Townsville and Cooktown events help celebrate National Science Week

Published Monday, 07 August, 2017 at 06:27 AM

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

Leading Queensland female scientists will this Saturday (August 12) visit Townsville for the city’s first ‘Soapbox Science’ event, which is backed by Palaszczuk Government funding.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said an Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grant will also support Cooktown State School’s four-day science event, ‘Science to the Sea’.

Ms Enoch said the activities coincided with National Science Week 2017 (12-20 August).

“Our Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants are designed to boost interest in science and get more Queenslanders involved in science activities and events,” Ms Enoch said.

“We want more Queenslanders to enjoy the great science taking place in our state and to get more scientists out in the community talking about science.

“Public awareness and recognition of science is essential to engender increased support for science at local, state and national levels.”

The University of Queensland received almost $10,000 to fund ‘Soapbox Science’ and inspire a new generation of female scientists, challenge perceptions of what a scientist does and looks like, and engage with the wider community.

Dr Karen Joyce from James Cook University will speak about using drones to monitor the environment and specifically, the Great Barrier Reef.

She will be among 12 women who work in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, who will step out of their comfort zone and onto soapboxes in Townsville for an entertaining afternoon of scientific debate and discussion.

“We want to build the confidence in girls and women to engage in the wonderful world of science,” Dr Joyce said.

“This is a perfect opportunity to generate conversations around gender equality in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and Soapbox Science is an ideal platform for change to occur.”

Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government provided $10,000 in funding to support Cooktown State School.

Cooktown State School ICT teacher Herman Rijken said the four-day event from Wednesday 16 August, will enable the community to immerse themselves in the wonders of science.

“This event inspires students, teachers and whole communities to take a keen interest in science and explore possible career opportunities in STEM, which will help young people prepare for the jobs of the future.”

“Science to the Sea’ will bring university STEM researchers to the Cooktown community with program highlights including an afternoon science fair, STEM community forum, STEM robotics and engineering workshop, mini-design challenge and science visits to surrounding schools including Cooktown State School, Lakeland State School, Rossville State School and Endeavour Christian College.

The Palaszczuk Government’s flagship $420 million Advance Queensland initiative is a comprehensive suite of programs designed to ensure Queensland’s capacity to adapt and thrive in a period of rapid change, and position the state as the place to turn great ideas into reality.

Individuals and organisations can apply for Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants of up to $10,000 if their activity or project encourages the study of STEM subjects, builds a better understanding of science, or improves community engagement with science.  

For more information about National Science Week events and activities in your area, visit

For more information about applying for an Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grant, visit


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