For National Science Week this year, we’re delighted to partner with Australia’s Science Channel to bring you ‘On the job!’—a video series showing a day in the life of seven Australian science support staff. We explore science behind the scenes to uncover and celebrate the fantastic work being done all around the country to keep Australia’s scientific progress moving.
Watch all our finalists' stories below.
As a chemist, Peter Thomas-Hall provides the primary technical support for a project that aims to collect, purify and identify specific chemicals in the search for new ways to safeguard the reef from crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks. In addition to this project, Peter has broad responsibilities in the AIMS chemistry laboratory: he assists with experiments, oversees health and safety practices, and looks after analytical instruments. He finds the variety and challenges his role brings exciting, especially contributing to planning and implementing unique ideas, and helping scientists analyse data or solve technical problems.
Vanessa Mollard set up and maintains Australia’s first malaria life cycle facility, which gives us the capacity to test malaria drugs, understand parasite mechanisms of resistance, and deliver a platform for drug screening and vaccine development for Australian and international collaborations. She delivers quality biomaterials to a large cohort of researchers, working with them toward a solution for one of the world’s major global health problems.
Patricia Gadd works in environmental science and helped establish Australia’s first micro X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) scanning facility. She helps academics, researchers and PhD students in a host of different work, from the study of lake sediments to the reconstruction of pollution history through the study of Razor Clams and Giant Clams. Patricia is passionate about her contribution to environmental science and has been a collaborative part of more than 25 publications.
Madeleine Flynn is a medical and scientific illustrator and graphic designer. She represents Australian scientists to the international professional community as well as promoting their research to the wider community. Madeleine supports scientists by visually representing their work in journals, grant applications, conferences and lectures with 2D illustrations. She also creates exciting 3D animations. Her role combines her visual talents with her love of science.
Duane is, by trade, a roof plumber. But amongst his colleagues he’s better known as the fix-it man extraordinaire, famous for his wacky inventions! Duane never believed he would one day contribute to life-saving research, but he works with scientists who are finding cures for deadly heart problems. Duane gains enormous gratification and enjoyment from contributing to something great. His larrikin and humorous nature means he is widely known and admired among the staff.
Nardia Bordas’s role as a university lab technician also includes outreach and marketing. It might seem a strange mix but she thrives on the variety: on one day Nardia might be preparing chemistry experiments for university students and operating and maintaining instruments and equipment, while on another day she’s organising workshops for school students or designing outreach activities. Nardia’s work supporting scientists-in-training and science outreach is making a significant contribution to the future of Australian science.
Matthew Bell joined ANSTO at 16—straight from school—and has been there more than 20 years. He’s developed a wide range of skills: from drafting, planning, machining, assembling small delicate items and aligning neutron guides, to constructing 10-tonne shielding. Matthew is motivated by having the opportunity every day to work on things that are important to him, and knowing what he does is contributing towards research that might one day influence a huge scientific discovery for mankind.
On the Job is a National Science Week event produced in partnership by the Australian Academy of Science and RiAus: Australia’s Science Channel. It is proudly supported by the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia initiative.
© 2017 Australian Academy of Science