoria’s Liveability Resilient to Extreme Weather?

Imagine sweltering through four days of 40°C – 50°C temperatures. Or not being able to get home because flooding has disrupted rail and road networks. With the changing global climate, such scenarios are possible within the next 20 years. The question is: will Victoria be resilient to these challenges? This is the problem senior government officials and researchers gathered together to answer. RSV’s inaugural Future Thinking Forum saw representatives from over 35 agencies, including universities and government, meet to discuss Victoria’s capacity to cope with extreme weather. The proceedings began with the description of two possible extreme weather scenarios: a severe heatwave and an extreme flooding and wind event. These scenarios were not one of a distant future, nor were they from a dystopian, Eco-Disaster novel. They could be Victoria’s reality within the next two decades.