NYSF 2017 Session A: Partners’ Day Expo

After the Partners’ Day presentations the students gathered for the Partners’ Day Expo , where they were able to meet, chat and network with representatives of the NYSF partners.

The students were able to meet reps (and the presenters) from Lockheed Martin, IP Australia, UNSW Australia, Monash University, Melbourne University, Australian National University, University of Queensland, CSIRO, CSL, Resmed, and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The one-on-one conversations with the representatives proved to be valuable for the students – they got their questions answered and expanded their horizons in terms of career choices and opportunities.

All of the students were obsessively engaged in conversation that evening, but I managed to pull two aside for a quick chat about their thoughts on the expo.

“It encourages people to think and create change, and I’m a big advocate for creating change.”

“IP Australia really stood out for me” said Sharon Nguyen. “People are coming up with new ideas all the time, and so the work that they do at IP Australia is important because they can protect it. It encourages people to think and create change, and I’m a big advocate for creating change.”

“Before NYSF I wanted to do occupational therapy, then through talking to NYSF friends and the presenters I realized there was a whole world of opportunity and options out there that I hadn’t thought of.”

Sharon Nguyen with Matt Lee (Assistant Director of Strategic Communication, IP Australia)

As well as career choices, the conversation with the university reps in particular also illuminated life as a tertiary student. It seems as though it not only helped inform the students, but also sparked some excitement.

“Talking to all the presenters and other professionals has got me really excited to start university and the next stage of my career.”

“[Partners’ Day] made me realise how many options are out there, and it got me thinking about and considering many different universities” said Danyon Farrell.

“I’ve always wanted to do a double degree but I wasn’t sure, but after hearing the talks today it really made it obvious how valuable they are and the opportunity that they open.”

“Talking to all the presenters and other professionals has got me really excited to start university and the next stage of my career.”

One happy Danyon Farrell

By Jackson Nexhip, NYSF 2017 Session A Communications Intern and NYSF 2013 Alumnus

Volunteering develops passion for crop genetics and research


Ellen de Vries with Sally Walford from CSIRO

Ellen de Vries is from regional Victoria, and attended the NYSF in 2014. She is currently studying a double major in Genetics and Food Science with a concurrent Diploma in Languages (Italian) at the University of Melbourne.

“Without the NYSF I would not have had the confidence nor the contacts to discover and develop my passion for crop genetics and research.”

“Since attending the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in 2014 I have been really fortunate in pursuing the many opportunities offered to me. During the NYSF I met CSIRO researcher, Sally Walford, and she invited me to do volunteer work in her cotton genetics research lab in the summer after I attended the NYSF. This was my first real taste of research and I enjoyed every minute of. It consolidated in my mind that I really loved research and wanted to potentially spend the rest of my life doing it.

Through this experience and the NYSF I really developed my passion for researching plant genomes and genetic manipulation. In my first year of university, this led to me being a research assistant to a PhD student at the University of Melbourne, giving me a better understanding of how research projects work.

At the beginning of 2016 I returned to the CSIRO and spent a week in the wheat genetics lab. I continued to develop my interest in the manipulation and expression of genes in cereal crops – specifically wheat plants.  There is a lot of potential to increase the yield of wheat crops, which would be of benefit to the Australian grains sector, and the economy more broadly .  This volunteer experience has motivated me to contact AgriBio Victoria to seek more lab work in the plant genetics field.

I am about to finish my second year at University of Melbourne, and am hoping to pass and go on to do my honours, and hopefully onto a PhD in cereal crop genetics.

Without the NYSF I would not have had the confidence or the contacts to discover and develop my passion for crop genetics and research. I know my experience with the NYSF is not a unique one and is shared by everyone who attends. The opportunities have been so incredible and they’ve really encouraged me to pursue my passion.”

What’s happening at Melbourne Uni? News and Updates from Parkville

All the latest news, direct from the University of Melbourne…


After you’ve got your ATAR, come to Course Information Day on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at the Parkville campus to find out what you can study at Melbourne in 2017.

  • Talk to our friendly staff about your study options in 2017.
  • Course information sessions will give you all the details about our undergraduate course and pathways to graduate study at Melbourne. You can also find out more about scholarships and our special entry schemes like Access Melbourne.
  • Tour our beautiful Parkville campus, located right on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD, and take a look at our residential colleges.

Located in a rural area or interstate, or just can’t make it to the Parkville campus? Not a problem!

The Online Course Information Day on Thursday 15 December 2016 gives you the chance to learn more about your options, even if you can’t come and meet us in person. Log in and chat with our friendly staff, and get personalised advice about the undergraduate courses, pathways to graduate study, scholarships and special entry schemes that are relevant to you.

To learn more and register, visit the Change of Preference website: www.cop.unimelb.edu.au.



Science Gallery Melbourne will be a bold new addition to the University of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne, exploring the collision of art and science, and playing a vital role in shifting our understanding of science, art and innovation. Part of the acclaimed Science Gallery International network, the Gallery will be a dynamic new model for engaging 15-25 year olds with science. One of only eight nodes worldwide, Science Gallery Melbourne will involve, inspire and transform curious minds through arts and science.

The University of Melbourne is creating what will be Australia’s leading innovation precinct. Science Gallery Melbourne will be located in the landmark location, the intersection of Swanston and Grattan Streets, a gateway between the University and the city.

Scheduled to open in 2020, Science Gallery Melbourne will:

  • Attract over 250,000 visitors per annum
  • Impact the careers and pathways for 15-25 year olds in arts and science
  • Draw on the excellence embedded in the University of Melbourne and its inspiring program of teaching, research and engagement
  • Attract a global community of scientists and contemporary artists



In November, we launched Made Possible by Melbourne, a free exhibition in the Melbourne CBD celebrating world-changing research by the University of Melbourne.

Made Possible by Melbourne highlights several ground-breaking solutions that have been developed to tackle some of the most pertinent global issues. Featured are those such as bio-fortified rice to improve the nutrition and health for many in developing rural communities, flexible solar cells that help ease the transition to green power, and new classroom designs to enhance the achievement of each student’s academic potential. And this is just to name a few.

Perhaps closer to home is the use of financial modelling techniques to more effectively combat obesity, by analysing related decision processes. Such research highlights, more than anything else, the sheer possibility of how creativity can stretch the bounds of academic application.

And it’s all been made possible by the University of Melbourne.

Check out the video highlights of the exhibition here!


Food That Doesn’t Waste Water

Water is life, the world’s most precious resource. Yet across rural Australia, irrigation systems covering an estimated 2.5 million hectares of land are in desperate need of modernisation. In the United States, the figure is 10 times as high. Traditionally it takes around two and a half tonnes of water to grow 1kg of corn. However, in-ground sensors and automated watering systems developed by the University of Melbourne are helping farmers produce more crops using just half the water.

Now ground-breaking technologies developed over 15 years of collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne-based company Rubicon to automate irrigation networks are meeting the challenge of growing more food sustainably across an ever-hungrier world – and saving precious water.

Experience the Made Possible by Melbourne exhibit for this project here.

Find out more about this amazing project here!


Robots with a Human Touch

Restoring movement and the sensations of everyday life

Anyone who has lost the use of an arm through amputation, stroke or paralysis, has had not just movement and control, but also those vital, tangible human sensations stolen away.

Prosthetic limbs, once awkward, uncomfortable and limited in function, have come a long way, particularly with the advent of 3D printing. They can easily be custom fitted and even purpose built for various sports, as the recent Rio Paralympics have shown. Many of the most expensive models can be programmed to perform a remarkably wide range of movements. But none have been able to restore the sense of touch.
Yet some dare to dream. And turn dream into reality. Researchers from th
e University of Melbourne, in collaboration with the University of Wollongong and St Vincent’s Hospital’s Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, are developing a robotic arm that could help return not only full movement but, one day, sensation.

Explore the Made Possible by Melbourne experience for this project here.

Learn more about this incredible research here.

Launch for NYSF 2017

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) launched its 2017 January programs earlier this month at the Australian National University (ANU).

Andrew Metcalfe, AO, Chair of the NYSF Board said the January program would be better than ever due to the ongoing support of our funding partners and organisations that facilitated the program.  Mr Metcalfe made special mention of the recent funding announcement by Minister Greg Hunt of funding for the NYSF’s activities through the National Innovation Science Agenda (NISA).

NYSF Chair Andrew Metcalfe speaking at the NYSF 2017 launch

NYSF Chair Andrew Metcalfe speaking at the NYSF 2017 launch

Mr Metcalfe also welcomed our newest Funding Partner, IP Australia, who’s Deputy Director General, Ms Deb Anton, also addressed the group underlining the value of supporting the NYSF as a program that attracts Australia’s next generation of leading innovators. “This aligns with IP Australia’s position,“ she said, “as we are at the forefront of innovation in Australia.”

“Supporting new talent will result in a strong, positive impact in securing Australia’s future as a global leader in science and technology.”

Attendees at the launch included representatives from NYSF funding partners, ANU academics and researchers who assist with the delivery of the NYSF program in the form of the lab visits and guest lectures; other facility lab visit and site tour providers; alumni of the NYSF Program, many of whom are students or graduates of the ANU; NYSF Board and Council members; and the NYSF corporate team.


Dr. Chris Hatherly, Anne MacKay, Daniel Lawson, Emily Rose Rees, Ellen Lynch


Prof. Jenny Graves, Deb Anton, Dr. Alison Shield


Alumni Sam Backwell, Laura Wey,                Mitchell de Vries


Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton


Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton


Mitchell de Vries, Natalie Williams,                Merryn Fraser


Rowley Tompsett, Madeline Cooper,             Melanie Tacey


Ken Maxwell, Dr. Damien Pearce, Jo Hart


Tony Trumble, Prof. Jenny Graves, Deb Anton, Adrian Hearne, Brody Hannan

All images:  Emma Robertson

News from The University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne launches new Bachelor of Design

The Bachelor of Design commencing 2017

The University of Melbourne is pleased to announce the launch of a new undergraduate degree – available from Semester 1, 2017.

The Bachelor of Design is a three-year studio and workshop based degree that will foster a new generation of design professionals able to address present and future challenges.

The new degree aligns with professionally accredited graduate programs and offers students great flexibility in the form of new majors, minors and an array of unique specialisations.

Majors in the new program include: Architecture, Computing, Construction Management, Civil Systems, Digital Technologies, Graphic Design, Landscape Architecture, Mechanical Systems, Property, Spatial Systems, Urban Planning, and Performance Design.

You can preview the Bachelor of Design.

Bachelor of Environments

The University has also announced a review of its undergraduate environmental study offerings. The review will consider the intersection of arts and sciences in the study of sustainability and the environment and how best to complement its outstanding graduate options in these fields. In 2017 while the review is underway, there will be no first year intake into the Bachelor of Environments.

Studies in the Environment and Sustainability in 2017

If you have an interest in studying the environment and sustainability in 2017, our Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees offer a range of study majors in these areas.

The Bachelor of Science offers majors in Environmental Science, Geography, Civil Systems, Spatial Systems, Agricultural Science, Climate & Weather, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Forest Science, Geology, Marine Biology, Plant Sciences, and many more.

The Bachelor of Arts also offers a major in Geography and a minor in Environmental Studies.

Further Information

For more information on all our undergraduate programs, the areas of study available, entry requirements and prerequisites please visit the course search website.

You can also attend our upcoming Focus On Melbourne course information evenings in May and June. If you are unable to attend your preferred Focus On Melbourne event, you can access recordings of all sessions online via the event website. Don’t forget to save the date for the University’s annual Open Day on Sunday 21 August 2016 to learn more about 2017 study options.



News from The University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science has recently added two new majors to the Bachelor of Science: Computational Biology and Mechatronics Systems.

Computational Biology Major

In the Computational Biology major, students will gain an understanding of the analysis and interpretation of biological phenomena using mathematical and statistical models, computational tools and the algorithmic design and analysis of such models and tools. Based in the Parkville biomedical precinct, students will learn from academics who are experts in their field and use the latest theories and technologies in their teaching practices. The Parkville biomedical precinct is also home to the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) which houses one of the fastest super computers in the southern hemisphere. The IBM Blue Gene/Q has 836 teraflops of processing power, which is equivalent to over 20,000 desktop computers. For more information, visit the Computational Biology website.

Mechatronics Systems Major

What is Mechatronics? Think exciting new developments like self-driving cars or drone imagery. Mechatronic engineers are some of the people behind these new technologies, using their expertise in computing, electronics and mechanical engineering to design and maintain machinery with electronic and computer control systems, such as aircrafts, robots, motor vehicles, cameras, power generators and chemical plant machinery. In the Mechatronics Systems major students will develop strong skills in the mathematical modelling of the behaviour, response, and control of mechanical systems that can perform physical tasks. Students will also learn about electronic sensors used for sensing of the environment and the instrumentation required to support them and use of computer programming skills for interfacing computers with machines. To learn more, visit the website.

Getting started in science videos

The Faculty of Science has also released a range of helpful new videos designed to help students learn more about the various areas of study available through the Bachelor of Science. These colourful, engaging videos will help students to make more informed decisions about which subjects and majors to select as they plan their undergraduate course enrolment. To watch the videos, visit the Getting Started in Science webpage.

Science and Technology Internships

Bachelor of Science students can now undertake a Science and Technology Internship subject which will offer real experience working in a science or technology related workplace. The internship will help students to identify and articulate their knowledge and skills and apply them to relevant contexts and work-settings, produce original work in an appropriate format which demonstrates analytical, research and problem-solving skills, understand the value of industry and professional networks and their importance to lifelong learning and career progression and develop greater confidence in their ability to contribute to a science-related workplace, awareness of the strengths they offer to a future employer as well as areas to further develop beyond their degree. To learn more about his exciting new subject, visit the website

Unravelling microscopic evidence of supercontinents … in three minutes

NYSF 2008 Alumna and student staff leader Catherine Wheller was one of eight grand finalists to compete in The University of Melbourne’s Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) in September this year.

The Trans-Tasman Three Minute Thesis is an annual research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland celebrating the exciting research conducted by PhD students. The exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills, allowing the opportunity to develop their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

“To reach the grand final, we went through initial heats, then semi-finals and then into the grand final. This was the final stage for me, however the winner of the grand final travelled to Queensland for the Trans-Tasman competition competing against winners from universities in Australia and New Zealand.”

Catherine’s presentation concentrated on the question of “Microscopic Evidence of Supercontinents, how do we uncover the evolution of the Earth’s continents by the mineral assemblages that make up rocks?”

Presenting my research to a general audience is … a skill which is seldom taught, but incredibly useful

Catherine Wheller 3MT

Catherine Wheller 3MT

While travelling in the remote south of Madagascar last year for her research, Catherine picked up a rock. Under the microscope, she found that the rock’s mineral assemblage showed that it had been through an extraordinarily high temperature event around 520 million years ago.

“This is a remarkably different evolution than an average rock would have experienced, so what story has my rock recorded? This is around the time that the supercontinent of Gondwana was forming – so what I’ve found is evidence that the southern part of Madagascar was involved in a collision of two plates at this time. From studies like this around the world, we can really start to piece together past movements of our Earth’s crust.”

Catherine has always enjoyed public speaking and teaching, but her audience has always been one educated or interested in her field. “Presenting my research to a general audience is a challenge that I was motivated to try because this is a skill which is seldom taught, but incredibly useful.  I chose a degree that I am passionate about and it has allowed me to explore some incredibly remote and unique places, which I then use to investigate the evolution of our planet – and I want to communicate that.”

The competition was tough. Catherine was representing the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences in a competition dominated by biomedical students. “At this level you can expect a certain degree of competitiveness, however I was blown away by how willing everyone was to help each other. Some of us started a practice group during the heat stages of the competition and we gave each other tips on presentation style and content – I’ve made an incredible group of friends though this program.”

The University of Melbourne’s other competitors in the competition came from the Faculty of Science; Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences; Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and Melbourne School of Engineering. Humanities and the Arts were well represented in the heats and semi-finals.

The Melbourne University competition winner was Eamonn Fahy who discussed early signs of glaucoma. He later won the grand final held at the University of Queensland in October.

Other topics included: the rise of the superbug (Claire Gorrie); The uses of spider silk in Kevlar (Steven Harris Wibowo); How much oxygen is needed to grow stem cells (Jarmon Lees); Malaria screening in women to prevent birth of premature babies (Kerryn Moore); Growing healthy wheat (Rebecca Vandegeer); and Shedding light on diabetic blindness (Sam Mills).

Watch Catherine’s 3MT here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhvFJKoUVtI

Catherine’s Blog about field stories here: https://catinthefield.wordpress.com/

Claire Demeo, NYSF alumna 2014, on studying at The University of Melbourne

Claire Demeo is a first year Bachelor of Science student at The University of Melbourne.

“First year university is a very fun and exciting time, with lots of new experiences to be had, and lots of fun memories to make. As many people would have already told you, university is very different from school, and not just in terms of the content, but in the amount of freedom you have, and the structure of the subjects.

you get to choose the subjects you enjoy

I am a first year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Melbourne, living on campus at one of the colleges at the university. I am thoroughly enjoying the course, as you get to choose the subjects you enjoy and are passionate about, which makes studying and doing the work a whole lot easier. Doing science, there are so so so many subjects to pick from, which makes for some very tough decisions at the start of the year. Don’t feel that you are locked into the subjects you pick first semester though, as you can always change and try out other areas of science.

Claire Demeo, at The University of Melbourne

Claire Demeo, at The University of Melbourne

At Melbourne Uni, you also get to pick a breadth subject, which is a subject outside of the science field. You go into a lot more detail in the science subjects than you do in year 12, as to be expected, but all the other students are at the same level as you, so you’re all in it together. The lecturers are very engaging, with some lecturers even encouraging audience participation, which is both entertaining and useful in helping students to understand the content.

Most science subjects also have tutorials, where you are in smaller groups and get to really understand the course material with your tutor and other students. For science, there are around 20 – 24 contact hours a week, depending on your subject choices, as some science subjects have practical classes/labs, while others don’t. Compared to school, 20 – 24 hours a week sounds very minimal, but once again, uni is very different from school, and there is more to be done outside of your classes then there was in year 12.

Work hard to get into your dream course

Being at uni is a lot of fun though – not just all study – and you get to meet so many like-minded, fun people from all over the world. Make sure you join lots of clubs and societies and get involved in university life to get the most out of the opportunities you are given. Work hard to get into your dream course, and I’m sure you will thank yourself later for the effort you put in during year 12.

Good luck, and hopefully I’ll see you at Melbourne Uni next year!”

NYSF’s Next Step Melbourne program very popular

The NYSF Next Step programs for 2015 kicked off in Melbourne in April, with visits to NYSF Partners CSL, GSK, Monash University, The University of Melbourne, as well as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC).

Next Step programs aim to promote our Partner organisations through laboratory and site visits in capital cities across Australia. They give the NYSF students a better understanding of the facilities available at different universities, and the kinds of jobs to which they can aspire.

“Having our industry partners open up their facilities to the students is an extremely valuable ‘add-on’,” says NYSF Director, Damien Pearce. “And our university partners love to show the students their teaching and learning facilities, residences and the other benefits of their institutions.”

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Christina from Wagga Wagga in NSW, says, “I am now seriously considering attending Melbourne University to do my Bachelor of Science and would love to gain experience working with CSL.The Next Step Program was a really good opportunity to see facilities and the universities and get a feel for the atmosphere, as well as catch up with NYSFer’s. Really well organised.”

Mahi from Melbourne, says “It was really nice talking to the scientists and seeing the different pathways they took to get where they are. The tour was really fun and the person who gave it went to NYSF ages ago!”

“I definitely like the range of topics covered because it has made me realise that there is so much more out there than what I thought. The sessions covering the specific degrees in the interest fields was extremely helpful because it gave me a clearer idea of majors and pre-requisites. Going to WEHI definitely made me want to work there and I actually have made it one of my future goals.It was so good!!!! I wish it was longer than just the four days though!!”

Oshini, also from Melbourne, says, “Each of the partners involved in the Melbourne Next Step provided valuable insight to study and life after high school, which is valuable as school sometimes doesn’t cover this content entirely.”

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NYSF students visit 2015 Graeme Clark Oration

National Youth Science Forum alumni Kellie Wilson, Hayley Houston and Caitlin Minney attended the 2015 Graeme Clark Oration held at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 10 March 2015.

For Kellie, “It was an absolute pleasure to attend as a representative of the National Youth Science Forum and St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Warragul. The Oration is one of Victoria’s most prestigious public science events with fifty schools from around the state present at the proceedings,” she said.

Australian scientist, Professor Graeme Clark whose research led to the development of the Bionic Ear, founded the event and also spoke at the Oration. Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize Laureate, President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London was the guest speaker at this year’s event.

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Hayley and Caitlin recall Sir Paul talking of his humble beginnings and stressed the importance of perseverance and curiosity not only in science but also in all aspects of life. “Regardless of your upbringing, if you are determined to create opportunities for yourself, you can be successful in science,” he said.

Sir Paul’s presentation on Controlling How Cells Reproduce, focused on the scientific breakthrough that led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize and being responsible for placing the world one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Maffra Secondary College in Victoria was awarded the Graeme Clark Science Award in recognition of their innovative school science program that works to promote science within their community.

After the event Kellie was fortunate to talk further with the guest speakers about their research and their opinion of Australian science. “I cannot express the sheer value of having such events available to the public. I urge all who are interested in science to attend the 2016 Oration as the event not only serves to heighten one’s knowledge but it also acts as a spark of inspiration to the scientists of the future.”

The University of Melbourne, a partner of the National Youth Science Forum, is a major sponsor of the Graeme Clark Oration.

Cochlear, the company founded as a result of Professor Clark’s research, is also a funding partner of the National Youth Science Forum.

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Further information is available at www.graemeclarkoration.org.au