A close-up of a sample slide placed under a microscope in a laboratory

Science and Innovation

National Science Week at the NFSA and online: Exploring Innovation

Celebrating National Science Week
 Stephen Groenewegen

Celebrate National Science Week wherever you are located, with these online offerings from our collection.

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology and the theme this year is innovation.

Read on to watch stories from our collection about spray-on skin to treat burn victims, conservation efforts for critically endangered wombats, the biosecurity risk posed by fire ants, and the ethics of drone technology.

And if you're in Canberra, be sure to check out our monthly series of FREE screenings in our Art Deco cinema, SCIENCE. ART. FILM.


Stories from our collection

View these stories from our collection, specially curated around the National Science Week theme of innovation.


Spray-On Skin

In 2005, Dr Fiona Wood was named Australian of the Year for developing an innovative treatment for burn victims.

In this clip, she describes the 'lightbulb moment' that led to her delivering skin cells as an aerosol to the surface, a technique that was critical in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings:

Dr Fiona Wood's skin treatment for burns. Australian of the Year Awards, 2005. Courtesy: Network Ten. NFSA title: 716434

Since it was developed, Dr Wood's innovation has been used to treat 15,000 patients in more than 30 countries, according to a 2022 report in the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2022, Rachel Griffiths played Dr Wood in the limited series Bali 2002 (directed by Peter Andrikidis and Katrina Irawati Graham).

Plus: see inside Melbourne's Alfred Hospital as it looked in 1931 - including a look behind the scenes at the facilities, the 'latest scientific methods’ used in medical research, and the use of special diets to aid in the treatment of certain diseases.


Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Conservation

This news story from 2023 outlines part of ongoing conservation efforts in Queensland to protect and increase numbers of the critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat:

New habitat for the northern hairy-nosed wombat. Ten News First, Perth, 3 March 2023. Courtesy: Network Ten. NFSA title: 1705607

The largest and rarest of wombat species, the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) requires a year-round supply of grass for its diet and deep sandy soil to dig burrows linked by up to 90 metres of tunnel.

There are now three protected colonies of northern hairy-nosed wombats in Queensland, and conservation projects have been estimated to have increased their numbers from as low as 35 in the 1980s to over 300 now.

Plus: get an astonishingly close-up look at a red kangaroo joey embryo. This clip comes from a 1965 CSIRO documentary that won prizes for its intimate camerawork.


Fire Ant Biosecurity

From conservation to eradication, this story covers efforts to contain fire ants in an area of suburban Queensland. The stinging fire ants, part of the genus Solenopsis, pose a threat not just to agriculture but pets and children:

Fire ants wreak havoc in Brisbane. Seven News Brisbane, 2 February 2023. Courtesy: Seven Network. NFSA title: 1704684

The report mentions a range of eradication strategies including reporting, distributing free non-toxic baits and employing the use of specially trained fire ant sniffer dogs.

Plus: this 1968 advertisement takes a different approach to containing another invasive and opportunistic ant pest. Watch Trapper Tom (played by Barry Crocker) offer a $10 reward and a badge to kids who help track down Argentine ants.


Drones For Good?

This 2022 news report uses a visit to the World of Drones and Robotics Congress in Brisbane as an opportunity to highlight some of the innovative uses of drone technology in emergency response situations:


World of Drones and Robotics Congress, Brisbane. Ten News First, Perth, 14 November 2022. Courtesy: Network Ten. NFSA title: 1698290

According to Dr Catherine Ball from the Australian National University, Australia ranks number one in the world for the non-military use of drones. The report also touches on the ethics of drones and the risk of cybercrime undermining trust in the technology.

Plus: meet the world's most advanced humanoid robot, 2006 edition. Beyond Tomorrow reporter Hayden Turner visits Japan to spend time with ASIMO, noted for its 'advanced mobility' and being able to run at a speed of 6 km per hour.



Screening monthly for FREE at Arc Cinema, SCIENCE. ART. FILM. is a series that uncovers wacky, weird and wonderful facets of science and art in films. 

Films screen in discussion with artists and ANU scholars from different disciplines. Films screening in the second half of 2023 include Blade Runner: The Director's Cut (1982), Sound of Metal (2019), Total Recall (1990), Batman & Robin (1997) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).

Presented by the National Film and Sound Archive, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and ANU Humanities Research Centre.


This content was originally published for National Science Week 2023.


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