Record entries in 2019

The Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards has received a record number of entries this year - up 43% on last year to 86.

“Its been a wonderful experience for us to receive such an increase in interest by students and their teachers,” says Eureka! Trust Chair, Dr Russ Ballard.

“It’s going to be a great challenge to respond to at the regional competitions where the students present a six-minute summary version of the concept and plans they want the National Judges to mark them on at the National Finals on the 12th of September.

‘We have received entries from 21 secondary schools which are participating for the first time - which is just fantastic.

“57 of the entries are from secondary students and 29 from undergrad students. What this shows is that there are more and more students who are beginning to appreciate the huge importance of communicating to the community about the value STEM can deliver when it comes to the issues facing the planet today.”

Nonsuch Consulting Eureka! Video Awards

Consulting firm Nonsuch Consulting has jumped on board the Eureka! programme as naming rights sponsor of the video awards which will now be known as the Nonsuch Consulting Eureka! Video Awards.

Eureka! Trust Chair Dr Russ Ballard welcomed the new sponsors “its great to have a firm like Nonsuch Consulting involved. They recognise the value of effective communications about STEM and the importance of encouraging young New Zealanders to become engaged in talking knowledgably about the importance for New Zealand and the world of STEM subjects and projects.”

This year we will have two entry categories - Years 5 to 8 and then Years 9 to 13.

As in the past, schools will also receive a cash award if their videographers win the award. Thew expectation is the school will use the cash to further STEM education.

Enter the 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards

Enter the 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards

Undergrad and secondary school students have ten days left to submit their entries for the 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards. Competitors can take home a range of awards, scholarships and internships worth over $90,000, to meet other bright students and to connect with some of New Zealand's best organisations.

Eureka! Board welcomes two new Trustees

The Eureka! Trust is  delighted to welcome two new Trustees to the Board.

Debbie Chin is the former Chief Executive of the Capital and Coast District Health Board and is a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington. She completed her BCA in Accounting at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to her role at CCDHB, Debbie was Deputy Director General of Health from 1999-2007 and Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand from 2007-2013. Debbie brings valuable executive management and leadership skills.

Eureka! also welcomes on board Jennifer Palmer, who will to take up the Alumni Trustee position, which is nominated by the Eureka! alumni group. The role was previously filled Dr Evan Brenton-Rule, who has recently been awarded his PhD by Victoria University of Wellington and is working for the Ministry for Primary Industries. Jennifer was the first secondary school winner Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award in 2015 and also the first female winner  She is in her final year of studying for a BSc in neuroscience at Otago University.

Farewell Tim von Dadelszen


This month we are saying farewell to independent trustee Tim von Dadelszen and thanking him for his valuable contribution to the work of the Eureka! Trust.

Tim was appointed as a Trustee in April 2017 – when the Trust Deed was amended to allow the appointment of eight Trustees including two independent Trustees.  He brought his considerable expertise as an innovator, an entrepreneur and start-up business manager.  As a specialist in technology intensive enterprises Tim was a most valuable contributor around the Trust Board table.

An appointment to a new executive leadership position based in Auckland meant he couldn’t contribute to the work of the Eureka! Trust to the extent he felt necessary so he stands aside for another Trustee who replicates his skills and interests.  The Trust Board is seeking registrations of interest for the vacant position.

Stuff - Shalini's Science Box experiments lift lid on kid's curiosity

Picture Credit: Mark Taylor/Stuff

As a young girl, Shalini Guleria would look at milk heating on the stove and wonder why it took longer to boil than water.

Her curious nature caused her to ask questions about the world around her and eventually led her to study science at Waikato University. An inquiring mind is a trait she's hoping to kindle in children.

The 24-year-old recently set up Science Box, a collection of science experiments she takes to schools.

"All the experiments that I have in my box are basically things I've found at home. I use them to set challenges for the children and help them understand the science behind it," she said.

In one challenge, students are asked to clean a tarnished 10 cent coin using only a lemon. Students discover the citric acid in the lemon can remove the tarnish, whereas water alone can't.

After completing the challenges, students present their findings to their peers.

"In science, you need to be able to present ideas. Anyone can be a scientist, you just need to be curious about things around you. It's curiosity which makes you wonder why something happens rather than just accept the fact that it does."

Guleria's two-hour science sessions are free to any schools who want to host her. The sessions are aimed at children aged five to 10.

Eventually Guleria hopes to secure funding and expand her Science Box initiative by having other university students create science boxes and visit schools.

To date, she's visited two schools - Te Totara Primary School and St Peter Chanel Catholic School.

Guleria is currently studying toward a masters degree, focusing on tissue engineering for breast cancer research.

Her studies involve using commercially available cancer cells to create three dimensional models of breast cancer tumours. It's hoped her studies could lead to more effective treatments for women with breast cancer.

Prior to her masters study, Guleria tutored high school students in science.

"I seem to be able to connect to kids and the feedback from teachers has been really positive. I had one child who said he didn't like science but at the end he came and pulled on my white lab coat and said when he grows up he wants to be a scientist like me. That brought tears to my eyes."

Making a difference - Eureka! Alumni

Shalini Guleria first entered the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards in 2014 and then reprised her participation in 2015 and 2016.

Shalini is one of several alumni who epitomise what the Eureka! Trust is doing to identify and then support young science leaders.

She demonstrates the value of science in the community and also the need to communicate that value to a wider public.

Recently she produced a video which explains who she is and what it is that motivates her. We salute Shalini for her scientific endeavour and her commitment to spreading the message.

Here’s Shalini’s VIDEO about making a difference to the treatment of cancer