Local scientists team up at Warriewood Wetlands to launch $4 million program

Researchers and budding scientists today teamed up at Warriewood Wetlands in North Narrabeen, alongside Federal Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski and Science Minister Greg Hunt to launch a new citizen science program.

The $4 million Citizen Science Grants will be open for four years and support opportunities for the public to collaborate with researchers on high-quality, nationally important research projects.

Competitive grants between $50,000 and $500,000 will be offered to Australian researchers to engage the public in research – including collecting and analysing data, formulating questions for investigation and organising research teams.

Federal Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, said the grants will help researchers to do more work, while boosting public participation in science by involving people directly in the research process.

“Today we had a team of citizen science volunteers take part in a water monitoring program at Warriewood Wetlands,” Mr Falinski said.

“Not only did this give people the opportunity to be involved in a community science project but importantly it enabled researchers to get more data to help the broader water monitoring program in the local area.” 

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt, said the Citizen Science Grants initiative was part of the four-year, $29.8 million Inspiring Australia Science Engagement Programme, under the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

“Researchers across Australia are recognising the value of using people power to enhance the range and depth of data available for analysis and research,” Minister Hunt said.

“The government’s support for citizen science projects will contribute to Australia’s national science and research priorities and increase science participation in new fields.”

The programs builds on past successful citizen science projects run by leading universities and research organisations, including online projects run for National Science Week each year.

This year’s National Science Week project, Wildlife Spotter, saw around 50,000 people contribute 43,000 hours to analysing and identifying wildlife snapped from over 2.7 million images from automatic cameras in diverse wild and urban environments from Far North Queensland to Tasmania.

This project, run by ABC Science, helped six different research groups understand which species were roaming our wild and urban areas, helping to save threatened species and preserve Australia’s iconic wildlife.

In 2015, ABC Science ran the Galaxy Explorer project which saw 18,000 Australians assist with the classification of 225,000 images of galaxies for the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia.

For more information on Citizen Science Grants visit: https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/inspiring-australia-science-engagement/citizen-science-grants