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Denise Knight
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UNSW and ABC RN are inviting applications from outstanding early-career researchers, who are working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical research, for Top 5 under 40, an exciting initiative to discover a new generation of science thinkers and give them a voice.

Following a nationwide call out, the 10 most promising science communicators will be shortlisted for interview by a panel of judges. The Top 5 winners will undertake a two-week media residency in Sydney at RN, the ABC’s national ideas network, supported by UNSW, one of Australia's leading universities.

Said Dr Amber Beavis, a 2015 Top 5 under 40 winner: “I’ve recently started in a new job as Senior Researcher in the Office of Australia's Chief Scientist. It's a dream job for a science communicator: I’m able to provide high-level advice to inform science policy, and to champion Australian science. It’s a privilege! I think a great deal of the credit for my successful transition from research scientist to science communicator has to go to the Top 5 under 40 program”.

Biophysicist Dr Matt Baker said the Top 5 under 40 scheme gave him a valuable insight into how to achieve greater impact for his research outcomes. And the timing couldn’t have been better. Now at UNSW’s Single Molecule Science Centre as a postdoctoral researcher, Matt has just had his first Nature Structure paper published. “I am always thinking about how to communicate and translate the exciting discoveries around me.” 

The 2016 judging panel comprises: Robyn Williams, presenter of RN's The Science Show; Professor Fiona Stanley (UWA); and Professor Merlin Crossley (UNSW). The program is supported by ambassadors Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia's Chief Scientist; Professor Emma Johnston, marine ecologist at UNSW; and Natasha Mitchell, journalist and broadcaster at RN.

“We love discovering new voices on The Science Show and after the success of the inaugural Top 5 under 40 in 2015 - which attracted outstanding responses from across Australia - we’re thrilled to be back,” says Robyn Williams. “Through this partnership with UNSW, RN wants to help our talented and young Australian researchers find a wider audience for their important and exciting work through radio programs and online features.”

“Australia needs to support the work of its young scientists - we need them more than ever to help find research-led solutions for many of our global challenges,” says Professor Les Field, UNSW’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science. “We’re excited to once again partner with RN to raise the profile of the country’s excellent researchers and help them communicate their vital ideas.”