Science Action

Three Western University students have traded in their lab coats for cameras for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s annual Science, Action! initiative.

Christian Riel, director of communications at NSERC, says the annual research video contest, which offers a grand prize of $3,500, aims to highlight Canadian post-secondary students' research and innovation. As part of the contest, students submit 60-second video entries on a research topic of their choice. The public will vote for their favourite video out of 75 candidates, and the 25 most viewed videos will be submitted to a judging panel on March 2.

“There is so much great research that goes unnoticed on campuses, and we wanted to bring these stories to Canadians in a way that is fun and accessible. Science, Action! challenges students to find new ways of explaining complex research so that anyone from kids to grandparents can understand,” said Riel.

Dean Evans, a masters candidate in biology, created a video to teach Canadians about the barn swallow, an endangered bird species. His research uses tracking technology to determine whether species decline is caused by juvenile survival or other factors.

“It helps the public see what publicly funded science looks, and it gives people an idea of what scientists are doing behind the scenes,” said Evans.

Jake Reeves, a mechanical engineering PhD candidate, is one of the top 75 selections. His video focuses on joint implants, and his hope is that his research can help improve our understanding of how implants work.

“We naturally think that if you are putting a steal hip in somebody, it will be a lot better than a bone hip because steal is stronger, but there's a dissociation between what we understand about it and what actually happens,” said Reeves.

Reeves said that if he were to win the grand prize, he would use the money to produce further videos showcasing his research.

Thalia Standish, a chemistry student, is also representing Western at Science, Action! Her video examines the effectiveness of using copper and steel for isolating used nuclear material.

Voting is open from Feb. 6 to March 2. The public can watch all the submissions on NSERC's website.   


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