The 2011 Gold Coast Science Fair presented an important opportunity to nurture an interest in science and technology.

Griffith University professor of chemistry Richard John believes the Gold Coast Science Fair at the weekend had a significant part to play in the development of young scientists.

“An event like this, and also Griffith University’s Science on the GO! outreach program, represent some of the few opportunities for people to expose themselves to informal learning in science,” Associate Professor John said.

Students and scientists from Griffith University were prominent at the Gold Coast Science Fair, involving a range of hands-on activities and exciting demonstrations that opened minds — young and old — to the world of scientific and technological advancements.

“It’s important to recognise the economic drivers for the future of Australia will emerge from this sector.

“It’s vital we turn future students and their parents towards the world of science, and drive that knowledge economy forward.

“The Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia but it has no museum, no zoo, no hands-on science centre.”

Science educators from the region were also recognised last week at the Gold Coast Schools Science Trivia challenge hosted by Griffith University’s Science on the GO! program.

Chris Kern, Principal of Coombabah State High School, and the EXSCITE teaching team at Helensvale State High School were the joint recipients of the inaugural Science on the GO! – McIlwain Award.

The award recognises outstanding performances by teachers of science and those who contribute to raising awareness of the importance of science education.

The 2011 Gold Coast Science Fair was officially launched at Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics on Friday night.

The event was hosted by Professor Sue Berners-Price, Pro Vic Chancellor, Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology Group, Griffith University and included an address by Dr Geoff Garrett, Chief Scientist for Queensland.

An initiative of the Gold Coast City Council, the weekend celebration of science encouraged participation in innovative technology for the entire community.

It also outlined the exciting and rewarding career pathways a life in science offers.

Griffith’s Science behind the Fun series was on show, as were the latest innovations being explored in coastal management, climate change, dentistry and environmental health at Griffith University.

The Go Griffith Go Health education ambulance was in place for the weekend, while the popular Trivia with Griffith quiz was back.

The Science on the GO! team presented its hands-on science show on Saturday.

A crowd in excess of 15,000 attended the Fair which is a key activity in the Gold Coast City Council’s TechGC program.