The first Science Talent Search was conducted and sponsored by the Science Teachers Association of Victoria in 1952. A total of seventeen cash bursaries were awarded.
In 2018 the number of bursaries awarded was six hundred and fifty-one, sharing a pool of $36,425.
Still under the aegis of the STAV, the Science Talent Search now receives financial support from a wide variety of sponsors including universities, research institutes, commercial firms, not-for-profit groups like the Australian Skeptics, and an increasing number of private donors.
Three thousand four hundred and twenty-nine students participated in ten categories: Computer Programs, Games, Science Photography, Posters & Scientific Wall Charts, Working Models, Inventions, Experimental Research, Creative writing, Video Productions and Class Experimental Research Projects for primary students.
The Skeptical movement was again heavily represented in the sponsorship pool by the Australian Skeptics NSW and Victorian Branches, supported by Mordi Skeptics and several personal donations by members of those groups.
Much respect to Janice Teng and her dedicated team of volunteers, without whom this considerable annual celebration could not take place.
Pictured at right are Kristia Lam and Tharushi Walisinghe of Presbyterian Ladies College. Their bursary, for a game called Unlocking The Codes Of The Cosmos was one of three bearing the special tag “Australian Skeptics – In Memory of Mark Plummer“. Mark Plummer was a Victorian lawyer who co-founded the Australian Skeptics in the early 1980s, and we remember him annually in this way.
In the past we’ve shown letters from successful students thanking us for our help. I’m pleased to say that there are a lot of these every year, so it is probably repetitious to share them all. However, one letter caught my eye particularly this year. Here it is:
…… I would like to thank you for your support for students in Science.
I am incredibly grateful and feel extremely privileged to go on stage at La Trobe University to receive the minor bursary prize which you have very generously sponsored.
My entry was a computer program that I created…..on Scratch and it is all about the scientific discoveries and breakthroughs made by Australian Scientists.
I have high functioning Autism and come from a small rural school, _____ Primary School. It is because of supporters like yourself that allow students like me the opportunity to compete and succeed in Science, which is why your support means so very much, it is highly valued and very appreciated.
Due to your support, today I was able to show other students with disabilities that they too have the opportunity to succeed and with the support of others to help us, we can really shine.
Thank you so much for your support,
Grade 6 ______ Primary School.