The new government-funded program providing 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to help women in STEM re-enter the workforce, seek higher qualifications and develop senior leadership skills, will be provided by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
The ATSE is set to receive $41.2 million over seven years to manage and deliver the program, titled ‘Elevate’, to address gender inequities in STEM by fostering more women-led industry-academia collaborations in applied research and business, growing skills of women in STEM and encouraging women into senior leadership.
ATSE will join various groups and stakeholders to identify sectors with the highest potential to support future growth industries.
ATSE’s CEO Kylie Walker believes the program will be a game-changer for creating a diverse and inclusive STEM ecosystem that will attract and retain women into STEM education and careers.
“The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is delighted to partner with the Australian Government in implementing this game-changing and STEM workforce culture-shaping program,” Walker said in a statement.
“Elevate is designed around three pillars – education and impact designed and led by women; skills building, supported by mentoring and networking; and leadership to increase the influence and profile of women in STEM.”
ATSE will partner with Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS), Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN), Cooperative Research Australia, Cicada Innovations, FB Rice, DMTC Limited, Gemaker, Women in Leadership Development Program (WILD), Women in STEMM Australia (WiSA) and Science & Technology Australia to deliver the program.
“As well as supporting a strong, thriving cohort of future women leaders and role models to enter and excel in Australian STEM jobs, Elevate will nurture a collaborative and innovative economy-building culture between Australian universities and Australian industry,” Walker continued.
“Our goal is to immerse these trailblazing scholars in an expansive network of influential and inclusive research and industry leaders who will inspire and cultivate their future careers. We are thrilled to support their journey.”
“The Academy is ideally positioned to implement this transformational program given its track record of nurturing a diverse and inclusive STEM sector and its strong connections between academia, industry and government.”
A statement released by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources explained that this round of Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants will offer $13 million in total funding support — making it the largest amount of funding to date, with grants of $500,000 to $1 million available for each grantee.
“Achieving full and equal opportunities for women and girls in STEM is our ongoing commitment,” the statement read.
“During the process, ATSE will actively engage with a consortium of strategic partners representing large, medium and small STEM employers, applied STEM universities and organisations with deep expertise across Australia’s STEM ecosystem.”
Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, said that while progress is being made, “…girls and women continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics employment areas.”
“These grants and the scholarships will help boost the numbers of girls and women in this growing sector,” Minister Price said.
“We’ve seen throughout the COVID pandemic just how important the STEM sector is to protecting Australians, which is why the Morrison Government is committed to increasing women’s participation in this essential and growing field.”
“It’s also important that we see more women in leadership and decision-making positions, and the program is designed with this in mind.”
“The scholarships program will also focus on increasing cooperation between researchers, industry and students.”
The Ambassador for Women in STEM, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith welcomed the news of the grants, saying in a statement that they would help create the system-wide change our nation needs to attract, retain and progress women in the STEM sector.
“The Government’s focus on programs that are already running and have proven effective through evaluation means we are investing in initiatives that can show evidence of their success,” Professor Harvey-Smith said.
“By upscaling such programs, the impact across the nation can be even greater.”
“Alongside WISE, industry scholarships will support the progression and retention of women, creating a pipeline of women STEM leaders.”
More information about these programs and grants can be found here.