Diversity in STEM expert panel announced

The Albanese Government today announced the independent expert review panel for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review as well as the terms of reference.

The review is part of the Government’s commitment to boost diversity and increase the participation of women in Australia’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

The Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic announced the review earlier this year to determine how Government programs can better support diversity in Australia’s STEM sectors.

“It’s vital that Australians from all parts of the community have a chance to contribute to our ambitious scientific and technological agenda,” Minister Husic said.

Minister Husic said the expert panel brought a wide range of experience to the task and would contribute recommendations and guidance on improving diversity in STEM.

“The Pathway to Diversity in STEM review is about helping to create equal opportunities for women and historically under-represented groups to pursue education and careers in STEM, supporting them to unlock their full potential, and bolstering Australia’s STEM skills pipeline,” Minister Husic said.

“STEM communities that are diverse, inclusive and collaborative are crucial to meeting the challenges of the future and maximising the nation’s potential.

“It also makes good business sense: studies have found firms with diverse workforces perform better.”

Panel members are:

  • Ms Sally-Ann Williams will Chair the panel. Ms Williams is a leader in the technology and entrepreneurial space. She is well aware of the environment that women entrepreneurs face and the importance of diversity to the design of technology to ensure it is fit for purpose.
  • Dr Parwinder Kaur, an experienced biotechnologist, a passionate science communicator and an advocate for gender equity, working to close the gender gap in technology.
  • Ms Mikaela Jade, a proud Cabrogal woman of the Dharug-speaking nations, passionate about storytelling, technology and knowledge-sharing including the importance of diversity in STEM, particularly by including First Nations voices. 
  • Acting Deputy Secretary Narelle Luchetti will be the ex-officio member, who will bring experience in the Australian Public Service and public policy development, as well as implementation and process expertise to the review.

Minister Husic also announced the Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, has been reappointed for a further 12 months to November 2023. This will mean Professor Harvey-Smith can undertake important research to support the review.

“Professor Harvey-Smith will provide an important contribution to our next steps to improve diversity in STEM, which I know she is very passionate about,” Minister Husic said.

“She has been an excellent leader within the STEM sector and will continue to provide expert advice and advocate the case for change. 

“In doing so, she will continue to be a visible role model to encourage girls and women to enter STEM education and careers.”

Minister Husic made these announcements today at the Elevate: Boosting women in STEM event, at which 50 undergraduate and postgraduate STEM scholarships were awarded to women in STEM fields.

Funded by the Government and operated by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Elevate fosters more women-led collaborations in applied research and business, growing professional skills in STEM, and propelling more women into leadership.

The terms of reference for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review will be available at: www.industry.gov.au/stem-diversity  

More information on Elevate: Boosting women in STEM can be found at https://www.atse.org.au/career-pathways/elevate/  

More information on the Women in STEM Ambassador can be found at https://womeninstem.org.au/