Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

A Warrior for Science

Krystal Evans at the Discoveries Need Dollars rally in Melbourne.

Krystal Evans at the Discoveries Need Dollars rally in Melbourne.

By Stephen Lunyz

Krystal Evans took time from her own research to help save funding for medical science.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Australia had never seen it before: lab coats forming a sea of white as thousands of medical researchers gathered in protest. The largest rally, in Melbourne, was addressed by leading scientists, an MP, and people with genetic illnesses desperate for cures. But without the MC, Dr Krystal Evans, there might have been no rally and a lot less science funding in the Budget a month later.

The Discoveries Need Dollars (DND) campaign was launched from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) when rumours started circulating of a $400 million cut to medical research over 3 years (AS, May 2011, p.7). Scientists nationwide responded with petitions, media releases and by contacting their MPs, spurred on by social media.

However, by early April high-level leaks were suggesting it hadn’t been enough. The cuts would probably go ahead unless politicians’ minds could be changed within a week. “There was a real feeling of helplessness around WEHI,” says Evans. “People were saying: ‘We’ve done everything we thought we could do’.”

Evans was approached by the president of WEHI’s student society, David Riglar, about organising a rally. The pair tested the water with emails asking whether people would come. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Before a decision could be made messages had gone viral and Evans was being bombarded with emails from other research...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.