What is Fresh Science?

Fresh Science is a national event which brings together scientists, the media and the public. It is designed to:

  • enhance reporting of Australian science
  • highlight and encourage debate on the role of science in Australian society
  • provide role models for the next generation of Australian scientists.

Previous Fresh Scientists have attracted national and international interest resulting in hundreds of media stories, including national television news. Details of previous winners, their press releases and media coverage can be seen on this website.

In 2014, Fresh Science has partnered with the British Council to bring FameLab to Australia.

FameLab is an international communication competition for scientists, including engineers and mathematicians. Designed to inspire and motivate young researchers to actively engage with the public and with potential stakeholders, FameLab is all about finding the best new voices of science and engineering across the world.

FameLab not only inspires the next generation of science communicators but excels at building the skills that will enable scientists to explain, discuss and debate important issues.

For details on how to nominate for FameLab Australia, visit www.famelab.org.au

When is it?

FameLab state finals will be held in the months of March and April and the national final will be held between 12 and 15 of May.

The 2014 FameLab Australian national finalist will compete in the International final at the Times Cheltenham Science Week in the UK between 3 and 8 June.

State and national finalists will participate in media training with Fresh Science in the week leading to their finals event.

Can I enter?

In 2014, nominations for FameLab are open on 20 January and close at midday on Monday 3 March. Please read more about eligibility and selection criteria on the “How to Enter” page at www.famelab.org.au. And then follow the links to the online application form.

Find out more about Fresh Science alumni and their discoveries

You can read stories about the Fresh Science Alumni by going to the “Fresh Science Alumni” page.

To check out past FameLab international finalists, visit the “Hall of Famelab” page at www.famelab.org.au

How did Fresh Science start?

The original ScienceNOW! organising committee was concerned about the lack of an effective national forum to bring together scientists, the media and the general public, so, in 1997, they started one. It was based on a couple of simple premises: Australia needed to improve and expand its science reporting.

It also needed a way for its best young scientists to present their work before an audience much broader than their peers.

The founding chairman of ScienceNOW! was Ian Anderson: science writer, journalist and the first Australasian editor of New Scientist.

Introducing ScienceNOW!

Fresh Science was originally part of a larger event – ScienceNOW! But it outgrew ScienceNOW! which ceased in 2001. Starting in 2002, Fresh Science has been held as a standalone event in association with National Science Week.

The aim of Fresh Science is to bring together scientists, the media, and the public. It is designed to:

  • Enhance the reporting of Australian science;
  • Highlight and encourage debate on the role of science in Australian society; and
  • Provide role models for the next generation of Australian scientists.

ScienceNOW! (the forum)

ScienceNOW! (the forum) was held over four days at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre inside the Great Australian Science Show (GASS) in 1998 and 1999.

This non-profit event run was primarily sponsored by the Victorian and Federal governments and supported by Australia’s leading science organisations including the Australian Academy of Science, CSIRO, Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), and ANZAAS.

Hot science discussed

The ScienceNOW! forum held a series of free public forums with international and Australian speakers on hot science topics, for example:

In 1999 – The global fight against disease with Laurie Garrett, US author of The Coming Plague. The session, chaired by Sir Gus Nossal, explored the lessons from the collapse of public health systems in Russia where the next generation are being decimated by TB, HIV and other diseases. Garrett was interviewed on the 7.30 Report (by Kerry O’Brien) and elsewhere. The forum was supported by the Menzies Foundation.

1998 – Cloning – should it extend to humans – a forum chaired by Geraldine Doogue and broadcast as a one hour episode of Compass

Science in the media – an annual critique of science and science reporting

Entertaining issues

The public sessions at ScienceNOW! covered entertaining issues such as: Time and Time Travel; and Hollywood Meets the Labcoats – our annual irreverent look at science in the movies.

Other events

Other organisations also staged sessions at the ScienceNOW! forum – sharing venue and promotion costs. These events have included Science in the Pub, Women in Science (with Margaret Wertheim and Pru Goward) and Turning Smart Ideas into Smart Business (with Thinking Melbourne and Telstra)

The exhibition: Great Australian Science Show

ScienceNOW! was staged in a custom-built lecture theatre inside GASS – a free science show that featured exhibits from many Australian science organisations including CSIRO, Scienceworks, universities and research institutes.

GASS comprised a lively and interested crowd – 16,000 people in 1998 and 24,000 in 1999.

The legacy of the forum

ScienceNOW! was designed from the ground up to publicise Australian science. Each year the forum stories generated more than 300 media mentions including significant international coverage. We also invited a prominent international science journalist to participate in ScienceNOW! and then travel around Australia reporting on other hot science issues.

ScienceNOW! developed into a meeting place for Australia’s science journalism and science communication communities with special functions such as the ‘Fresh Science Dinner’.