Science & Technology Australia has once again begun a nationwide search for Australia’s next constellation of Superstars of STEM, the government-backed initiative to advance gender equity by raising the profiles of women in science and tech.
The program is open to women and non-binary STEM professionals, with 60 more to be chosen in this round. Since 2017, it has mentored 150 Superstars, including Nicole Russo, Director of Product at spacetech startup Myriota.
Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert said the program tangibly helped diverse young Australians to see themselves in science and technology careers.
“It’s really hard to be what you can’t see. Women are around half the Australian population – and yet are seriously under-represented in STEM careers and leadership, and, at last count, only one in three experts talking about science in the media were women,” she said.
“To fix the visibility challenges, we need to create even more diverse role models who are household names appearing regularly in the media as science experts and authorities.”
Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic said the government is committed to supporting programs that helpe women in STEM develop the skills to confidently communicate their research and be recognised for their work.
“Australia needs to draw on the full diversity of our talent pool to deliver the next huge science and technology breakthroughs and galvanise STEM gender equity to strengthen our skilled workforce,” he said.
Superstar of STEM Dr Cayt Rowe, a STEM research leader with Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) in the Department of Defence, said visible role models matter.
“In its first few years, the Superstars of STEM program has started to powerfully boost the visibility of Australian women in science,” she said.
“It’s shown how building a media profile can turbo-charge careers, helping to secure leadership roles.”
The next 60 Superstars of STEM will participate in the program for two years, starting in January 2023. Applications details are here and close on Sunday, August 14.