The 2023 Wrap Up for Australian Science Innovations!
2023: What a year it was for Australian Science Innovations!
We are incredibly proud of the positive impact we have had on so many science-loving high school students and the broader science community. Nurturing the future of Australian science is important, and being a part of the lives of these remarkable young people is a delightful bonus. The support from our community all year is heartwarming, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in creating the success of the last 12 months.
Here is an update of what happened for those who missed it…
Australian Science Olympiads
The Australian Science Olympiads (ASO) are a staged science enrichment program for highly motivated students in Australian high schools.
It has been a tremendous year for the ASO program. There were 6604 participants for the ASO exam, held in July and August at schools across Australia. A fantastic way to enrich science education for students with a passion for biology, physics, chemistry and Earth and environmental sciences.
It is also the start of a journey for some high achieving students, 96 of whom who were selected to attend the residential Summer School during their school holidays, held at the Australian National University in Canberra. The photos below show that the program not only builds their scientific repertoire, but enhances skills in team work, leadership and self-confidence. They also had fun and made friends!
In June we announced the teams who were selected from the January Summer School, to represent Australia in the 2023 International Science Olympiads. The ‘blazer ceremony’ held at Parliament House in Canberra is attended by the biology, chemistry, Earth & environmental science and physics teams, their families and loved ones, Program Directors, ministers and dignitaries.
The ASO students undergo hours of study, training and lab practice in preparation for their overseas adventures. We supported students to compete in far-flung places like Mongolia, United Arab Emirates, Japan and Switzerland. Our Earth and environmental science team faced their challenging exams online. A slew of medals were brought home from these International Olympiads, and a bunch of long lasting memories!
2024 Dates for the Australian Science Olympiad Exam
Physics: Monday 29 July 2024
Biology: Tuesday 30 July 2024
Earth and Environmental Science: Wednesday 31 July 2024
Chemistry: Thursday 1 August 2024
Junior Science Olympiad
The Junior Science Olympiad (JSO) is open to students in Years 7 to 10 and covers a wide range of topics in science, including physics, chemistry, biology and Earth science.
The JSO program had a successful and invigorating year. With 5705 participants in the JSO Exam held in June, it was one of our biggest contingents. So big that it was split across one date for Years 7 and 8, and another date for Years 9 and 10.
24 students with outstanding results from the exam earned an invitation to attend Spring School in September, held onsite at the Australian National University in Canberra. Along with gaining knowledge, skills and experience, the students sat a further qualifying exam to be considered for the Australian team. They also had several excursions and enrichment activities. It was the third Spring School ever held, but the first time it was an in-person residential camp… the excitement and energy were palpable!
Watch the video on YouTube here: 2023 Spring School | Junior Science Olympiad
From the Spring School, just six students were selected to represent Australia at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad in December. The team had a wonderful adventure in Thailand, and a rewarding experience, bringing home one gold and five silver medals!
Other students who participated in the JSO exam were invited to participate in JSO Academy online program, or the Junior Science Olympiad Training Squad self-directed online program. These extension programs are for students who have limited opportunities because of where they live such as regional and remote locations, their socio-economic background, and/or their indigenous status.
As a result of being involved in the Junior Science Olympiad Training Squad one teacher noted, “Student interest was outstanding and resulted in an outstanding effort in the Olympiad. Subsequent learning has been quite noticeable in class.”
2024 Dates for the Junior Science Olympiad Exam
Year 9 & 10: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Year 7 & 8: Friday 14 June 2024
Big Science Competition
The Big Science Competition is one of the biggest international science competitions, challenging students from Years 7 to 10.
We had over 32880 students sit the Big Science Competition (BSC) this year. They sat the BSC across a two week period in May, taking on the 50-minute, multiple choice competition at their schools. It’s a fun way to test their scientific knowledge, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Questions are set in real-life, contemporary contexts, making them relatable and interesting!
Many students found that the best way to prepare was with our past papers, available to purchase on our website. Plus several students who sat BSC won prizes! All students in Australian high schools who sat the Big Science Competition in 2023 had a chance to win one of four great prizes up to the value of $1,498, including an Apple iPad.
Multiple students who sat the Big Science Competition were selected to attend our other ASI science extension programs including the Australian Science Olympiads and Curious Minds – Girls in STEM.
“Thank you for the opportunity to challenge our students at an affordable price.” Sarah, Sydney
2024 Dates for the Big Science Competition: Monday 6 to Friday 17 May 2024
Curious Minds – Girls in STEM
Empowering girls who are passionate, high performers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to explore their full potential, through a six-month hands-on and mentoring program.
115 girls in years 9 and 10 were involved in the Curious Minds program in 2023. The participants have limited opportunities to explore STEM subjects and careers because of where they live, including regional and remote locations, their socio-economic background and/or their indigenous status.
We could not offer this enrichment opportunity without the amazing dedication of the 93 coaches and many support staff. Check out the Curious Minds Instagram page to find out more about why these STEM coaches got involved!
If you are interested in the Curious Minds program for 2024 as a student or as a STEM coach, you can find Expression of Interest forms on our CM website. Stay tuned for updates by following our Curious Minds Instagram page or subscribing to the newsletter on our Curious Minds website.
Curious Minds is jointly delivered by Australian Science Innovations and Australian Mathematics Trust, funded by Department of Education and supported by The Australian National University.
Many students who participate in ASO Summer School and JSO Spring School become active Alumni.
Our Alumni attend events, network and advocate on our behalf, as well as donate to support our programs.
As Program Staff they assist the Program Directors to run the residential schools, using their previous experience and knowledge to support students. The Alumni enjoy it immensely and help enrich the experience for others.
Alumni not only hold a special place at ASI but they also become our Program Directors, Deputy Program Directors and Board Members.
Are you an Alumni from a previous ASI Spring School or Summer School who would like to be contacted about supporting and being involved with ASI? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all the Alumni who gave so much to ASI this year! Thank you to Professor Ian Chubb, Australian Science Innovations Patron, who attended a morning tea with select Alumni in August.
Thank you to the schools & students
Through the ASI programs, we connect with many teachers, principals, support staff and schools across Australia, and the world! Without them, we couldn’t do what we do. An example is the 360 schools that registered for ASO & JSO exams this year. Wow!
Our work across 150 regional schools across Australia allows us to reach students who might otherwise miss opportunities because of where they live, including regional and remote locations, their socio-economic background and/or their indigenous status.
Thank you to the many students who participated in our programs in 2023. You work so hard and we appreciate every effort made.
Want to be involved in 2024? Email us for more information email@example.com
Thank you to our education experts
Our team of talented Program Directors and Deputy Directors, tutors, lab staff and many other support crew, have worked tirelessly to develop programs that provide a high caliber of science exams and education whilst also being fun and engaging.
The interest from schools and teachers, the number of participants, the feedback we receive, and the results achieved are testimony to this.
Across the ASO and JSO International Olympiad competitions in 2023 we are proud of the teams earning 3 gold medals, 15 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.
It is a demonstration of the tenacity of the students but also the teams supporting them.
Thank you to our valued sponsors and partners
Many generous organisations support us in creating exceptional experiences and programs for our students.
- Department of Industry, Science and Resources – Major Funder
- The Australian National University – University Funder
- Australian Maths Trust – Program Partner
- Stile – Sponsor
- IXOM – Sponsor
- Australian Science Teachers Association
- Science and Technology Australia
Do you know of an organisation looking for an opportunity to sponsor future scientists?
To unlock the full potential of our programs, we need your help! Please reach out for a conversation with our Executive Director, Vanessa Kates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or check out this LinkedIn post!
We are immensely grateful for the team of volunteers and support crew behind the scenes of our programs. So many little things that you do for ASI adds up to big impact! You are supporting Australia’s ambition to become a global science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) superpower.
We also thank all the families, carers and friends for supporting such remarkable young people. Not only do our programs encourage students to develop their scientific and STEM talents, they also provide students with skills and opportunities that will shape their future. Your trust in us and your willingness to embrace this adventure for your young scientist means everything.
Overall, 2023 was a year of achievement for Australian Science Innovations.
We are excited to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in science education and making a positive impact on the world around us. The people we meet and the journeys we go on indicate a bright future for Australian science! We are excited for the year ahead, and look forward to seeing you all in 2024.
Please follow us on our social media pages to get updates, photos and news, links in the footer.
The Australian Science Innovations team