The Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category recognises initiatives that have made an outstanding contribution to community awareness, interest and/or participation in science in Western Australia.
Now in its 22nd year, the Premier's Science Awards recognises and celebrates the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in Western Australia.
This year, 5 finalists have been selected for the Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category:
BASF Kid's Lab @ Curtin
Curtin University has partnered with BASF since 2014 to offer BASF Kids’ Lab in Western Australia. This interactive initiative is designed to spark the curiosity of young students in chemistry, showcase how chemistry plays a role in enriching our daily lives, and the many careers available.
Students in Years 4 to 6 attend university laboratories where they discover the world of chemistry through simple, fun-filled experiments supervised by role models studying and working in chemistry. BASF Kids’ Lab @ Curtin has successfully engaged over 8,500 children from over 123 schools across metro and regional WA, hosted at both Perth and Kalgoorlie campuses.
Fertiliser Management Program - Healthy Estuaries WA
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
The Fertiliser Management Program is a part of Healthy Estuaries WA and aims to engage farmers in actions to protect our waterways and improve farm productivity. The most immediate and direct human impact on our waterways is the oversupply of nutrients (primarily from agriculture) which can cause excessive growth of algae, pushing the ecosystem out of balance.
This program engages farmers in the south-west of WA with science that helps them manage their land, through industry collaboration, soil testing, workshops and field days. A holistic approach supports farmers to make the best decisions for their business and the environment.
Full STEAM ahead!
CoRE Learning Foundation
The Centre of Resources Excellence (CoRE) Learning Foundation, across a 19-year legacy, has seen growth from 1 initial school to 21 schools across WA.
In the last five years since the Foundation’s expansion program, CoRE has delivered exceptional educational opportunities. Prioritising hands-on learning, it provides primary/secondary students with opportunities to succeed in STEM, significantly improving their overall prospects for success in the resources industry.
CoRE prides itself on working in remote communities and are champions for accessibility and diversity. There are more than 100 CoRE alumni working in the resources industry, perpetuating a local pipeline of skilled STEM talent through the innovative CoRE Learning Model, Gamifying Earth Science (GES) Learning Initiative, and the Graduate Mentoring Program.
UWA Girls in Engineering
The University of Western Australia
The Girls in Engineering (GiE) program inspires female students to take advantage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) study and career pathways, focusing on areas of science where women are underrepresented.
Along with industry partners, GiE recognises the gender imbalance in science should be addressed from an early age. Since 2014, GiE has reached over 15,000 school students across WA, mentored more than 250 UWA student ambassadors and collaborated with more than 200 industry volunteers. Through hands-on school workshops, community events and industry partnerships, GiE supports the next generation of female scientists and champions diversity in STEM.
MissionsConnect provides the oldest living culture in the world with the newest technology to address one of Australia’s most pressing national priorities, reconciliation, by providing a shared understanding of the history of European encounters with First Nations people.
The program, led by Professor Reena Tiwari in partnership with Jim Morrison from the Bringing Them Home WA, has garnered widespread success in just six years, including international recognition from UNESCO, raising awareness among participants and audiences of the value of technology. The immersive and interactive virtual reality tool supports truth-telling in indigenous history, has attracted multiple awards and industry funding, and generated considerable interest in the technology used. Its effectiveness is evident from its uptake by State government, Aboriginal and corporate agencies.
Image attribution: Mr Timothy Flowers, Marribank Survivor, viewing MissionsConnect Virtual Reality, 2022. Image by Callum Smith for Csmith Phot