The National Indigenous Science Education Program

The National Indigenous Science Education Program

Associate Professor Joanne Jamie from the Department of Molecular Joanne photoSciences is co-director of the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), along with Macquarie colleagues Dr Ian Jamie and Associate Professor Subra Vemulpad.

The National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) is aimed at fostering and developing the confidence and leadership potential of Indigenous youth, using science as an engagement tool.

NISEP started as a best ethical practice extension of bush medicine research undertaken by myself and Associate Professor Vemulpad, following Aboriginal Elders expressing concern to us about youth in their communities not completing their high school studies. Their simple request of asking “can you help us help our youth?” is what led to the establishment of NISEP and its primary focus being on Indigenous youth at secondary school level.

NISEP has developed into a consortium with school, community and university partnerships. It has also enhanced its sustainability through participation in the PACE program.

NISEP runs the Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern every year. This is an official part of National Science Week and the Sydney Science Festival, and is supported through an Inspiring Australia National Science Week grant.

The experience will culminate with the Family Science Fun Day, a free event for the public held at the Redfern Community Centre in August. Highlights will include yarning with Wiradjuri and Yaegl Elders on bush foods and medicines, making Aboriginal tools, learning about the science of ochre and Aboriginal astronomy, taking part in hands-on science shows led by Indigenous youth, and participating in maths puzzles, robotics activities, 3D printing and lots of other science and technology activities.

This annual event is a celebration of Western and Indigenous science in a fun and interactive way and is a unique opportunity for the public to learn more about traditional Indigenous knowledge directly from the custodians of that knowledge – the Aboriginal Elders.

In 2016, NISEP was chosen as one of 20 programs for PwC’s Australia-wide 21st Century Minds Accelerator Program, giving us the capacity to provide its benefits to more schools and communities. NISEP also won 2016 PwC Innovator of the Year award.

In 2018, NISEP was a runner up for the St George Foundation Inspire Grant, with $50,000 awarded to sustainably expand NISEP. It was also shortlisted for BHERT Community Engagement Award.

To learn more about NISEP, visit our website or join us on Facebook or YouTube.

The latest NISEP activities are summarised here.

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