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Science Class



Founded by Prof. Hala Zreiqat AM

The vision for BIOTech Futures started almost 10 years ago, when Prof. Hala Zreiqat journeyed half-way across the world to share her research with high school students at the King’s Academy and the International Academy Amman in her native Jordan. It was there that she realised that one of the greatest gifts of research was not only to impart knowledge and wisdom to the community, but to inspire the future leaders of tomorrow.



Led by a dynamic team of undergraduates and early-career researchers in collaboration with high school teachers and students, as well as research centres around Australia, this initiative aims to bring together scientific minds both young and old to tackle the biggest challenges across all disciplines of biotechnology.

Since then, Prof. Zreiqat has been passionately involved in all sorts of activities to bring the excitement of research to high school students - from keynote talks to inviting students to work in her research laboratory, until finally, her vision of a wide-reaching program connecting high school students with academics came to fruition in 2019. The Bioengineering Innovation Outreach (BIO) Challenge, which was launched as an initiative of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative BioEngineering, was a hugely successful event, attracting over 200 students at NSW high schools and linking them with over 50 academics at the University of Sydney to develop technologies capable of solving current challenges in the field of medicine. The enormous success led to the expansion and evolution of the BIO Challenge into BIOTech Futures.


By connecting students and researchers, we hope to provide invaluable opportunities to inspire, and to be inspired. Through this initiative, we hope to facilitate the passing of the torch to the next generation, to take those sparks of interest and turn them into flames that forge a bright path to the future.

It’s easy to get lost when you first step into the world of science. So much is unknown, and there are limitless possibilities in every direction. Mentors are the guiding lights that show us the way; it is from them that we gain knowledge and wisdom, as we learn from their successes- and their mistakes. They are the ones that show us opportunities where we can pursue our curiosities to the fullest and they give us the tools to act on them (after all, inspiration is what drives innovation).

But spending time with our mentors isn’t just an opportunity to learn, it’s also an opportunity to teach. Creativity, a willingness to take risks and a hint of rebellion – it is through these that a student can provide fresh new perspectives that those bogged down by research doctrine may not have considered. In fact, the introduction of new radical ideas by young minds has been behind some of the greatest scientific discoveries in the last century. Einstein was only 26 when he published his four ground-breaking papers in 1905. Chandrasekar, who unravelled some of the greatest mysteries of astronomy, made his key findings as a nineteen-year-old. Watson, Crick and Franklin were only in their mid-twenties and thirties when they made the key discoveries that revealed the structure of DNA. It’s so often that it’s the students that lead the way, and in turn, open exciting new avenues to motivate and inspire their mentors.


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