Join the NSW Regional Science Hubs Network20.02.2017
Are you interested in introducing science and technology themes into your programming? Would you like to join forces with like-minded organisations in your region? Inspiring Australia is the national strategy for community engagement with the sciences. The initiative is currently offering grants of up to $10,000 to NSW Regional Science Hubs to deliver community programs during National Science Week in August or at other times of the year. Applications close 4 April.
The NSW Regional Science Grants Program is intended to extend the network of Regional Science Hubs, community engagement partnerships that encourage people from all walks of life to consider the relevance of science and technology to everyday life. Led by local organisations, Science Hubs deliver public programs that inform community members about the exciting possibilities generated by science, technology and innovation. They inspire young people to consider science and technology careers and spark conversations about the future by bringing scientists, research organisations and universities together with local government, museums and galleries, businesses and the community.
All kinds of science-interested organisations work together as Science Hubs, and with program support from Inspiring Australia (NSW) and other partners, deliver exceptional community engagement experiences. For example, Murray Arts has delivered a number of science themed projects over the years as the Murray Science Hub including We are all (made of) Stardust, Charcoal Nights and most recently Go Wild in the Garden.
And Goulburn-based Southern Tablelands Arts has recently formed a new Science Hub for the Southern Tablelands region of NSW. The group’s first foray into science community engagement included two Neural Knitworks events to be held in Picton and Goulburn. The new Science Hub is also working towards an installation for the illuminARTe Wollondilly Arts Festival and plans to present a Nerd Knights film program in Goulburn later in the year.
Inspiring Australia connected with the Southern Tablelands Arts team at the National Regional Arts Conference held in Dubbo last year. It was during an arts and science session that Executive Director Susan Conroy realised that introducing science themes would be an exciting new direction for Southern Tablelands Arts.
“The Science Hub initiative is a perfect match for us. Having already commenced working on projects that intersect between science and creativity, the Science Hub enables us to more clearly engage in topical science subjects such as brain health, arts and health, astronomy and other STEM related themes,” she said.
Working in partnership with Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Wollondilly Council, Workspace 2580 and the Goulburn Chamber of Commerce, the Science Hub plans to extend its existing networks and partnerships in the region to deepen and encourage young people’s participation and engagement in STEM.
“We are especially thrilled to be bringing STEM themes to illuminARTe Wollondilly, an annual arts festival that attracts more than 30,000 people. We will be presenting a Neural Knitworks installation, astronomy sessions and an artwork entitled Lux Mentis – Light of the Mind. All this activity will deepen audience understanding of science, technology, engineering and maths through the arts,” Susan said.
With two Neural Knitworks events already delivered and a 2-day slot confirmed at the popular Goulburn Show in March, the Science Hub will be starting a conversation about brain and mind health that will culminate in the large-scale brain installation that will be presented at the IlluminARTe Wollondilly Festival. Later in the year, Nerd Knights continues the Science Hub’s program of STEM engagement, with two film nights planned in Goulburn to inspire people from across the Southern Tablelands Arts region with new innovations in STEM. Guest scientists and creative practitioners will be invited to participate in each of these events that will be presented at Workspace 2580.
Susan said that the Science Hub’s vision is to become the gateway for visiting scientists and artists to engage with our diverse Southern Tablelands communities on all things STEM and innovation, expanding the level of interest in the intersection between arts, science and innovation across the region.
Inspiring Australia would like to establish more Science Hubs across the state and welcomes interest from the regional arts sector. If you would like to create new opportunities for community members in your area to participate in an exciting range of science, technology and innovation outreach initiatives, join your local NSW Regional Science Hub! To get involved, check whether there is an existing Science Hub in your area and make contact with the lead organisation.
If there is no established Science Hub in a region, your organisation may wish to act as the lead organisation and establish a new Science Hub in partnership with local scientists. In order to do this, you must partner with at least two other science-interested organisations. Once you have agreed to work together as a Science Hub, you can apply for funding support for your planned events through the 2017 Regional Science Grants program. Events could be anything that brings science and technology experts together with community members, from hands-on workshops, exhibitions and panel discussions through to expert talks, speed meet sessions, debates and citizen science activities. Planning an event to be held as part of National Science Week from 12-20 August would be a great way to take advantage of national promotional channels as well.
Note that the intention of this initiative is to build collaborative partnerships that have a commitment to working together in the longer term to create ongoing science and technology engagement programs. For this reason, one-off events will not be considered eligible for funding and only one grant application will be accepted per region.
Download a PDF of the NSW Regional Science Hubs Terms of Reference for information on what the expectations are for a Science Hub.
For more information about becoming a Science Hub and the 2017 NSW Regional Science Grants program please contact Jackie Randles, the Manager Inspiring Australia (NSW), by email: Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about Inspiring Australia by visiting the website here.