Home » Sinodinos » Media Releases » $4.4m to mobilise Australia’s citizen scientists

$4.4m to mobilise Australia’s citizen scientists

25 May 2017

$4.4 million in grants announced today will mobilise a league of enthusiastic ‘citizen scientists’ to assist Australia’s leading universities and scientific organisations with their research.

I’m delighted to announce Citizen Science Grants will be offered to 13 projects involving everyday Australians designing experiments, making observations, collecting and analysing samples and crunching data to contribute to robust, peer-reviewed research.

The funded projects will cover a range of scientific disciplines and engage citizens of all ages across Australia.

Participants will be involved by collecting soil and water samples, identifying and recording certain animals and plants in their local areas, measuring temperatures in urban areas, and even collecting and analysing possum droppings!

Supported projects include:

  • a CSIRO-led project where citizen scientists will collect and analyse water samples to help improve satellite-based water quality detection
  • Macquarie University research to collect and study the composition of household dust and its associated health risks
  • an examination by RMIT into the environmental effect of sunscreens on marine ecology in Port Phillip Bay.
  • the Australian Museum project to map the national distribution of frog populations using an app that identifies frogs by their call
  • an investigation by Macquarie and Sydney universities and Taronga Zoo into antibiotic resistance in native animals, through DNA testing of possum scats
  • Macquarie University scientists working with Aboriginal citizens of Arnhem Land to develop cross-cultural tools to assess the biodiversity of remote areas of Australia
  • researchers from the University of Western Australia using communities in south-west WA to test the effectiveness of biofertilisers
  • research by South Australian Museum scientists to collect information about microbat populations and their habitats in the Murray–Darling Basin region.

By harnessing ‘people power’ and technologies like smartphone apps and the internet, these studies will have a greater impact than a small team of scientists can achieve alone.

It also gives the local community greater buy-in and access to the information generated, helping them to be more informed on these issues and aware of the value of science to our lives.

Participants will learn new skills and form new networks, linking them with the scientific community which they may not otherwise have access to.

I am pleased that the call for Citizen Science grant applications has received such a strong response from the research community.

Citizen Science Grants are part of the four-year, $29.8 million Inspiring Australia science engagement program encouraging community participation in science and technology, as outlined in the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The full list of Citizen Science Grant recipients is available at www.business.gov.au/CSrecipients

Media contact: Minister Sinodinos' office 02 6277 7070