Soapbox Science 2020 Sydney

New, exciting online format for Soapbox Science Sydney 2020, more information to follow soon!

We are excited to showcase the amazing and varied research that is carried out in Sydney, and Australia, to the general public and to encourage more people to engage with STEMM subjects and topics.

The timing couldn’t be better for Sydney’s first event as the last few years have seen Australian institutions undertake a massive effort to address gender equity and diversity in STEMM subjects. This is highlighted by several institutes being accredited Bronze status by the Athena Swan Program in late 2018.

The organising committee, led by Laura McCaughey, come from both science and engineering backgrounds and cover a range of research disciplines, including microbiology, neuroscience, forensic science and biomedical engineering. Despite their diverse research interests, all of the committee members are passionate about promoting women in STEMM subjects and in inspiring younger generations to engage with and pursue STEMM topics. 

COVID update:

We are monitoring the current COVID19 situation and will update the website with any changes including a change of format, cancellation or postponement.


Organising committee information

  • Laura McCaughey (Team leader) @LauraCMcCaughey , Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Microbiology, University of Technology Sydney & University of Oxford
  • Amy Bottomley, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Microbiology, University of Technology Sydney
  • Xanthe Spindler, @dr_xanthe , Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney
  • Euan McCaughey, @EuanMcCaughey , NHMRC Early Career Fellow in Sensation, Movement, Balance & Falls, Neuroscience Research Australia & Conjoint Lecturer, University of New South Wales
    NHMRC Early Career Fellow


Ms Elham Gholizadeh (@GholizadehElham), University of New South Wales, Sydney, “Changing light to improve solar cells efficiency “

Dr Jennifer Matthews (@tinyscientist), University of Technology Sydney, “Coral matchmaking for a resilient reef”

Dr Holly Tootell (@drhollyt), University of Wollongong, “Preschoolers views on technology design: thinking like a child”

Dr Cyndi Shannon Weickert, Neuroscience Research Australia, “On the Road to Curing Schizophrenia”

Dr Jody Moller (Morgan) (@DrJodyMorgan), University of Wollongong, “What’s in a pill? How pill-testing works and why it’s important”

Miss Hannah Law (@hannahrosielaw), University of New South Wales, Sydney, “Training your immune system to work smarter and not harder”

Miss Utkarshaa Varshney (@utkarshaavarshn), University of New South Wales, Sydney, “Solar Cells: It is all about the toppings”

Dr Melinda Waterman (@mel_waterman), University of Wollongong, “BryoFight Club: how mosses can live in Antarctica”

Dr Natalie Matosin (@postmortemgirl), University of Wollongong, “Studying the brains of the dead to understand what goes wrong in mental illness”

Ms Nisharnthi Duggan (@nishaduggan), The University of Sydney, “How flies and spiders could help us cure stroke.”

Julianna Kadar (@jpkadar), Macquarie University, “Fitbits for sharks: How do we study sharks in the ocean?”

Associate Professor Michelle Harvey (@MaggotsMatter), Deakin University, “Kings of Slime and Grime: Why maggots are our new Best Friends”

Sponsor Information

We are grateful to our sponsors, without which our event could not bring fantastic researchers to the public.

Host Institute

UTS Faculty of Science

UTS Science is committed to providing current students a strong foundation in STEM with world-class teaching, purpose-built facilities and industry-standard equipment. For future students we run a number of outreach programs to inspire, motivate and build interest in STEM – with real world, hands on workshops. Our diverse faculty and academic staff contribute towards UTS’s broader goals of inclusivity such as the Athena Swan charter.

Twitter: @UTS_Science, @UTSEngage

Gold Sponsors


The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) is building quantum machines that harness the full spectrum of quantum physics. EQUS researchers are based at five universities around the nation. They are solving challenging research problems at the interface of basic quantum physics and engineering, and working with partners in industry to translate these research discoveries into practical devices.  

Twitter: @ARC_EQUS


At the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, we are excited about the possibilities of transforming light into energy and energy into light.  We are a collaboration of academia and industry focused on innovative research to improve solar energy technology, lighting and security systems.

Twitter: @excitonscience

Silver Sponsors

University of Wollongong

UOW was founded on the donations of local people who had a vision of a brighter future for our region. Since then, we have acted in partnership with our communities to not only make an impact in the Illawarra, but to address society’s critical economic, environmental, social and medical challenges.

Our ambition for our graduates is that they will be ethical, agile thinkers who are competitive in a global economy. And that their experiences at UOW will shape their sense of self as well as their future career.

Twitter: @UOW

Other sponsors

Property NSW is responsible for the management of a number of public domain areas including The Rocks & Darling Harbour. Property NSW is contributing to our event by providing a fantastic location for this event to take place as well as promoting our event on the website.