June 26, 2015


Who Are We?

The ACHSC is a youth-led, not-for-profit organisation with a mission to empower young people to make a meaningful contribution towards realising a world free of cancer.

Since our establishment in 2015, ACHSC has grown from an initial team of 7 ambitious undergraduate students to a team of over 30 passionate and driven volunteers, united by a common belief in the capacity for young people to create real change in the cancer space.

What Do We Do?

ACHSC currently runs two initiatives:

  1. High School Cancer Challenge
  2. High School Cancer Masterclasses (HSCM)

In 2019, ACHSC will be introducing a third initiative targeted at university students: University Cancer Case Competition (UCCC).

High School Cancer Challenge 

The High School Cancer Challenge was developed in 2016 after seeing a need to create a platform for high school students to learn about cancer. The idea was to introduce a competition, much like the Australian Mathematics Competition, the Australian Science Olympiads, or the International Brain Bee, that can act as an impetus for students to discover more about a disease which is likely to impact each and every one of them either directly or indirectly at some point in their lives.

In collaboration with the University of Melbourne, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Gene Technology Access Centre, we authored an extensive syllabus on cancer pitched at a high school student level, which we subsequently based our competition paper on. In 2016 and 2017, the competition paper was administered on a day packed with:

  • Guest presentations from world-renowned cancer researchers (including such figures as Professor Suzanne Cory, Professor David Vaux, and Professor Andrew Roberts)
  • Laboratory tours of the facilities at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
  • Networking sessions with PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and laboratory heads
  • Informal conversations with breast cancer survivors from Breast Cancer Network Australia

The top-performing students in the competition were offered a week-long research internship at one of our partner research institutes, including the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

In 2018, the High School Cancer Challenge will be divided into two independent but related components:

  1. High School Cancer Symposium (HSCS)
  2. High School Cancer Competition (HSCC)

The Symposium will be held on Thursday, 20 September 2018 at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and will feature all the activities that have traditionally been delivered on competition day. For more information, click the link above.

The Competition will be held on Friday, 21 September 2018 at the campus of each participating school. The Competition is a multiple-choice question paper for year 10 students. For more information about the HSCC, click the link above.

High School Cancer Masterclasses (HSCM)

The High School Cancer Masterclasses (HSCM) is a new initiative introduced in 2018 as part of an effort to integrate cancer into the high school science curriculum. It will send high-achieving university students well-acquainted with the ACHSC syllabus out to secondary schools across the state to assist high school students in learning the basics of cancer biology, treatment, and prevention.