Grants to boost Queensland’s science engagement

Published Tuesday, 11 July, 2023 at 03:15 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Forty-one community events and projects will share in more than $700,000 in funding under the Palaszczuk Government’s Engaging Science Grants program
  • The grants aim to inspire more students to study STEM subjects, promote STEM careers and increase community awareness of science in Queensland
  • Grants of up to $20,000 have been awarded to schools, universities, citizen science groups and organisations across Queensland

Forty-one community events and projects ranging from collecting population data of manta rays in the waters off Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) to using artificial intelligence technology to study changes in the Great Barrier Reef will share in more than $700,000 in funding under the Palaszczuk Government’s Engaging Science Grants program.

The grants provide funding to help increase engagement with scientists, as well as student and community participation in science-based events and activities.

Through the grants, the Palaszczuk Government aims to inspire more students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, promote STEM careers, and increase the community’s awareness of the amazing science happening in Queensland.

The grants also support citizen science projects that encourage people to volunteer their time to collect and analyse data that contributes to important Queensland research.

Grants of up to $20,000 have been awarded to schools, universities, citizen science groups and other organisations that are passionate about connecting students and other Queenslanders with science and scientists.

One of this year’s successful projects, coordinated by Griffith University and Gilmore Space Technologies, will help disadvantaged communities in the Logan area to partner with regional universities and schools to create a small satellite capable of gathering real-time data on directional fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Griffith University’s School STEM Program about Space Exploration (SPASE) will receive a $19,803 grant towards their ‘SPASE 2.0’ project.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Science Leanne Linard:

“STEM is becoming increasingly important as the need for new and innovative solutions to address global issues continues to grow.

“We are committed to increasing participation in STEM-based activities across the state, particularly among our First Nations peoples, girls and women, and disadvantaged groups.

“I am very proud that more than 75% of funding in this round of the Engaging Science Grants will go towards projects that target these under-represented groups.

“Scientific innovation and discovery are the building blocks of a sustainable and thriving society, and investing in STEM projects is an investment in our future.”

Quotes attributable to Professor Paulo de Souza, Dean (Research), Griffith University (SPASE project):

“The SPASE 2.0 project is an extension to our original SPASE project which received almost $19,000 in funding in last year’s Engaging Science Grants round

“As part of that project, we engaged 65 high-performing students from 11 South East Queensland high schools, along with seven Griffith University academics and four key industry partners to design and build a low-orbit satellite.

“The SPASE 2.0 project will see additional school students from regional areas of Queensland join the project, which will hopefully lead to the satellite being launched into space later this year to gather data.

“Thanks to the Engaging Science Grants, we are providing students with an out-of-this-world experience as they gain opportunities to not only explore the wonder of space, but to also build their science and technology skills and understanding about STEM careers.”

Further information:

Since 2016, the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist has awarded over $3.2 million to 230 successful grant applicants.

The 2023 Engaging Science Grants provides 41 grants with total funding of $704,922.

A full list of successful recipients can be found below:


Recipient Location

Project Description


 (ex GST)

Craigslea State High School


The Mantas of Minjerribah project will support First Nations students at Craigslea State High School to obtaining their Open Water Scuba Diving Licence and to conduct a citizen science project on the local Gawangalkmirri (manta ray) population in the waters off Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). Students will have the opportunity to meet with Minjerribah-Moorgumpin Elders to discuss the culture, history and marine significance of Minjerribah and broader Quandamooka Country.


Central Queensland University


Two workshops will be held at CQUniversity’s Mackay campus with multiple activities investigating and building the artefacts of First Nations people. Through the discovery of STEM in Indigenous artefacts, participating students will gain scientific knowledge as well as cultural understanding of First Nations.


Dr Emma Barnes

Carina Heights

The Interview a Scientist program will be a series of activities that engage both secondary students from Brisbane schools and scientists from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Griffith University and other Brisbane-based organisations. The program will include a two-day workshop at GRIDD in July that will allow students to work alongside higher-degree and early-career researchers to interview scientists and write ‘impact stories’ on them and their research.


James Cook University


This event will enable high-school students in years 10 and 11 in Townsville, from all socio-economic backgrounds, to visit the different labs at James Cook University to participate in fun, engaging STEM-based activities focused on neuroscience and stress.


James Cook University


The Deep Reef Ecology research group, based at James Cook University Townsville, have developed new methods to conduct fish and coral surveys using remotely operated vehicles on coral reefs below the limits of SCUBA diving surveys. The team will host a series of hands-on marine robotics workshops for local primary and high school students to encourage them to explore, discover and experience new technology being used in marine science in Queensland.


Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science


The ATSIMS program is a James Cook University outreach initiative providing First Nations students in Year 10 with opportunities to engage in marine science and marine management, citizen science, and caring for Sea Country. It is comprised of a series of hands-on, experiential learning excursions over a six-week period. The program is led by a range of industry experts, and is supported by Traditional Owners, and Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger groups.


The University of Queensland

St Lucia

This project will deliver computational chemistry workshops to senior-secondary students at remote Queensland schools. Aimed to engage students from underrepresented demographics, including female and First Nations students, to bring awareness to the lesser-known field of computational chemistry and promote tertiary entry into STEM.  Workshops will be held in rural towns including Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Atherton, Charters Towers, Emerald and Biloela.


University of the Sunshine Coast

Sippy Downs

Very little is known about the distribution and habitat of many of the wildlife species that call K’gari home. This project will empower citizen scientists to collect and map data, capture high-quality images and design and create social media campaigns about K’gari’s iconic birds of prey species.


Central Queensland University

North Rockhampton

Students on school excursions to Capricorn Caves, adjacent to Mount Etna National Park, will learn about bats, how scientists monitor them, and why bats are important to the Australian ecosystem. Students will work alongside university researchers and Capricorn Caves staff to design, plan, and carry out a scientific bat survey using high-tech acoustic ‘bat detectors’.


Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns City

The Pupils of the Reef project will see students engage with cutting-edge deep learning artificial intelligence technology to provide leading scientists with the data they need to better protect and understand the Great Barrier Reef. By developing teacher toolkits and engaging communication assets, the project will be rolled out to at least 15 schools across Queensland.


Reef Ecologic

Townsville City

Reef Ecologic will award 12-month mentorship programs for ambitious Year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science (ATSIMS) program graduates interested in jump-starting their career in marine science.


University of the Sunshine Coast

Sippy Downs

Project Manta will hold several regional events to create meaningful, long-term citizen science input for their project in areas where they are currently data poor. This project will focus on four regional locations – the Whitsundays, Rainbow Beach, Bargara, and Cairns – areas where manta rays are known to frequent, but engagement with citizen scientists is currently lacking.


Mackay State High School

South Mackay

The Revolutionising Farming: Exploring Technology and Innovation in Agriculture through Precision Farming and Drones project will involve a combination of classroom learning, hands-on activities, and field trips to farms to collect data using precision agriculture technologies and drones. Students will use their data analysis skills to interpret and evaluate the effectiveness of these technologies in optimising crop yields, livestock management and mitigating the impacts of climate change on the industry. The project will help students understand the important role of technology and innovation in shaping the future of agriculture.


integratedSTEM Pty Ltd


The Outback STEM Roadshow: Connecting STEM to Country project will deliver a hands-on STEM experience intertwined within the context of First Nations culture at Charleville, Cunnamulla, St George, Goondiwindi and Toowoomba. This will include exploring and using technology to preserve the cultural significance and scientific understanding of dreamtime story-telling, cultural dances, the use of astronomy for navigation, knowledge of medicinal native flora, and the preservation of Indigenous artefacts and cultural sites.


The Rainforest School

Maria Creeks

Students from The Rainforest School will work on a science project with local marine biologists, community groups and First Nations People to understand turtle life-cycles and the impact humans have on our ocean eco-systems through storytelling, immersive educational experiences and exposure to the valuable importance of data-based insights.


The University of Queensland


The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) will host an open day to enable the public, higher education students, and other interested stakeholders at its Samford peri-urban SuperSite.

This event will showcase the research infrastructure and data collected at the site by premiering an interactive science self-guided discovery trail. QR codes on the trail will enable participants to access site-based activities, data visualisations and explanatory videos via their smartphones or tablet. Participants can also engage with scientific experts who will be present on the day. After the event, it is envisaged this trail will remain a permanent fixture for future visitors and events.


Kindy Science

Norman Park

Kindy Science has developed various workshops aimed at four to eight year olds to engage their natural need to explore and inquire. The project will deliver free individual workshops at various locations so that children from all different backgrounds can participate and appreciate science.


Toogoolawa Schools Limited


Students from Toogoolawa school will monitor nest boxes as part of an ongoing school citizen science project. Students will also continue to plant habitat on a local property close to the Lamington National Park to attract wildlife and add biodiversity to the area. The project will build on previous tree plantings along the riverbank to stabilise riparian zones and supports platypus habitat.


Northern Gulf Resource Management Group Ltd. Trading as Gulf Savannah Natural Resource Management


The primary focus of this project is to inspire secondary school aged children from across the Carpentaria Shire Council region to follow STEM careers upon graduation. This will be achieved by actively involving them in hands on taxonomy, ecology and biodiversity activities and real-world scientific experiments in the analysis of soils.


Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee Inc.


The sustainability centre will host six school holidays events for pre-school, primary and secondary students.  Environmental science topics covered will include nest box monitoring, bugs and insects, water bugs, frogs, cane toad busting and Indigenous science. The centre will deliver hands-on activities including arts and crafts for younger students and use scientific equipment and data collection for older students.



Brisbane City

Zoomed-in Science is an online interactive outreach program that brings real scientific research laboratories directly into primary school classrooms in remote and rural areas of Queensland. Each Zoomed-in Science show will be performed within the research chemistry laboratories at QUT and live-streamed to students. Through this platform, primary school aged children will get the chance to meet, interact with and be inspired by Queensland research scientists in their own labs. The interactive online presentations involve experiments, educational talks, and question and answer time, as well as providing the students with the chance to see what it is like to be a scientist working in a real-world lab.


Townsville Toy Library


The Townsville Toy Library will host a free action-packed interactive morning of STEM related activities for children aged between 4-12 years. Activities will include fun science, engineering, coding and creative and critical thinking activities. Children will be ale to engage with STEM toys, interactive displays, and have conversations with scientists.


Kuranda Envirocare


This year, Kuranda Envirocare will complete 10-year citizen science frog monitoring project across sites where the Critically Endangered Kuranda Tree Frog breeds.. A new macro invertebrate survey will improve the overall citizen science monitoring program and the additional data collection will provide a more comprehensive analysis of the waterways health. A series of workshops, seminars and talks will be run to better connect the community to this monitoring project and other citizen science projects occurring in Far North Queensland.


RECOVER Injury Research Centre, The University of Queensland


Consumer roundtables will invite research scientists to ‘the consumer table’ to develop shared priorities for health research. Rural Queenslanders face unique challenges due to their geographic location and often have poorer health outcomes than people living in metropolitan areas. The roundtable will be held in Dalby to maximise the engagement of health consumers from communities across the Darling Downs. The University of Queensland researchers will discuss community needs and help develop a shared vision of health research priorities.


The University of Queensland

St Lucia

The DNA Detectives – what wildlife visits my school? project will involve a 10-month series of activities with selected schools where secondary students and their science teachers learn about advances in eDNA technology, conduct a school-based eDNA sampling activity, submit their samples to The University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences for analysis, receive their results to conduct a second school-based forensic activity, and receive an invitation to attend an event in early 2024 which summarises the findings from all schools involved.


Natura Pacific

Burleigh Heads

This project is a conservation campaign focused on the creation of a short film, a podcast, a citizen science survey effort, a regenerative agriculture workshop and an online STEM education resource for teachers. The film and podcast will be produced as part of the 'Back from the Brink' series, focused on the endangered Granite Rose (Boronia repanda).


Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC)


This is a citizen science project designed to educate the local community in monitoring the condition of mangrove habitats. CAFNEC  will employ and empower Traditional Owner groups to take ownership of the project and independently monitor mangroves. This will provide them with greater opportunities to care for Country and connect them with the local community.


ECOllaboration Ltd


A Sunshine Coast-wide bioblitz will be held in October, incorporating different communities across the Sunshine Coast. BioBlitz events help people learn about the diverse natural area with varied wildlife across the Sunshine Coast. At the eight bioblitz events, naturalists will lead participants to use iNaturalist, a mobile app, to document biodiversity.


The University of Queensland

St Lucia

The INSPIRE: Integrated NeuroScience Program for Indigenous Research and Education project aims to give Indigenous high school students the chance to interact with scientists, learn what scientists do, and appreciate how scientific discoveries help shape the world. It will also improve Indigenous children's awareness of brain injury and brain science, and how the work scientists do can improve the lives of people living with brain injuries and disorders.


Sharks And Rays Australia


This project will provide the community with the skills necessary to monitor sawfish populations in their local areas. Researchers will live stream their fieldwork onsite, followed by a community training event at the end of each expedition, in coordination with the Aboriginal Shire Council leadership and Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers. Community events will include a presentation on the species encountered during fieldwork. The community will learn how to estimate size and age of the animal from a saw or picture, opening the dialogue for data collected from privately held saws, historical accounts, and engagement in receiving future reports.


The University of Queensland Science Demo Troupe

St Lucia

The UQ Science Demo Troupe will run three regional outreach trips in which performers, alongside The University School of Mathematics and Physics scientists, take part in week-long tours of regional areas, visiting new schools each day, and offering outreach activities.


The Dignity Project at Griffith University


This project aims to strengthen opportunities and pathways for Queenslanders with disability to lead and develop research that matters most to them through a citizen science project that includes a 10-hour co-designed micro-credential and digital badge, a series of engagement events, and citizen-led pilot research projects across the seven key areas of the Queensland’s Disability Plan 2022-2027.


University of the Sunshine Coast

Sippy Downs

Research shows citizen science participation does not reflect broader societal demographics, with limited inclusion of, and participation by, under-represented individuals/groups including people with disability. This project will deliver workshops engaging citizen scientists in important issues such as light pollution and marine debris. Workshops will empower participants by increasing confidence, scientific knowledge and skill for more inclusive and equitable societies. This project will draw on universal design to investigate and facilitate inclusiveness in citizen science for people with disability.


James Cook University


This educational activity will provide laboratory training for two undergraduate or post graduate students who want to pursue STEM careers. Each student will receive laboratory training as part of a research project to improve treatment outcomes for pulmonary tuberculosis at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine in Cairns.


Engineers Without Borders Australia

Bowen Hills

The Yarrawarra Youth Outreach program is a ground-breaking place-based outreach program designed by Indigenous people, for Indigenous young people, with the program delivered in communities. A joint initiative of the Indigenous Engineers Group  of Engineers Australia and Engineers Without Borders Australia), the goal is to inspire and educate young Indigenous people that undertaking a career in engineering can create vast opportunities for them, their family and community.


Friends of Parks Queensland Incorporated


Friends of Parks Queensland will hold three threatened species field days at Burleigh Heads, Hervey Bay and Mount Tamborine. Each event will involve presentations and guided surveys by experts, who will focus on a suite of site-specific threatened species. Friends of Parks Queensland will engage local schools and universities, providing students the opportunity to connect with scientists in the conservation field.


Griffith University


SPASE 2.0 is an expansion of the Griffith University’s School STEM Program About Space Exploration (SPASE) project targeting rural and disadvantaged schools. Students from disadvantaged communities in the Logan area will work with partners from regional universities and schools to create a small satellite capable of gathering real-time data on directional fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field.


BLAQ Diamonds Womens Empowerment


The STEM Employability Training Workshop project will contribute to improving women’s economic opportunities and advancement and support diverse and flexible employment opportunities for First Nations women as well as women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Australia’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) businesses.


Mooloolah River Waterwatch and Landcare Inc.


The Even More – Bugs to the Rescue … and Recuing Bugs! (Even More…Bugs) project builds on past projects that focussed on the essential role that bugs play in controlling invasive weeds in the waterways and introduced activities that focussed on habitat loss for key pollinators. This new project will promote citizen science and increase student and community engagement in science-based activities for a healthy Mooloolah River. There will be after-school bug clubs and community activities including hands-on field experiences and engaging with scientists in monitoring, restoring and creating new habitats for pollinators in the catchments, community spaces and residences.


Capricorn Caverns Pty Ltd

The Caves

Through the Looking Glass event series will present free community activities at Capricorn Caves that showcase the amazing natural world, viewed through different lenses. Participants will utilise telescopes and binoculars for the ‘Under the Stars’ astronomy tour to view the night sky. There will also be an opportunity for the public to participate in a ‘Micro Life’ tour where participants will use magnifying glasses and binoculars out in the field to view flora and invertebrate fauna around the cave system and dry rainforest, before taking a closer look at it under the microscope.




The Buraligim Weiber (Place of Learning) program is a 20-week program where 20 Year 4 Indigenous students from Gladstone local schools are immersed in a program centred around the land and sea. Students will experience first-hand science alongside experts in their fields, including First Nations people. This project will be expanded in 2023 and 2024 to include a second cohort of Indigenous students.


More information is available at


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339