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Media Release: $9,640 grant helps Macquarie University bring National Science Week to NSW

15th February 2018

Macquarie University in Bennelong will bring the excitement and discovery of National Science Week to NSW after receiving $9,640 from the Australian Government for their project, Pocket Astronomy in Pocket-Sized Towns. A planetarium, a solar telescope, and a bunch of students and staff from the Department of Physics and Astronomy will hit the road in NSW, bringing astronomy and broader science to four towns in four days. Locals will have the opportunity to visit the planetarium, try the solar telescope, and hear a talk about Australian astronomy and the value of dark skies. Each town will also receive the gift of a telescope to keep, and training for the locals on how to use it. People will also be invited to get involved in Macquarie University’s citizen science project exploring light pollution, run in collaboration with the Warrumbungle National Park, Australia’s first ‘Dark Sky Park’. This will contribute to ongoing research into light pollution levels and impacts in urban and rural NSW.

John Alexander MP has commended Macquarie University for its commitment to involving the Australian community in our national annual celebration of science this August. “It’s great that people in NSW towns will have the chance to explore the fascinating facets of science, helping them appreciate its contribution to our everyday lives, our wellbeing and prosperity,” Mr Alexander said. Macquarie University is amongst 45 organisations to receive over $600,000 through the 2018 National Science Week Grants, with hospitals, art galleries and sports stadiums amongst the more unusual venues for the science engagement events, activities and competitions.

Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja congratulated the grant recipients, welcoming the diversity of activities that will be offered during Australia’s largest celebration of science. “This year’s grants recipients have exhibited tremendous creativity in offering such an exciting range of activities to engage people of all walks of life and in all corners of Australia with science,” Senator Seselja said. “Funded activities will take place across Australia, from the Tiwi Islands to Hobart, Collie to Mount Isa, and these will be just a small selection of what’s on offer during National Science Week. “I’m delighted to see many of the grant recipients incorporating Indigenous STEM knowledge into their projects, and others that encourage girls and young women to get involved in science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. “I encourage all Australians, regardless of age, background or location, to explore the fascinating range of science on offer, from robots and virtual reality to explorers and fossils.”

The Australian Government awards National Science Week grants of between $2,000 and $20,000 each year. Grants are highly competitive and support a spread of projects across Australia and across a variety of scientific fields.

More details on National Science Week, including a full list of the National Science Week Grants recipients, are available at http://www.scienceweek.net.au/2018-national-grant-recipients/