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In Australia, we are getting better at engaging everyday people with science.

We do it on the streets. We do it in cinemas. We do it on trains, planes and buses. We do it in our national parks and we do it in our own backyards.

It is important to engage Australians with science because it plays a significant role in our personal health and wealth, and in our collective growth as a nation.

A big reason why we, science communicators and communication researchers, are getting better at engaging the public with science is that we are learning from each other about what works and what doesn't. We, ourselves, are getting better at engaging with each other.

That is why we'd love to add your science engagement project to the national database.

You can add one project or as many projects as you want.

If you already have a project listed, feel free to update the information at any time.

Contact us if you are not sure how you can access your project information.

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The Science and Engineering Challenge

The Science and Engineering Challenge is a national competition for year 9-10 high school students. It is held in regional venues right around Australia. Eight schools per day compete in eight fun activities that are based on the principles of science and engineering. Winners of regional events have the chance to compete at state and national levels.

www.newcastle.edu.au/challenge
  • Overview of activity
    Hide
    1.1

    Name of this engagement activity?

    The Science and Engineering Challenge

    1.2

    Website/webpage that describes the activity?

    www.newcastle.edu.au/challenge

    1.3

    Start and end of the activity.

    1 Jan 2001 - 31 Dec 2020

    1.4

    Frequency of the activity.

    • Ad hoc / Random
    1.5

    Brief description of the activity.

    The Science and Engineering Challenge is a national competition for year 9-10 high school students. It is held in regional venues right around Australia. Eight schools per day compete in eight fun activities that are based on the principles of science and engineering. Winners of regional events have the chance to compete at state and national levels.

    1.6

    Best description of the focus of your activity?

    • Hands-on activity
    1.7

    Outcomes your activity seeks.

    High importance
    Low importance

    Attract increasing national and/or international interest in science

    Critically engage target groups with key scientific issues

    Encourage behavioural or policy change

    Encourage people to think critically and logically using scientific method

    Encourage young people to pursue scientific studies/careers

    Inspire target groups and get them to value scientific endeavour

    Make science more accessible

    1.8

    Focus of your activity.

    Major component
    Not present in activity

    Institutional priority or public policy change related to science and technology

    Personal, community and societal values related to applications of science and technology

    Societal and environmental impacts and implications from science and technology

    The nature of the scientific process or enterprise

    Understanding of the natural and human-made world

  • Who is involved
    Hide
    2.1

    Group(s) are you targeting with your activity.

    • Business leaders
    • General Public
    • Metropolitan communities
    • Regional communities
    • School-aged children (but not necessarily in schools)
    2.2

    Locations of the groups project is targeting.

    States and Territories

    Capital city National
    Regional city(ies) / town(s) NSW
    Vic
    Qld
    SA
    WA
    TAS
    Rural / remote NSW

    More specific geographic informations.

    • State
    • ACT
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • NSW
    • VIC
    • VIC
    • VIC
    • QLD
    • QLD
    • QLD
    • QLD
    • QLD
    • NT
    • NT
    • SA
    • SA
    • WA
    • WA
    • District
    • CANBERRA
    • ILLAWARRA
    • GOSFORD
    • NSW NORTH COAST
    • SYDNEY
    • HUNTER
    • NSW NORTH
    • SOUTHERN TABLELANDS
    • NSW COUNTRY WEST
    • RIVERINA REGION
    • NEPEAN
    • MELB NORTH WEST
    • VIC COUNTRY
    • REGIONAL VIC
    • SOUTH EAST QLD
    • SUNSHINE COAST
    • BRISBANE CENTRAL
    • GOLD COAST
    • NORTH QLD
    • DARWIN
    • KATHERINE
    • ADELAIDE
    • REGIONAL SA
    • SOUTH WEST/GREAT SOUTHERN
    • WHEATBELT/ESPERANCE
    • City
    2.3

    Leader/manager of the activity.

    Tertiary education facility e.g. university, TAFE, college The University of Newcastle
    2.4

    Involvement in managing the activity.

    Business / corporation Too many to list: EG BHP Billiton, Ausgrid, Rio Tinto, Coal and Allied, Schneider Electric, KCGM...
    Cultural organisation e.g. museum, library, art gallery, science centre SciTech, Australian Museum
    Federal government e.g. Department of Finance Department of Industry
    Government funded research agency e.g. CSIRO, AIMS CSIRO
    State government e.g. Department of Environment Too many to list: EG Transport & Main Roads Qld, Vic Roads,
    Local government Too many to list: EG Newcastle, Maitland, Kempsey, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Bendigo, Ballarat, Alice Springs, Young, Forbes, Gold Coast...
    Professional scientific associations/societies Engineers Australia, ASTEM, Rotary
    Tertiary education facility e.g. university, TAFE, college Most universities in Australia (currently about 29 are involved)
    2.5

    Funder of the activity?

    Department of Industry
    The University of Newcastle
    Ausgrid
  • Engagement activity in more depth
    Hide
    3.1

    Fields of science involved in the activity.

    • Biological sciences
    • Engineering
    • Environmental sciences
    • Information and computing sciences
    • Mathematical sciences
    • Physical sciences
    • Technology
    3.2

    Target group(s) involvement in the activity.

    Major component of activity
    Not part of activity

    Ask questions of experts, interactive inquiry learning in activities/exhibits

    Consult, share views and knowledge among/between participants and science experts

    Create content/new products

    Deliberate with other participants and group problem-solving

    Learn from watching, listening, viewing lectures, media and/or exhibits

    Participate in research

    Produce recommendations or reports

    Work with scientists

    3.3

    Tools you have used or will use for engagement.

    • Brochure
    • Conference
    • Establish network / link to existing network
    • Face-to-face
    • Fact sheet
    • Formal paper
    • Hands-on activity
    • Newsletter/emails
    • Questionnaire
    • Traditional media (print, radio or television)
    • Social media (e.g, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn)
    • Survey (either online, paper-based or telephone)
    • Website
    3.4

    How does the engagement fit within the process of science.

    • to get the target group(s) involved in actually doing the science
    3.5

    Level of involvement of the following people in delivering the engagement activity.

    High involvement
    Low involvement

    Communication professionals

    Community representatives

    Interpretation specialists (e.g. museum curators, science centre education officers, rangers)

    Managers (e.g. resources, business, etc.)

    Scientists not directly involved in the research

    Other specialists (e.g. graphic designer, artists, actors, etc.)

    Scientists who did or are doing the research

    Students

    Teachers / academics

    Volunteers (other than scientists)

  • Evaluation
    Hide
    4.1

    Evidences that your engagement activity was likely to work before starting it.

    • History of positive feedback
    • Anecdotal evidence
    • Evaluation of past activities
    4.2

    Credibility, and accuracy of the science involved in your engagement activity.

    • Credibility, reputation and experience of organisation/s
    • Involves professional communicators/ educators
    • Ongoing monitoring/ updating
    • Well established program/ activity/ method
    • Work directly with or have direct input from scientists/ experts
    4.3

    Evaluation you have done or plan to do for this activity.

    • Informal
    • In-house
    4.4

    Tools and methods of evaluation you will use.

    • Feedback through forms, emails, letters and face-to-face
    • Focus groups
    • Interviews
    • Media monitoring
    • Social media monitoring
    • Surveys
    • Web-traffic monitoring
    4.5

    One thing that would tell you your engagement was successful.

    An increase in STEM enrolments for upper high school and university.

Contact details

Michael Cassey

Events Manager

The University of Newcastle

EF100, University Drive

2308 Callaghan, NSW

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