Science collaboration inspires the next generation

Minister Pyne building flying cups over a wind table with three students and two men in suits

As the Innovation Factory – Invent and Play exhibition draws to a close, Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre and its partners are celebrating a successful scientific collaboration.

The Innovation Factory exhibition, supported by Questacon’s major partner Raytheon and the University of South Australia, has showcased the value of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to the community.

Students from Playford International College helped mark the end of the exhibition today by demonstrating their flying machines created from strips of paper, masking tape and paper cups.

Questacon’s Director of Science and Learning Dr Stuart Kohlhagen said the exhibition was designed to take visitors “back to the basics” of technology and use simple ideas to create ingenious inventions.

“Nearly 4000 visitors have filed through the exhibition doors since December, with all getting the opportunity to use everyday machines found at home, school or the workplace to challenge the idea that the high-tech electronics are the most important technologies in our lives,” Dr Kohlhagen said.

Innovation Factory comprises 18 hands-on exhibits which encourage visitors to experiment with simple machines – gears, cams, leavers, pulleys, pneumatics, wheels or electric circuits – to discover how these simple machines can be used to create ingenious inventions.

Innovation Factory provides us with the opportunity to tell the story of systems integration – how different machines work together to achieve innovative things. As the country's largest and most successful combat systems integrator, it's not just what we do at Raytheon Australia it is who we are. It is part of our DNA and our hope is that through this engaging experience we can help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and create even more lifelong careers here in Adelaide.

Bringing this exhibition to South Australia also demonstrates our commitment to play our part to respond to the Prime Minister's call to ensure our children develop skills in science, technology, engineering and maths, and that they know the language of the machines that will drive technology in the future," said Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the exhibition had been a great success, proving that young people’s curiosity about science and how it underpins how the world works is high.

“We’ve been delighted and encouraged by the success of the exhibition at City West,” Prof Lloyd said.  We need to support the development of innovative minds by making sure that their engagement with science is always enjoyable.

“The Questacon exhibition has done just that and our goal for UniSA’s new SciCEd studio— set for completion on North Terrace in 2018—is that it will offer a permanent public space to engage curious and creative minds.”

Attending the event, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, announced three initiatives to provide opportunities for Australians to be involved in science research projects.

Innovation Factory closes this Wednesday 17 February 2016 at the UniSA City West campus, in Adelaide.

Media contact:

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science 02 6213 6308 or