Soils for Science citizen science project

citizen looking through soil with magnifying glass.

Possibly the weirdest but coolest holiday activity suggestion we are ever going to make! 

The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience is calling on Queensland kids to get messy to help discover backyard bacteria — with its Soils for Science citizen science project! The project aims to unearth new antibiotics in backyards, gardens and farms across the state! 

To support children to get involved in the Australia first citizen science project, UQ is giving FREE KITS to all kids to participate.  

Did you know?

  • Deaths due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Australia are higher today than a decade ago;
  • A 2016 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance calculated that without new antibiotics, by 2050 there could be up to 10 million deaths per year from antimicrobial-resistant infections;
  • By getting Queenslanders to help us collect samples from every corner of the state, they can fast-track the discovery of vital new antibiotics!

How you can help 

soil gathering in a forest.

Soils for Science seeks to enlist Queenslanders to collect 100,000 soil samples from across the state, and Queenslanders can order free soil sampling kits with pre-paid return postage from the Soils for Science website. 

Why they need your help

Soils for Science Project Manager Dr Zeinab Khalil said society urgently needs new antibiotics to treat an alarming surge in drug-resistant bacterial and fungal infections.  

“Without safe and effective antibiotics, modern medicine is at risk of being set back over 100 years to a time when even a simple scratch could kill you if it became infected,” Dr Khalil said. 

“Antibiotics make possible many medical procedures we take for granted – caesarean sections, hip replacements, and the treatment of seemingly simple ear, eye, nose and throat infections.

What will happen with your soil sample

soil sample bag.

IMB scientists will process these soil samples to harvest and study the incredible diversity of microbes, including bacteria and fungi, hidden within and search for the next antibiotic. All Queenslanders can visit the online Soils for Science image gallery to view close-up images of these microbes, and citizen scientists who return kits will receive a link to high-resolution images of their samples. 

It’s a race against the clock, but Soils for Science will bring together the public and scientists, to solve a common problem – to deliver new and improved antibiotics to safeguard future generations. IMB harnesses the natural world to deliver the next generation of medicines, and is Australia’s leading research institute in the Nature Index, a global ranking of high-quality research output. 

Get your kids out into the backyard this Easter school holidays and order your sample kit today from Soils for Science


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