Communications & Media

Next generation of bright minds showcase science and engineering innovation

Hundreds of aspiring scientists and engineers descended on to the University of Tasmania last week to present months of experimentation and examination.

The Science and Engineering Investigation Awards is an annual statewide competition challenging school students in years 5 – 12 to present and explore a ‘hypothesis’ from the themes of Physical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Marine, Environmental, Health & Fitness and Engineering.

After time in and out of the classroom testing theories, students presented their findings at the University’s Newnham and Cradle Coast campuses through written reports and displays at judging events.

North-West Coordinator Cate Rejman from the Cradle Coast campus said the competition provided an important learning opportunity for students in a fun setting.

“The awards offer students an authentic experience of being a scientist, with the judging process allowing them to engage with other scientists, engineers and industry professionals who volunteer their time to support the awards,” Ms Rejman said.

“Projects are judged on a number of criteria including scientific thought, originality, thoroughness, technical skills and presentation on the day. Judges also take into consideration the ‘real-life’ application of the investigation and outcomes.

“The depth and breadth of projects entered for 2017 is amazing at all year levels, and covers everything from the impact of oil spills on marine life to environments in which bacteria grow at the fastest rate.”

Professor Brian Yates, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology said the awards also encourage participants to start thinking about future opportunities and careers in the STEM disciplines.

“Students are invited to discover science and engineering, and beyond that, we hope they are inspired to start considering higher education in these fields, particularly as they engage with our campuses,” Professor Yates said.

“Earlier this year, Lachlan Dick, the 2016 Burnie young engineer placed first in the Tasmanian Science Talent Search, before being named as a finalist in the BHP Billiton CSIRO Science and Engineering competition, allowing him to represent Australia at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.

“We are proud to see that for many entrants, the awards are just the beginning of their academic journey and excitingly, Lachlan is now a first year Bachelor of Science student with our institution.”

Each awards event is divided into a presentation day and awards evening where prize recipients are announced.

The competition is supported by local industry and community organisations which have generously donated cash prizes for each event.

In the North-West, the awards were presented in partnership with the BIG Committee. The Tasmanian Women in Agriculture support the awards statewide.

The Southern Science and Engineering Investigation Awards will take place at the University’s Sandy Bay campus on Thursday (14 September).

Published on: 08 Sep 2017 11:55am