Science education programmes directory

The following list provides a summary of the range of innovative policies, programmes and initiatives that are all working towards building Australia’s capability and expertise capability and expertise in relation to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools

The Government is investing $12 million in STEM disciplines in primary and secondary schools in order to increase innovation. For more information visit the StudentsFirst website.

Questacon programmes and initiatives

Questacon has a number of national programmes and initiatives, each with different educational goals targeting different age groups.

Shell Questacon Science Circus

The Shell Questacon Science Circus brings lively, interactive presentations of science to towns and schools across regional Australia. The programme is staffed by young Australians studying for a Master of Science Communication Outreach qualification.

Questacon Smart Skills Initiative

The Questacon Smart Skills Initiative comprises a number of programmes, delivered in cooperation with a range of partners, designed to engage young people in design, thinking, technology, creativity and innovation. The Initiative tours to metropolitan, regional and remote areas across Australia and is supported by the Ian Potter Foundation and Samsung Australia.

Questacon Virtual Excursions

Questacon Virtual Excursions offer engaging workshops and events delivered via video conference to schools across Australia.

Questacon Teacher Professional Learning

Questacon conducts accredited teacher professional learning activities as part of the national touring programmes and through the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre in Canberra.

The Excited Particles

The Excited Particles visits schools in the ACT and surrounding region to present an hour of fun scientific demonstrations and experiments, with shows targeted from pre-schoolers to high school students.

The Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre

The Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre (IPTLC) helps develop skills and understanding of manufacturing processes by immersing students in ideas, tools and creativity.

Holiday workshops

The IPFTLC provides school holiday workshops for students aged between 10 and 16 years old. The full and half day workshops provide participants with the opportunity to develop their ideas in a fun, collaborative environment.

School workshops

The IPFTLC provides free hands-on workshops for grades 7 to 12. The workshops are built around a framework of design thinking and innovation in response to the need to increase the rate of participation of students in further studies and understanding of the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

For more information about these programmes and initiatives, visit the Questacon website.

Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) programmes

CSIRO has a number of programmes designed for teachers, parents and children of all ages.

  • Science Bootcamp

    Science Bootcamp is an immersive CSIRO science experience for secondary school students. CSIRO Education and Outreach hosts science bootcamp in various capital cities throughout the year.

  • BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards

    The BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards reward students for creative research projects and engineering innovations, and teachers for their contribution to science education.

  • CREativity in Science and Technology (CREST)

    CREativity in Science and Technology (CREST) is a non-competitive awards program supporting students to design and carry out their own open-ended science investigation or technology project.

  • Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools

    Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools is a national volunteer program bringing real science, mathematics and ICT into the classroom through ongoing flexible partnerships.

  • STEM program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

    With the support of the BHP Billiton Foundation, CSIRO is implementing an important new education project aimed at increasing participation and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

  • Sustainable Futures

    Sustainable Futures is an educational program that combines the latest in climate science with education in sustainability. This program was formerly known as CarbonKids.

  • PULSE@Parkes program

    High school students take control of our Parkes radio telescope, and do real science in the process with this innovative education program.

For more information about CSIRO's programmes and initiatives, visit the CSIRO website.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Discovery Centre

ANSTO's education programmes are for people of all ages to learn more about how nuclear science and technology helps to improve health outcomes to understand the environment, and to identify opportunities for industry.

ANSTO's Discovery Centre has a comprehensive range of online education resources including e-learning for teachers, online educational games and Discover ANSTO App and e-magazine.

ANSTO offers free tours for school groups and the general public and runs regular workshops and events.

For more information visit the ANSTO website.

Geoscience Australia education initiatives

Geoscience Australia uses a range of strategies to raise geoscience awareness in the community. The Geoscience Australia Education Centre is a hands-on, curriculum linked experience that keeps students captivated, focused and looking to know more about geoscience. Geoscience Australia supports science education and awareness through the following initiatives:

  • National Youth Science Forum
  • The Science Experience
  • Earth Science Week
  • National Science Week

For more information and online education resources visit the Geoscience Australia website.

National Measurement Institute

NMI provides specialised training in the science of measurement throughout Australia as well as overseas. Courses, both industry and research focussed, are aimed at scientists, engineers and technicians and cover topics as diverse as temperature measurement to measurement uncertainty of biological measurements. We can customise specialised training to suit your particular industry or business needs.

NMI collaborates with universities in providing their science students with the opportunity to work or study in our laboratories. Our ‘year in industry’ programme gives students a year’s experience in industry where they work alongside our scientists on specific projects such as analysing for performance enhancing drugs in athletes. In collaboration with universities around Australia, we also have a large number of post graduate students working with NMI on projects.

For more information visit the NMI website.

Department of Education and Training programmes and initiatives

Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Programme

The Australian Government is making $16.4 million available over three years to enable universities across Australia to deliver innovative maths and science projects.

The Australian Maths and Science Partnership Programme (AMSPP) Competitive Grants Round is aimed at improving outcomes in the learning and teaching of maths and science. The purpose of the AMSPP is to improve student engagement in maths and science at university and schools, through innovative partnerships between universities, schools and other relevant organisations.

The Australian Government has committed a total of $21.3 million for 22 projects over the period 2013 to 2016. In particular, the competitive grants will support:

  • increased mentoring in science subjects for teachers

  • teacher training and professional development to improve teacher quality

  • increased women’s and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in maths and science.

For more information visit the Department of Education and Training website.

Restoring the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at school

The Australian Government has committed an extra $12 million in 2014-15 to restore the focus, and increase student uptake of, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools across the country.

This builds on the $5 million allocated in the 2014-15 Budget for the Primary Connections and Science by Doing programmes.

This support includes assisting to develop and implement innovative online curriculum resources in mathematics; enhancing computer programming skills across the curriculum; providing seed funding to pilot an innovation-focused ‘P-TECH’ styled secondary education initiative; and increasing student participation in ‘Summer schools for STEM students'.

For more information visit the Department of Education and Training Students First website.

Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003

In 2015, the Australian Government is expected to provide $1.77 billion to higher education providers as block grants to support research and research training, through a number of performance-based schemes under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003.

For more information visit the Department of Education and Training website.

Office of Learning and Teaching

Innovation and Development Grants

Innovation and Development Grants support research, development and innovation related to the enhancement of learning and teaching in higher education. A wide range of priority areas is covered including assessment, curriculum design, employability skills and improving institutional pathways across higher education. Indicative funding for 2015 is $5.5 million.

For more information visit the Office of Learning and Teaching website.

Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers Programme

Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers Programme is driving major improvement in the quality of training of teachers of mathematics and science.

The programme supports new pre-service programmes in which faculties of science, mathematics and education collaborate on course design and delivery. Content and teaching methodology are combined so that mathematics and science are taught as dynamic, forward-looking and collaborative human endeavours. Programme funding is $12 million over three calendar years from 2014 to 2016.

For more information visit the Office of Learning and Teaching website.​

Digital Careers

The Australian Government is providing funding of $6 million over four years to deliver the Digital Careers programme.

Digital Careers helps address Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills shortage and contributes to building a robust and sustainable ICT capability for Australia’s digital economy. The programme supports a national package of interactive resources and engaging activities for students in years 5 to 10 aimed at inspiring them to study ICT at school and then continue this interest at university and into the jobs of the future. It also provides professional development opportunities for ICT educators and information on ICT career opportunities for parents.

The programme aligns with the strategic objectives of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in preparing our workforce for the jobs of the future.

Digital Careers is delivered by National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA) with the support of a consortium of relevant industry associations, state and territory governments, research organisations and education providers.

Check out the great project ideas from Young ICT Explorers 2015 – [Video]

For more information visit the Digital Careers website or email

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