Engaging science grants spark STEM interest and protect environment

Community groups, education professionals, scientists and citizen science projects have been given a share of $500,000 thanks to the latest round of the Engaging Science Grants program, administered by the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

The program funds projects that inspire more Queensland students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, promotes STEM career opportunities, and supports citizen science groups.

A total of 28 projects received up to $20,000 each in the latest round of the funding, with a focus on ecotourism citizen science projects.

Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson said the ecotourism projects would encourage visitors and tourists to contribute to research to protect our biodiversity and assist with threatened species recovery in our protected areas and national parks.

“One ecotourism project in the Sunshine Coast will deliver a festival and citizen science activities where people can explore coastal habitats and collect biodiversity data to support marine research and conservation,” Professor Wilson said.

“Other projects will involve hands-on science activities such as workshops that will construct a flight simulator to inspire students about STEM disciplines, assessing microplastic presence around the Fraser Coast and robotics events at St Patrick’s College in Mackay.

“As well, the ‘Skin deep science’ project will provide students with hands-on lab work at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, enabling them to learn about research processes, practical applications of health and medical research and career pathways offered through science.”

Professor Wilson said these projects were a great opportunity for Queensland students and community members to connect with scientists and be introduced to the wonder of science.

“We want to increase Queenslanders’ STEM literacy and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals to help improve our lives, well-being and the environment,” she said.

“Congratulations to the latest round of recipients who are leading these important projects.”

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