Top 5 Under 40

Are you a young scientist with a flair and passion for communicating your research?

UNSW and ABC RN have teamed up again for Top 5 Under 40, an exciting initiative to discover Australia's next generation of science communicators and give them a voice.

Applications are now open for outstanding early-career researchers under 40 who are working in Australian universities and research organisations across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical research.

Following this call out, the 10 most promising science communicators will be shortlisted for interview by a panel of judges. The winners will be announced on RN Breakfast in June.

In July, the Top 5 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.

Benefits of Top 5 Under 40

The Top 5 Under 40 initiative is now in its third successful year. Find out more about last year's winners on the RN website.

Two of the 2015 winners are involved in brand new ABC podcasts: astronomer Dr Amanda Bauer is a co-presenter of Cosmic Vertigo, a conversational podcast about the dizzying marvels of space science, while chemist Dr Alice Williamson is co-presenting Dear Science, a light-hearted show that digs up 'agony aunt' letters and tackles them again – with science. Both these podcasts are produced by the RN Science Unit and are launching in late March.

2017 Judging panel and ambassadors

The 2017 judging panel comprises Robyn Williams, presenter of RN's The Science Show, Professor Fiona Stanley, epidemiologist from the University of Western Australia and founding director of the Telethon Kids Institute, and Professor Merlin Crossley, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor and former Dean of Science.

The initiative is supported by Top 5 Under 40 Ambassadors Dr Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Emma Johnston, marine scientist and incoming Dean of Science at UNSW, Natasha Mitchell, science journalist and broadcaster at RN, and Associate Professor Alan Duffy, astrophysicist at Swinburne Institute of Technology.

"Through this exciting initiative we are giving a voice to some of Australia's extremely talented young scientists," said Robyn Williams. "Working with UNSW, RN is helping Australian researchers find a wider audience for their important and exciting work, through radio programs, podcasts and online features such as Cosmic, Vertigo and Dear Science."

UNSW's Professor Crossley said: "We're delighted to once again partner with RN to celebrate the country's up-and-coming researchers and help them communicate their newest ideas. More than ever before, we need these talented scientists to lead the way by contributing to society through their knowledge and expertise."

2017 Key dates and FAQs

Applications open: Friday 10 March
Applications close: Friday 21 April (midnight)
Judging panel for 10 shortlisted applicants: Tuesday 30 May
Top 5 winners announced: Thursday 8 June
Media residency at ABC RN in Sydney: Monday 3 July - Friday 14 July

Who can apply for the Top 5 under 40 program?
Top 5 Under 40 is open to early-career researchers working in Australian universities and research organisations across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical research. To be eligible for the scheme, you need to be under the age of 40 – see the online application form for full details of the entry criteria

If I am shortlisted, where will the interviews be conducted?
Up to 10 applicants will be shortlisted and interviewed by Skype.

Will support be provided for Top 5 winners who live outside of Sydney to take part in the two-week media residency at ABC RN's studios?
Yes. Any of the five winners based outside of Sydney will be eligible for travel, accommodation and expenses for the two-week residency in July.

For further information contact Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office,