Honouring Australia’s top STEM students and educators

By Tilly Brooks

18 February 2020

3 minute read

BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020

BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020.

Meet Australia’s next generation of STEM talent. These impressive students and teachers are leading the way in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research and innovation.

The BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards are a partnership between CSIRO, BHP Foundation and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). The Awards featured an impressive line-up of Australia’s best STEM talent, including teachers and school-aged researchers and innovators, set to excel in their careers and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Students undertook an independent experimental investigation or engineering project. Finalists headed to Melbourne for a four-day, intensive, science camp. The camp included touring research facilities and visiting science outreach institutions. Students and educators participated in science communication and commercialisation workshops, then submitted the final presentation of their projects for judging.

The future is STEM

Finalists represented Australia’s top STEM students and educators, and a diverse range of projects. Being selected as one of 26 finalists from around the country is a major achievement. Projects included developing artificial bone, a bin that took itself out on rubbish day, and a mapping system that beat Google in creating safer driving routes. Amazing!

Our Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the award winners’ and finalists’ ideas could help all Australians seize opportunities in our rapidly changing future.

“The world is changing faster than humans can keep up with, but science, technology, engineering and maths can solve these challenges and guide us to a better future through innovation,” Larry said.

“Around three quarters of all future jobs will need STEM, and we’re absolutely committed to helping school students develop these skills so they can turn science into solutions that better shape Australia’s future.”

The Engineering Award: Ethan Tjhin and Gokulraj Kuppusamy

Ethan Tjhin from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW. BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020.

Ethan Tjhin from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW.

Gokulraj Kuppusamy from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW. BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020.

Gokulraj Kuppusamy from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW.

Ethan and Gokulraj created Methane on Wheels – a portable biodigestor. The tool is a cost effective and efficient biodigestor that processes organic waste. It harnesses the methane gas and repurposes it as a cooking gas. This gas is less harmful on the environment than carbon dioxide.

The Investigations Award: Edward Garth

Edward Garth from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW. BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020.

Edward Garth from Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, NSW.

Edward developed a mathematical algorithm to create local driving routes that are not only quicker, but more reliable and safer for the driver and passenger. He tested and trialled his algorithm over a four-month period. It proved faster than other mapping apps, including Google. (ahem #impressive)

The Innovator to Market: Nyheemah Cox

Nyheemah Cox from Christian Aboriginal Parent Directed School in Kalgoorlie, WA. BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards 2020.

Nyheemah Cox from Christian Aboriginal Parent Directed School in Kalgoorlie, WA.

Nyheemah’s winning project focused on the healing properties of Indigenous remedies. She set out to test and validate the efficacy of three different bush plants. With this research, Nyheemah demonstrated the value of natural medicine. These bush plants will treat minor ailments, especially in remote communities with limited access to medical supplies.

Six of the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Award finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their research alongside students from 75 countries at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the USA. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!