Best Is in The West’: WA Schools Sweep National Science Week Hackathon Awards


Students from St John Bosco College and Kent Street High School took out first and second place in ANSTO’s National Science Week hackathon.

The hackathon brought together secondary school students from schools across Australia for a week of science engagement and excitement, as part of National Science Week.

This year’s hackathon was based on the National Science Week theme of ‘Food: Different by Design’. In addition to competing to solve science problems and come up with new, practical ways to improve food production and agriculture, this year the students connected with 73 mentors from industry.

Students from St John Bosco College defeated scores of exemplary student-scientists across the country to win the Junior Competition (Years 7-8) by focusing on fighting Food Waste.

ANSTO’s National Education and Engagement Manager Rod Dowler said the team from St John Bosco College was an outstanding performer.

“The judges were impressed not only that the kids showed scientific skill beyond their years, but how they also sought the endorsement of their local Federal MP on the design,” Mr Dowler said.

“That’s some first-class science stakeholder management right there! The St John Bosco College team displayed all the hallmarks of science success: identifying a problem, drafting a solution, creating a computer model through Minecraft, and obtaining stakeholder support.”

ANSTO Senior Physicist Dr Mitra Safavi-Naeini, herself a winner of last year’s NASA Global Hackathon beating some of the world’s leading scientists, said the St John Bosco College students not only exhibited true innovation, but also outstanding computer skills. “Congratulations on the St John Bosco College team for creating a truly eco-friendly, sustainable solution to food waste through design, awareness and gaining Government support.”

“When promoting new, ecologically sustainable solutions for the future, it’s essential to embrace new technological methods to drive change,” Dr Safavi-Naeini said. “The fact the students were able to utilise Minecraft to design their solution exhibited wisdom beyond their years. Thinking like this is what will help us find sustainable solutions and thrive in the future.

Coming in a close second in the Senior Competition (9-11) was Kent Street High School with their innovatively designed ‘Octoposter’ compost machine for tackling food waste.