UNSW Science congratulates the eight student-led projects that were awarded funding.  These small grants were open to individual students, clubs and societies with priority areas ranging from student wellbeing to promoting a sense of belonging.

A panel of both students and staff assessed the applications to ensure they promoted the values of equity, diversity and inclusion, along with considering the scalability and sustainability of the proposal.

The following projects will commence over the next few months and will continue into next year. 

Project Mind | Mental Health Program Development Competition

UNSW Psychology Society, UNSW Student Minds – School of Psychology

Project Mind is a new initiative in which students from across UNSW team up to launch their own mental health project. They will receive training through in-person workshops and mentorship from clinical psychologists and industry professionals over 4 weeks.

Students will be briefed on pre-existing initiatives available at UNSW, learn how to write a proposal and deliver an effective pitch. Experienced mentors will also guide students to refine their ideas for the duration of the program. Additionally, students will receive the opportunity to meet, learn and work with other individuals who also possess an interest in enhancing health and wellbeing within the UNSW community. All students will receive a UNSW ‘Project Mind’ LinkedIn Badge upon completion of the program.

These weekly workshops will culminate in a final pitch night where each group will receive the opportunity to present their idea in front of a panel of judges. Groups with the most feasible and impactful ideas will have the opportunity to implement their projects. That way, participants will be able to see the tangible impact their idea has on students at UNSW. 


Monthly Challenge

Potential collaboration includes Science Student Societies.

Monthly Challenge is a monthly competition open to all students in Faculty of Science who have an interest in science, innovation and want to work on real-world challenges. The program is designed to build student confidence by applying their academic knowledge to practical problems, help students discover career possibilities and join a support group of the likeminded students .

Students can form their own team with no entry requirement to enter the competition. A new challenge topic will be released each month via Website or email (for connected participants) with a topic brief, instructions and advice from inspiring professionals. Participants will receive an opportunity to design the upcoming challenge topic; exclusive career guidance from experienced students; and monthly inspiration delivered to their emails.

The winning entries will be announced at the end of the month and will receive a monetary prize of $150, 100 and 50 for the first, second and third place respectively, a month-long mentorship by current science students at UNSW or industry experts, and a feature of their project in the UNSW Science Newsletter.


The SAMS Podcast

The Students of Advanced Mathematics and Science (SAMS)- Faculty-wide initiative

This is an exciting new project that we are undertaking to inspire younger students to discover where they can head with their studies and careers, particularly first year students who have yet to choose their science major and also third year students heading into Honours. The SAMS podcast aims to improve student experience by sharing the stories of a diverse range of students and alumni from UNSW. The podcast itself will be pre-recorded and shared with our audience via our social media channels in an Apple/Spotify podcast format.

We found from talking to SAMS members that, although there is information about Honours provided throughout their degrees, many express uncertainty about future careers, how to get into research, what opportunities are available and how they can reach out to supervisors.

Our first series (currently being edited) brings first-hand perspectives from students in different science schools (eg: Material Science/Civil Engineering and Chemistry/Physics). The main topics that are explored revolve around the different academic majors, tips and advice for undergraduate study and insights from prospective and current honour students. To ensure inclusivity and diversity, we are interviewing students from a range of academic and cultural backgrounds. In the future, we aim to extend our reach to UNSW staff and alumni from academia and industry.


Datathon 2021

Data Science Society of UNSW - School of Mathematics and Statistics

The project is the 2nd in a series of annual datathons held by the UNSW Data Science Society in conjunction with the UNSW Mathematics and Statistics School. A datathon is a problem-solving case provided to students to generate solutions to real world problems. These solutions are backed by data and extensive research, and open to students of all backgrounds who have an interest in data analytics/data science.

The problem for this year is COVID-19 and its relationship with specific countries social values. We will be looking at whether or not there is a correlation between these two factors using data. Last year (2019), our question looked at the importance of certain signs and symptoms in order to predict the likelihood of cardiovascular problems. Each year, we strive to look at a different problem across the Science Faculty. Our primary sponsor Atlassian will be leading this datathon, and we have mentors and judges from different companies and from within UNSW who are experts in the field - whether this is data visualisation, data cleaning modelling etc. We would like this project to be accessible to all, and the aim is to bring the community together (students/industry professionals/UNSW staff) whilst also giving students an opportunity to do a data related project that is relevant to today’s environment.


Untold Stories: Glimpse into Unexpected Insights from Science

Somesh Khullar- Faculty-wide initiative

This project will involve a science communication competition in which students are encouraged to share a piece of knowledge the learnt from their science courses and how this how this has been either:

  • useful in contexts outside the classrooms.
  • gave them insight into something that is relevant to them

For example 

  • student might talk about learning mitochondria coming from their mothers in BABS1201 and that gave them inspiration for a mother’s card
  • student might communicate how learning about optical illusions in PSYC2071, gave them appreciation of alternate ways of viewing the world

Communications would be in video format uploaded to social media channel. The competition would run from start to end of term with prizes for best communication.


Refurbishment of the UNSW Physics Society Common Room

UNSW Physics Society- School of Physics

The Physics Society Common room is a communal space for use by undergraduate and postgraduate physics students studying at UNSW. The room functions as a communal workspace and breakout space including communal computers and a small kitchenette including a microwave and fridge. Much of this equipment is old and outdated, including the kitchen appliances (fridge and microwave), meaning the space is often an uncomfortable facility to use rather than key social hub.

In this project we aim to replace,

  • the microwave
  • the Fridge

By doing so the Physics Common Room making it more usable and inviting to members of the UNSW Physics student community and providing a space for the key student experiences of socialisation with peers and collaborative learning.


InterSociety Sports Day

BabSoc, PsychSoc, OptomSoc, MedSoc, SciSoc, ExPhysSoc, WISSoc, PhySoc – a Faculty-wide initiative

To start the year with a blast, UNSW Medical Science Society, along with several other faculty societies would like to present an Interfaculty Sports Day. Along with societies competing against each other, students can participate in mixed teams with members from other societies to build more diverse relationships. This all-day sports event aims to promote new friendships between different cohorts, especially for the incoming first years, general health and wellbeing, and overall fun. Sports we are hoping to include are: oztag, soccer, dodgeball, volleyball, SUMO Wrestling (inflatable suits and external hiring), Bubble Soccer (external hiring), and Society vs Society Tug of War.

As the day progresses with many victories and losses, participants will be fuelled as food and refreshments will be provided to keep the energy up. Prizes will also be available for the winning participants, and bragging rights for the winning society in the tug of war competition.

The event will consider equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure all students could have access to the event. It will also be dependent upon COVID restrictions in T1, 2021.


Women in Science Peer Support Program UNSW

Georgia Brouner – Executive Events Coordinator – Women in Science Society (Student) and Jessica Luquin - Team Lead Peer Support- UNSW Student Experience Team (Professional Staff Member – a Faculty-wide initiative

The Women in Science Peer Support Program aims to nurture and support women both in undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. This mentorship program will provide a way for women to feel supported while completing their STEM degree, allowing them to build confidence and feel capable as they progress into STEM focused careers, that have been traditionally perceived as male-dominated.

Whilst the Women in Science Peer Support Program primarily targets women in STEM, we are inclusive and open to all schools and disciplines within and related to the Science faculty. Furthermore, WISSOC is aware that gender is not binary and is a firm advocate for gender diversity. Thus, the program will be open to non-binary and male-identifying individuals as both mentors and mentees. The program will not only allow First-year undergraduate students to be mentored but additionally engage women in stages two and above. This will ensure all students connect with a student mentor who is at least one year further in their education and therefore able to offer guidance.

This program will run annually in T2 and T3 as a support program to assist students commencing university later in the year and/or missed any Peer Support programs running in T1.