WISE investment in Australian women in STEM

Encouraging young indigenous women to consider STEM-based careers is the focus of three programs that have received funding under the latest round of the Morrison Government’s Women In STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program.

The CSIRO (QLD) has received $248,804 to provide training to indigenous women and rangers in how to use data and artificial intelligence applications to better manage their traditional lands. The program helps to build digital skills and literacy and opens up new job opportunities.

Food Futures Company (NSW) has received $250,000 to help Indigenous women get a start in the native ag+food sector. This rapidly growing sector presents significant entrepreneurship and STEM career opportunities through the merger of ancient knowledge with modern science.

Young Change Agents Limited (NSW) has received $250,000 for its ‘Lighting the Spark’ project, which will deliver design-focused entrepreneurial workshops to 600 Indigenous girls and young women aged 14-24 across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said a diverse science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) qualified workforce was essential for Australia’s growth and future economy.

“STEM is the key to unlocking our future. From manufacturing to medicines, construction to computing; all of it relies on a cutting edge STEM workforce,” Minister Porter said. 

“By increasing participation from women and girls, including those in traditionally underrepresented groups, we are powering up Australia’s ability to stay at the forefront of new discoveries, breakthrough technologies, and global progress.”

The WISE program supports projects that break down barriers that prevent girls and women getting into STEM education and careers. This includes providing women with the skills and tools they need to start their own businesses.

Under the WISE program, a total of eight organisations shared in nearly $2 million to boost the representation of women in STEM, including:

  • Workforce Plus (VIC) will receive $236,600 for its ‘Change Makers of Gippsland’ project. The project will recruit young women and girls to develop solutions for real STEM problems and entrepreneurship challenges.

  • The Creative Cooperative (VIC) will receive $250,000 for its ‘Anyone Can’ project. This will drive gender equity by enhancing visibility of successful women of colour entrepreneurs, and delivering education programs to support women and girls of colour to enter STEM studies and careers.

  • Robogals Ltd (ACT) will receive $249,400 to deliver a comprehensive capability-building program to support primary school teachers to engage and inspire young girls in engineering, IT and related digital technologies.

  • Engineers Without Borders Australia Ltd (VIC) will receive $249,231 for its “Engineers Without Borders Futur-neer” outreach program. The funding will help to promote engineering as a values aligned, socio-technical profession to bring more diversity to the workforce.

  • University of Canberra (ACT) will receive $243,656 for its Biomechanics Research & Innovation Challenge, which links 100 high school girls from diverse backgrounds with 25 young female bio-mechanists. Through the program, they will have 100 days to develop practical solutions to real-world problems using biomechanics.

The WISE program has provided $9.95 million in funding to date for projects across every state and territory. Applications for round four of the program are expected to open in early 2022. 

Further information on the WISE grants program and recipients is available at: https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/women-in-stem-and-entrepreneurship/women-in-stem-and-entrepreneurship-grant-recipients