Offering engaging ways for students to gain understanding and skills in key areas identified within the Australian science curriculum.

Each year we:

  • choose a plant science or agricultural themed topic
  • provide students with hands-on experiments and activities to carry out in the classroom.

The topic and experiments relate to 'real-life' research projects and experiments carried out by scientists and staff at Hermitage Research Facility and/or the wider department.

We aim to:

  • stimulate an interest in science and agriculture in young people and promote agricultural science as a rewarding, long-term career choice
  • provide students an opportunity to interact with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries scientists and staff to learn about plant science research projects conducted at the Hermitage Research Facility and the wider department
  • encourage children to think about issues affecting the environment around them
  • familiarise students with the concept and interpretation of scientific experiments
  • foster an awareness of our department, industry and the community working together to develop young peoples' interest in science.

Curriculum links

The competition is designed with an awareness of Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) requirements.

The agricultural science-themed topics, experiments and activities link well with the science curriculum across the 3 strands:

  • Science inquiry
  • Science understanding
  • Science as a human endeavour.

Students develop further skills in:

  • scientific method and understanding
  • report writing
  • mathematics
  • English
  • teamwork and communication
  • art
  • technology.

Entries are also eligible for entry in state or territory Science Teachers Association Science Contests:

Our history

The Hermitage Research Facility is the oldest agricultural research facility in Queensland, commencing operations in 1897.

In 1997 the Hermitage Research Facility celebrated its centenary year. The competition was developed as an activity that schools could participate in to help celebrate our centenary year.

After the success of the first competition (which attracted approximately 20 schools from the Queensland Southern Downs region), we decided to offer the competition to schools every year. We now reach between 100 to 200 schools and approximately 4,000 students from across Australia annually.

Since 1997, over 120,000 students have participated in this competition, gaining a better understanding of the importance of agricultural science in improving our daily lives (sustainable food and fibre production) on a local, national and global level.

On an encouraging and exciting note, our competition is inspiring a new generation of enthusiastic and skilled young people who are keen to tackle 'big picture' issues and meet the rising employment demands of our rural industries.

Last updated: 30 Mar 2023