Invention Convention CBRIN Networking Night

Invention Convention CBRIN Networking Night


Inspiring Australia ACT is continuing to develop our networks to increase connections between STEM and entrepreneurship. Back in January, we partnered with Questacon’s National Invention Convention, to introduce 24 young inventors from around Australia to the concept of networking.

The Invention Convention is an opportunity for 14-18 year olds from around the country to really explore STEM and innovation. They run National and regional workshops where students can work with techsperts from Questacon and innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs to turn ideas into reality.

At the National workshop in January, we helped bring entrepreneurs together with the young inventors for a Networking Night at CBRIN. The students had a session before hand on what networking is, why it is important and how the evening would run. When they arrived at CBRIN, they got a guided tour of our program and coworking spaces.


Then, down to the business at hand! Meeting strangers and telling them about yourself and your project! Most of the kids (14-18 year olds, remember) were very nervous. This can be a difficult thing for adults to engage in, so they did very well in engaging in the exercise. We set up the room so that each student (or sometimes pairs of students) got to meet with real-life, actual entrepreneurs who were running their businesses in Canberra. They got to explain what project they were working on and the entrepreneurs had tokens representing money, other resources (including time, access to space or technology) or referrals that they were able to distribute to the students (they were representative, not real!). The students in return were encouraged to pass on their email details to the entrepreneurs, and some contact was made after the event! A bell rang and everyone moved on to the next entrepreneur.


Food and (soft) drinks were served, and the students learned the difficult real-world issue of juggling food, a glass of drink and talking, without spillage!


The evening was a big success, if the reluctance of both the students and entrepreneurs to leave their conversations was any guide! Many of the students indicated that once they got over their initial nerves, they were really interested in hearing and talking to the entrepreneurs to get hints, tips and maybe even some future leads and investments in their ideas! The entrepreneurs reported that they were very impressed with the innovative ideas that these young people had created!


We will definitely run another networking night at next year’s Invention Convention! Meanwhile, applications are open for both Regional and National workshops in 2016 and 2017, so if you are or know a young person with bright ideas, click HERE!

ACT National Science Week Seed Grants Open!

ACT National Science Week Seed Grants Open!


With the announcement last week by the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science of the successful National Science Week Grant recipients for 2016, the ACT Coordinating Committee would like to congratulate the following:

  • Australian Academy of Science – “On the Job” project – laboratory and field technicians working in science around Australia will be invited to grab their smartphones to film and submit audition videos, showing what it’s like to work in the science and technology fields. Seven selected finalists will star in professionally-produced video blogs.


  • Dr Graham Walker – will present fast-paced science demonstration shows for teens and families, using readily available materials and equipment. This touring show will visit the ACT, Queanbeyan, Kiama, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Cooma and Goulburn.


  • Canberra Institute of Technology – shoppers in Canberra will learn to spot different clues and find their inner scientist by participating in visually-based identification activities. They will explore personal identification by biometric characteristics as well as identifying different diseases and animal identification from camera trap data and scats.


  • Larry Brandy Aboriginal Story Teller – will show how the traditional owners of the land used their knowledge of their environment to survive, by sharing examples of Aboriginal science in a fun and interactive way. Shows will be performed in early childhood centres, libraries and cultural centres.

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  • Scout Association (ACT Branch) – Scouts will do hands-on chemistry activities with the help of experts and trained demonstrators from the ANU School of Chemistry. Joeys, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers will explore chemistry across themes of environment, health, bushcraft, biology, and art and culture.

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Well done everyone! We can’t wait to see the end products of these inspiring science communication ideas!

Missed out on National funding? Don’t panic! The ACT National Science Week Coordinating Committee has $10,000 worth of funding to be allocated! We are offering seed grants up to $1000 (incl. GST) to support science engagement events, programs and activities conducted between 1 July and 31 October 2016. Preference will be given to events that occur at least once in or very close to Science Week itself. National Science Week runs from 13-21 August in 2016. The seed funding is designed to assist innovative, interactive events that are able to attract new audiences. These grants are not intended to fund existing activities.

Applications close 5pm AEST, Friday 29 April 2016. Any questions please email

Apply HERE!!

If you are a school and are looking to do something for National Science Week, don’t forget you can also apply for up to $500 (from a pool of $90,000) for a science week event or activity. In 2016 we will embrace the ‘Technology’ in STEM, in particular autonomous technology, with the National Science Week school theme Drones, droids and robots. These are open to ANY Australian school (preschool through to colleges). Applications close 22 April 2016. Apply for Schools Grants HERE!