Leadership & Management

Women’s leadership in STEM elevated with over $40 million investment

Health Industry Hub | January 24, 2022 |
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Leadership & Management: The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has been named the sole implementing partner for the Australian Government’s 7-year $41.2 million Boosting the Next Generation of Women in STEM fund.

Awarded $41.2 million, the transformational program named Elevate, will award up to 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The program aims to address gender inequities in STEM through fostering more women-led industry-academia collaborations in applied research and business, growing skills of women in STEM and by propelling women into senior leadership.

ATSE and its partners will co-design a high-quality program spanning industry, academia and government to upskill women with STEM qualifications, research, and business expertise, so they can lead and shape a dynamic and impactful Australian STEM sector.

Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, said “While progress is being made, girls and women continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics employment areas. These WISE grants and the scholarships will help boost the numbers of girls and women in this growing sector.

“It’s also important that we see more women in leadership and decision-making positions, and the WISE program is designed with this in mind. 

“The Scholarships program will also focus on increasing cooperation between researchers, industry and students.”

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ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said the program will be a game-changer for creating a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant STEM ecosystem that can attract, retain and progress girls and 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.

“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.

“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.

“Our goal is to immerse these trailblasing 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,” said Walker.

The Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith welcomed the announcements.

“With a renewed emphasis on programs that target lasting change to policies, procedures, attitudes and behaviours, the WISE grants will help create the system-wide change our nation needs to attract, retain and progress women in the STEM sector,” Professor Harvey-Smith said.  

“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. 

“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.” 

The Elevate program will complement ATSE’s existing three high-profile STEM career pathway initiatives:

  • IMNIS: Industry Mentoring Network in STEM, an award-winning industry engagement, mentoring and internships initiative which will be integrated with the Elevate program
  • STELR: a schools-based, hands-on STEM education program
  • CS in Schools: a world-class digital technology education program linking classrooms with industry.

“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,” said Walker.

“ATSE was a delivery partner for the Women in STEM Decadal Plan, is the inaugural co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee of the International Council of the Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), and co-established the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative.

“We look forward to bringing our extensive experience in championing women’s empowerment and gender equality in STEM together with our robust suite of programs dedicated to shaping the future of Australian STEM careers”, said Walker.

Elevate will be administered and delivered by ATSE as the lead organisation working with a diverse consortium of partners from industry and academia including ATSE’s 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.

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