For the first time, undergraduates studying science communication at the ANU will be eligible to win prizes for achieving excellence in this discipline.
Science communication is a young discipline and CPAS a young department, so until now there have been no ANU prizes in science communication. That situation has changed, and there are now not one but five prizes on offer, to be awarded from 2013 onward, for outstanding undergraduates studying science communication.
The prizes were established by CPAS academic Dr Lindy Orthia using $4000 (80% of the winnings) from her 2012 Colleges of Science Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr Orthia won the award largely in recognition of her undergraduate teaching, and wanted the prizes to feed back into the community of science communication undergraduates.
"Science communication is so important for both science and democracy," Dr Orthia said. "These prizes will bring long overdue recognition to the discipline and to our wonderful students who achieve greatness within it and help the discipline grow."
The joint Colleges of Science generously matched the $4000, and with the $8000 seed money Dr Orthia set up the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science Endowment to fund the prizes.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Endowment to see the prize money grow is encouraged to do so, though ANU Philanthropy. Donations are tax deductible in Australia and all donors who donate $20 or more to the fund are listed on the CPAS webpage about the Endowment.
The five prizes are all named after CPAS teaching academics who achieved 'firsts' in the department:
- The Sue Stocklmayer Prize in Science Communication is named for Professor Sue Stocklmayer, CPAS's first Director and Australia's first Professor of Science Communication. It is awarded to the student who completes a Major in Science Communication with the highest aggregate mark.
- The Rod Lamberts Prize for First Year Science Communication is named for Dr Rod Lamberts, the first person to initiate, write and teach first year science communication courses at ANU. The prize is awarded to the student who completes two first year science communication courses with the highest aggregate mark.
- The Will J. Grant Prize for Science Presentation is named for Dr Will Grant, who initiated the first undergraduate-organised and -presented public science communication conference, through the second year science communication course SCOM2001 Practical Skills for Communicating Science. The prize is awarded to the best live presentation delivered for final assessment in SCOM2001.
- The Lindy Orthia Prize for Science Communication Research is named for Dr Lindy Orthia, who co-authored and supervised CPAS's first undergraduate-authored science communication journal paper. The prize is awarded to the best major report or thesis that reports on original research conducted in SCOM3003 Special Topics in Science Communication or Science Communication Honours.
- The Chris Bryant and Mike Gore Prize for Science Outreach is named for the founder of CPAS, Emeritus Professor Chris Bryant, and the founder of Questacon, Adjunct Professor Mike Gore. Professors Bryant and Gore together founded the world class science outreach endeavour the Shell Questacon Science Circus, which is at the core of the Master of Science Communication Outreach program run by CPAS. This prize is awarded to the student in any undergraduate science communication course including honours who created the best outreach-oriented assignment.