Scholarships and fellowships to support women in science

Wednesday, 06 December, 2023

Scholarships and fellowships to support women in science

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has announced 116 scholarships to help women and diverse people thrive in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, as part of the second round of the $41.2 million Elevate: Boosting women in STEM program.

Funded by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Elevate has the goal of awarding up to 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to women and non-binary people in STEM. The latest cohort includes 14 additional undergraduate scholarships under a new partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), which aims to develop the urgently needed diverse STEM skills to support Australia’s growing science and defence workforce needs amid the current STEM skills shortage.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said she is thrilled to see the Elevate program grow from strength to strength, with more than 1200 applications this year demonstrating the massive demand from Australian women who are looking to study STEM as a fulfilling career path.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Defence Science and Technology Group to support even more women and diverse people to join the STEM workforce and contribute to building the opportunities of our STEM-fuelled future,” she said.

As well as the financial support, extensive skills development, mentoring and peer networking available to all Elevate scholars, the 14 Defence-funded scholarships also provide access to tours, workshops and panels taking place around the country, and invite-only DSTG networking events.

Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, said there is a growing need for diverse experiences and views in shaping Australia’s defence capabilities, with Defence aiming for a 50% target for women’s participation across key research and innovation career pathways.

“We’re proud to partner with ATSE to fund new undergraduate scholarships through the Elevate program, enabling women and diverse people to start a fulfilling career and deliver innovative technology solutions to give our ADF the edge,” Monro said.

Set to commence their studies in 2024, the latest Elevate scholars include 116 women and diverse people studying across 26 universities across Australia, exploring an exciting range of science disciplines including cybersecurity, nuclear engineering and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative has recently honoured the achievements of five female scientists from Australia and New Zealand at a ceremony in Sydney. These exceptional women in the early stages of their careers were each granted a prestigious fellowship and valuable funding to help further important research.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the program, which has since 1998 been celebrating and empowering female scientists worldwide — including 4100 globally and 65 locally. This year’s five fellows are as follows:

  • Dr Renata Borovica-Gajic, from The University of Melbourne, is focused on solving data management problems when storing, accessing and processing massive datasets, enabling faster, more predictable and cheaper data analysis as a result.
  • Dr Deborah Burnett, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, is researching why certain immune triggers result in the production of particular antibodies.
  • Dr Anna Trigos, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, is focused on understanding the dynamics of cancer ecosystems based on evolutionary principles, using a combination of single-cell-omics technologies and spatial platforms.
  • Dr Lucia Romani, from the Kirby Institute, is leading research in developing countries to reduce the burden of infectious diseases endemic in communities of the Pacific region.
  • Dr Georgia Grant, from GNS Science, is a climate researcher whose work is actively contributing to a healthier future for New Zealand.

Further to the five local nominees, L’Oréal-UNESCO has announced Professor Lidia Morawska from the Queensland University of Technology as a laureate for the prestigious 2023 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Program. Morawska was recognised at the awards ceremony in Paris earlier this year for her outstanding contributions to scientific research in the field of air pollution and its impact on human health and the environment, where she received €100,000 ($165,000) to further her research.

“Through awarding our 2023 fellows, we aim to continue breaking down gender barriers within STEM and inspire younger generations of women to pursue their curiosity and ambitions within the field,” said Marnie Carroll, Chief Corporate Affairs & Engagement Officer at L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand.

Image caption: The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellows — Renata Borovica-Gajic, Georgia Grant, Lucia Romani, Anna Trigos and Deborah Burnett.

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