Seeing the spark of wonder that comes from sharing our science is an amazing feeling. Inspiring the scientists of tomorrow is essential

Education and Outreach


We believe that creating positive public dialogue about science is important. To engage the wider community, the Centre has created a number of targeted education, training and outreach programs, which have visited schools, farmers, teachers, universities, science museums, field days, careers festivals and even pubs. We want to give our fellow Australians a better understanding of the importance of plants and their amazing ability to capture, process and convert energy.

As well as programs for school students and outreach programs for the community, Centre researchers share their insights and knowledge with undergraduate students in lectures and laboratories.

Education News

Outreach Highlight - Bio-Bounce events getting great feedback!

Image: UWA Open Day

The "BIO-BOUNCE" program was designed to increase public understanding of what genes are and how they contribute to crop yield and plant survival. This year, Bio-Bounce has seen over 10,000 members of the public. A European study (Ambivalent GM Nation, 2003) and corresponding US study (Public Perceptions of Genetically Modified Foods, 2003), showed that only 36% and 57% respectively of the general public could correctly identify that both genetically modified and regular tomatoes contained genes.

Combined BIO-BOUNCE feedback from UWA Open day and Bunbury South West Science Spectacular showed 100% enjoyment, 95% correctly identified genes were present in all plants and 48% were MORE interested in science after the Bio-Bounce experience. Visitors also commented on their delight in having access to scientists in a relaxed forum, breaking down barriers to dialogue. Needless to say, we are delighted with this result!

Outreach Highlight - Bio-Bounce at Floriade Flower Festival!

Image: The Giant Plant Cell

If you have ever looked at flowers and wondered how on earth they work, why not pop into the giant plant cell at Floriade in October? Nestled beautifully between the tulips in Kids Corner, Bio-Bounce will show "kids" of all ages how plant cells work, how they contribute to crop production, how plants get the energy to flower and why plant research is important. Stop by between the 4-6th of October to check us out in Canberra!

Visit the Floriade page here.

Outreach Highlight - Pollination Exhibition Premieres at Q

Image: Boris Baer

After seeing nearly 70,000 visitors at WA's Scitech, our wonderful science photography exhibition "Pollination; All's Fair in Love and War" has premiered at the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra. We are very excited that our exhibition will be showcased at Quesatcon until the 23rd of October this year. Visit the Quesatcon page here.

Outreach Highlight - Launch of Bio-Bounce, the Giant Inflatable Plant Cell

Image: Ron D'Raine

After two years of brainstorming, development and testing, Bio-Bounce - the giant inflatable plant cell is finally ready to unleash! Designed as an educational tool to help the community better understand plant cells and plant biology research, Bio-Bounce will be making its debut at Darling Harbour on the 24th of June! Stay tuned for teacher resources and community activities. More on our news page.

Outreach Highlight - Pollination Exhibition Premieres at Scitech

Image: Ruedi Wittwer

Our newest science photography exhibition titled "Pollination; All's Fair in Love and War" has premiered at WA's science museum in Perth. The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) have teamed up to explore the wonderful relationship between plants and their greatest fans: their pollinators. The stories on display range from mutually beneficial relationships to outright trickery and sexual deception. If plants could talk, they would have some incredible stories to tell. The exhibition will be on display at Scitech until July. Visit the Scitech page here.

Outreach Highlight - Science is Amazing on Facebook!

Outreach Facebook Page

Now with over 8,000 followers, the Science is Amazing Facebook page is continuing to gather momentum. Established as a joint science communication venture between ARC Plant Energy Biology and ICRAR, the page has continued to grow since its inception during National Science Week in August in 2012. With the tagline: from plants to planets, we really want to get people involved in the amazing science that our organisations are undertaking. "Its a great way for our scientists to practice their science communication and establish a presence for their research in the community," said Science Communications Officer Alice Trend. Visit the Facebook page here.

Outreach Highlight - Science Posters for National Science Week

Picture of the Posters In Situ

Did you know that Uranus contains fart gases? That Australia's wheat feeds 100 million people a year? Or that the inside of a cell looks strangely like an image from outer space? All these facts and more will be on display on the back of toilet doors across Perth and Darwin leading up to National Science Week in August this year. These science posters aim to inspire people towards a curiosity and amazement about science, all in the comfort of their own cubicle. This initiative is supported by the Australian Government and The University of Western Australia as part of National Science Week. To download the posters for your own cubicle, visit the teacher resources page.

Outreach Highlight - Fascinating Plants!

Fascinating Plants

Fascinating Plants are a series of images and stories from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology & collaborators. The images and text in this document are permitted for use in the promotion of Fascination of Plants Day and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

Outreach Highlight - Secrets of a Tiny Powerplant Wins!

National Youth Science Forum

Plant Energy Biology's "Secrets of a Tiny Powerplant" photography exhibition has won the Australian Science Communicators National Conference "Science as Art" prize. The Science-As-Art exhibition showcased over 30 examples of science visualisation created by scientists and science communicators around Australia. As part of the prize, two of our fantastic images are featured in the March/April issue of Science Illustrated Magazine. On sale now!

Education Highlight - Albany Science Awareness Festival

National Youth Science Forum

Tegan Armarego-Marriott and Alice Trend gave the students of Albany a fun, but fairly messy insight into the world of a plant energy biology at the Science Awareness Festival in March. Over 2 days, hundreds of school students and community members extracted DNA from strawberries, pondered genetics and made a tiny garden to take home, which allowed them to experiment with plant growth and respiration in the comfort of their own homes!

Education highlight - National Youth Science Forum

National Youth Science Forum

National Youth Science Forum (WA) brings together 44 Year 12 science students from around Australia. Sandra Tanz and Alice Trend led a Get into Genes program, rated 5/5 by all students, who plated seeds, extracted DNA, used restriction enzymes and made a DNA fingerprint.

Tertiary Education Highlight - Three Teaching Awards For Gonzalo Estavillo

Three Teaching Awards For Gonzalo Estavillo

To cap off Dr Gonzalo Estavillo's 2010 ANU Vice Chancellor's Excellence in teaching award, his collaborative "Plant Detectives" program has been awarded a 2011 Australian Award for University Teaching by the Australian Teaching and Learning Council (Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning). In addition to this award, the Australian Society of Plant Scientists has also honoured Gonzalo's education efforts with a Teaching Award for contributions to teaching plant science at an undergraduate level. And if this wasn't enough, Gonzalo has also been given a 2011 ACT Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

Dr Estavillo commented that he wanted to use real investigative plant science to inspire students. "Our students have really enjoyed getting hands-on, and obtaining actual scientific results. This is a rare experience for undergraduates - but an important one to keep them inspired."

Outreach Highlight - National Science Week Family Science Spectacular at CSIRO Discovery Centre

National Science Week

Wearing their eye-catching green aprons, Education Officer Rebecca Harper and six other members of PEB's ANU node spent a busy three days interacting with the public. Visitors to the stall performed around 900 strawberry DNA extractions and made 600 Lilliputian Garden Necklaces. The Lilliputian Garden Necklaces proved to be extremely popular with younger visitors to the stall, who enjoyed the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant their own miniature garden.