National Youth Science Forum

In January 1984, the first Australian National Science Summer School was attended by 200 senior secondary school students. Convened in Canberra, it was the joint initiative of a number of Rotary clubs, the Canberra Development Board and a large number of scientific institutions around Australia. The purpose was to introduce the scientists of the future to Australia’s most distinguished scientists of the present and provide opportunities for participation in open and group discussions and forum sessions.
In 1996 the name of the program was changed to the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF). To maintain close links with New Zealand scientists of the future six students are selected each year from each country attend the summer school forum in the other country.
The target candidates are Year 11/12 science students who have shown outstanding potential in a field of science. There are over 200 positions each year for students from throughout Australia.

NYSF is unique in Australia.

Students during year 11 are selected to attend the NYSF the following year. They learn how to make informed decisions about courses and careers in the sciences and gain a professional skill set to help them realise their potential.

National Youth Science Forum  (

This program targets students who have finished year 11 and who have shown outstanding potential in a field of science. There are 432 positions each year for students from throughout Australia to attend 3 summer schools , two at the Australian National University in Canberra and one at Curtin University in Perth. The schools are held in January each year.

Application forms are sent to secondary schools in April each year from the NYSF office. The Rotary district committee will also contact schools at this time and former NYSF students will talk at schools. Prospective students will be encouraged to contact local Rotary clubs so clubs will start to receive enquiries from Year 11 students at this time.

Schools and students have been advised that their nomination(s) should reach Rotary clubs by 31st May. Clubs should then interview students and nominate them for District Interview if they possess the necessary qualities required by the program. Remember that applicants require leadership attributes, a well rounded suite of interests and activities as well as a notable interest in science.

The all-inclusive cost of the 12 day program is approximately $2400 and Rotary clubs are normally asked to help support up to 50% of this cost. To meet this cost, neighbouring clubs may wish to share the support for a student.

Applications must be received by the District Committee by 30 June on the forms supplied. A form needs to accompany every nomination as it later serves as a registration document for the selected students

District interviews will be held in July-August and an orientation for the successful students will take place generally in October. Rotary clubs sponsoring students should invite the student along to a few interesting Rotary weekly meetings so members and students can interact.

The Science Challenge

This program for year 11 students typically runs for a day during which teams of students from the various schools compete in carrying out science based projects typically one morning and one afternoon, but also an all day bridge building exercise, with the highlight of the day the bridge load carrying tests to destruction. Its a fun day with excellent instructive outcomes.  Clubs are asked to provide demonstrators to assist. Depending on the number of schools participating, two or more days of activity may be involved.