Cooling Sydney Hack (closed)

The Australian Academy of Science
This challenge has closed.
Partners: Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia)
Fields of Research: Urban and Regional Planning
Tags: PhD, EMCR, Urban heat, Hack, Climate change, Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia), Australian Academy of Science
Audience: Students, Researchers
Anticipated Funding: $20,000
Applications to pitch close one: October 28, 2018
Last Updated: April 1, 2019 1:18 AM
Challenge image

The Challenge

Summers in the Greater Sydney area are becoming hotter every year. As heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and longer lasting Sydney’s inhabitants, its economies and ecosystems are increasingly at risk. Strategies to mitigate or reduce risks of urban heat are complex and require collaborative solutions.

The Hack will take place throughout the day and aims to be an incubator for innovative research and ideas that present solutions to issues associated with extreme heat across Sydney and its surrounding areas.

We want to hear your ideas

Collaborative teams working in research projects related to urban heat in Sydney and its surrounding areas are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in the Hack and pitch their research.

We are looking for submissions from collaborative teams across disciplines, between different institutions or sectors. Diverse teams are strongly encouraged to apply. Check the selection criteria for more details

Each team must select a team leader who will be responsible to submit the application and present in the Hack.The team leader must be an early- and mid-career researcher, or a PhD student in their final year, currently affiliated with an organisation in the Sydney region.

The Cooling Sydney Hack Organising Committee will select the most innovative submissions and invite the team leader to pitch their team’s idea on stage in 3 minutes in front of a panel of experts for the chance to win one of two seed grants, of up to $20,000, to support their research. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the application, please contact us at emcr@science.org.au. 

Eligibility Criteria

Who can apply to pitch in the Hack?

The Hack event has been designed as an opportunity for EMCRs to develop their leadership skills and thus all teams must be led by an EMCR currently working in Sydney or its surrounding areas. PhD students in their final year are also eligible to lead a team. 

An EMCR is defined as a researcher who received their PhD within the last 15 years (excluding any periods of career interruption), irrespective of their position or sector. 

EMCRs, and PhD students in their final year, from ALL disciplines based in Sydney or its surrounding areas, working on a collaborative research project (existing or anticipated) related to urban heat, can submit an application on behalf of their team. 

We strongly encourage applications from teams that include:

  • Students (including PhD, master, honours and undergraduate)
  • EMCRs from diverse disciplines (including STEM, Social Sciences and Humanities)
  • EMCRs working outside academia

The Team Leader must be affiliated an organisation in the Sydney region, but other team members can be based outside of Sydney. 

The team leader must be a member of the Australian Academy of Science's EMCR Forum. It is free to sign up as a member.

Please note that individual applications will not be considered.

Terms and conditions


Cooling Sydney Hack is supported by the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund. Through this support, two prizes of up to AUD 20,000 each will be awarded to the winners of the Hack competition, which will take place on 12 December 2018. Events supported by the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund follow the same guidelines as Australian Academy of Science events. Academy events support and promote diversity, equity of participation, intellectual freedom and excellence. As a condition of participating in the competition, participants accept the terms and conditions in the guidelines.


  • Teams must be represented by an early- or mid-career researcher (EMCR), or PhD student who is in their final year, who shall be the Team Leader. The Australian Academy of Science defines EMCRs as researchers who have received their PhD within the last 15 years, excluding any periods of career interruption.
  • The Team Leader must be affiliated with a Sydney-based organisation and located in the Sydney region, but team members can be based outside of Sydney.
  • Teams can be composed of individuals from diverse career stages.
  • The Team Leader will be responsible for submitting the application, preliminary and final reports.
  • Applying EMCRs must be a member of the EMCR Forum. It is free and easy to become one, you can sign up here.
  • Please note, applications submitted by individuals not part of a team will not be considered.
  • Funds can be used to finance activities or resources that directly support the proposed project or the professional development of the Awardee/s.

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria shall include:

  • Unique and/or innovative research concepts demonstrating creative ideas.
  • Potential for translation and collaboration
  • Potential to effectively address urban heat in Sydney and its surrounding areas
  • Understandable to wide audience (suitable for a pitch for philanthropic funding or cross-disciplinary collaboration).
  • Please note, the judges’ decision is final and correspondence will not be entered into.

Reporting and payment schedule

The granted funds are to be used within the 2018/19 financial year (ending 30 June 2019).

Funds will be transferred to the Team Leader’s affiliated organisation and will be managed and distributed under the organisation’s normal processes.

The Team Leader is responsible for the performance of the project and preparing all reports. An initial report detailing how the funds will be used to support the project, including preliminary outcomes, is to be submitted by 12 March 2019. A final report discussing how the funds have supported the work and the project outlook is due by 30 September 2019. The reports are to be submitted to emcr@science.org.au

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property created or developed while holding this grant shall be governed by the normal intellectual property policies of the affiliated organisation/s as applied to its students and staff.

Background of the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia)

The Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund was established with the purpose of furthering scientific discovery in the fields of medicine, science, technology and engineering*. The fund is made available by the Royal Society of London. 

If you have questions or concerns, please contact emcr@science.org.au for further information.

*Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) funds that support the pitch winner can be used to support work in any discipline or sector.

How to apply

Applications to pitch your idea can be found here.