Up to $250,000 is available for activities that support girls and women in STEM and entrepreneurship (WISE).
Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE)
The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) is part of the ‘Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM’ element of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. It aims to:
- support women in STEM
- remove barriers that stop women taking part in STEM education and careers, including entrepreneurship.
The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) programme also provides funding to identify and celebrate STEM role models in science and research, entrepreneurship and corporate leadership to inspire school-age girls.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) encompasses a wide range of study, research and work. It includes physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, biology, agriculture, environmental studies, information and communications technologies, engineering, mathematics and their many related fields.
There are persistent challenges in attracting and retaining girls and women in STEM studies and careers, including entrepreneurship. This is shown by low and declining female enrolments in science and mathematics at school, persistent underrepresentation of women in IT and engineering courses at universities, and a low proportion of women in senior and leadership positions in research organisations. Women comprise over half the science PhD graduates and early career researchers in some fields but only 17 per cent of the senior academics in Australian universities and research institutes.
Supporting girls and women in STEM and entrepreneurship (WISE) is not just about increasing the number of female students in STEM fields or the number of firms owned by women, but also about raising their performance and capabilities to grow those and fulfil their potential. Addressing the barriers to women’s participation in STEM and entrepreneurship studies and careers will improve women’s overall workforce participation and help drive cultural change including increased innovation.
The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) objectives are to:
- increase awareness and participation of girls and women in STEM and entrepreneurship education and careers, including in schools through to university and to the research sector
- increase participation of girls and women in other parts of the innovation ecosystem including innovative businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurial activities and careers
- stimulate an increase in the number of women in senior leadership and decision making positions in government, research organisations, industry and businesses.
Given the complex nature of the challenges this programme is intended to address, it is likely that significant and measurable outcomes can only be delivered over the medium to long term.
Grant funding per project is $5,000 to $250,000. Two application rounds are expected per year.
To be eligible for the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) programme your project must:
- include eligible activities and eligible expenditure
- have at least $5,000 in total eligible expenditure
- take no longer than 24 months to complete
- be aimed at addressing discrimination against or inequality for girls and women in STEM and entrepreneurship by:
- increasing awareness and participation of girls and women in STEM and/or entrepreneurship education and careers, including in schools through to university and the research sector; or
- increasing participation of girls and women in other parts of the innovation ecosystem including innovative businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurial activities and careers; or
- stimulating an increase in the number of women in senior leadership and decision making positions in government, research organisations, industry and businesses.
Eligible Activities & Expenditure
Eligible activities must directly relate to the project and can include:
- developing and delivering workshops, conferences, networking events and other forums (including travel costs of up to 10 per cent of total project costs for key participants such as keynote speakers or role models)
- developing and delivering education and professional development activities including courses and training
- developing and distributing educational materials, curriculum content, toolkits or similar activities
- developing and delivering change management programmes and industry transformation activities
- research activities directly in support of the activities above.
The WISE Programme Delegate may also approve other activities.
Grant funds must be eligible expenditure directly related to the project. Eligible expenditure can include:
- salaries for staff and direct salary and on-costs for personnel directly employed for the project activities (on a pro-rata basis relative to their time commitment)
- contractor costs
- costs of developing and delivering in workshops, conferences, networking events and other forums (including travel costs for key participants)
- costs of developing and delivering education and professional development activities including courses and training
- costs of developing and distributing educational materials, curriculum content, toolkits or similar
- costs associated with industry transformation activities for a particular sector
- research costs to help support the project outcomes
- communication and promotional costs directly related to the project
- staff training costs including personal development courses and attending conferences, where the expenditure directly supports the achievement of project outcomes
- costs of international travel for bringing experts into Australia of up to 10% of eligible expenditure. The Programme Delegate may consider requests for an increased funding cap for international travel if they consider the expenditure is within the objectives of the programme
- workshops in support of the activities, knowledge transfer and capability development.
Other specific expenditures may be eligible as determined by the Programme Delegate.
To be eligible for the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) programme you must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be one of the following:
- an entity incorporated in Australia
- a Publicly Funded Research Organisation (PFRO) as defined in Appendix A, or
- a not for profit organisation.
Joint applications from consortia are acceptable, provided you have a principal applicant who is the main driver of the project and is eligible as per the list above.
In order to be eligible you must provide evidence from the principal applicant’s governing or managing Board (or support from the owner or Chief Executive Officer or equivalent if there is no Board) that the project is supported, and that the applicant(s) can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by grant funding.
Applications close 15 November 2017.
WISE Recent Recipients
Girl Geek Academy awarded $250,000
To run a program that trains teachers to deliver computer and algorithmic thinking, software development and coding, with a focus on girls aged five to eight.
Florey Neuroscience Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne awarded $250,000
To address barriers to leadership opportunities through its Women in Science Parkville Precinct project, which represents over 4000 scientists across five of Australia’s largest medical research institutes.
SBE Australia in Sydney awarded $250,000
For an accelerator program for women in STEM to seize entrepreneurial opportunities.
The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in Melbourne awarded $250,000
To produce a video series profiling women role models in STEM that will be integrated into one of its programs and be used to inspire girls to pursue these sectors.
James Cook University in Queensland awarded $249,075
For the She Flies Drone Camps, where female high school students and teachers will learn about the possibilities of working in, flying and coding for drones over a series of camps.
The University of Southern Queensland in Darling Heights awarded $248,167
For the Women in Rural Enterprises program aimed at driving entrepreneurship amongst women in rural, regional and remote Queensland.
Peopleplan in Sydney awarded $244,000
For a joint program with Young Change Agents that delivers social entrepreneurship programs to young people. The grant will be used to engage teachers through digital learning and establish youth incubators for teenage girls in regional Queensland and the Northern Territory.
CBR Innovation Network in Canberra awarded $240,000
To create an extracurricular school program taking students in the city and surrounding regional areas through a 10-week course in STEM and entrepreneurial skills and careers with direct exposure to inspiring leaders in this space. The program will be run on a quarterly basis over two years.
The University of Wollongong in New South Wales (NSW) awarded $194,844
To lead a five-day STEM festival that will bring together 2500 students and speakers, who are primarily women scientists, to inspire young people, especially girls, to pursue STEM.
The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering in Sydney awarded $192,000
For a STEM and entrepreneurship program that uses video interviews with successful STEM students, professional and personal development courses, as well as entrepreneurship events to tackle gender inequity in STEM.
The Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies in Canberra awarded $178,500
For “Superstars of STEM”, a project that will provide media training to 30 women working in STEM fields so they can become influential public spokespersons and role models. It will also create networking and mentoring opportunities.
Subsea Energy Australia in Perth awarded $174,840
To increase the participation of women in subsea engineering through the delivery of workshops, networking opportunities, education materials and development programs.
Women in Technology WA in Western Australia awarded $119,254
For a high school incursion program for students in years nine and 10 called Techtrails, which focuses on the importance of positive role modelling of women in STEM to all genders.
Education Changemakers in Melbourne awarded $112,500
For a program to drive up the number of female tertiary enrolments in rural areas. The course will focus on 30 women teachers and educators in regional towns, who will receive tools, coaching, mentoring and case studies to implement new initiatives for change.
RMIT University in Melbourne awarded $99,680
To run a high school program for girls in years seven to nine that provides STEM-related mentoring, workshops and hands-on experience.
Resource Industry Network Co-Op in Queensland awarded $86,600
To help increase representation of women in STEM through a multifaceted project delivering toolkits, coaching, leadership groups and strategies to transform social attitudes and workplace culture.
The Royal Institute of Australia in Adelaide awarded $80,000
To create a sub-channel on Australia’s Science Channel dedicated to content about women in STEM that will be marketed to general and school-specific audiences.
Geelong Manufacturing Council in regional Victoria awarded $75,000
For a project that backs and promotes women in manufacturing and engineering as the sector transitions into one that’s more advanced and high-skilled.
Murdoch University in Western Australia awarded $58,300
To host Showcase Days featuring inspirational and influential women in STEM for Perth schoolgirls in years eight to 10.
Gold West Apprenticeships in Queensland awarded $55,441
For its Engineering Girls on the Downs program, which will provide engineering traineeships to six high schoolgirls in Darling Downs. Graduates will get a nationally recognised certificate II in Engineering, which will open the door to engineering apprenticeships or university courses anywhere in the country.
Verco Engineering in South Australia awarded $46,900
To run the Super Stem Regional SA program targeting high schoolgirls in years nine and 10 before they choose their senior subjects.
The Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering in NSW awarded $35,000
For a school that will expose first-year female university graduates to leadership opportunities and mentoring at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
The federal government has awarded $3.4 million in funding to 24 innovative projects around the country that support women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Applications for the $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) program opened in August this year, with the grants on offer ranging from $5000 to $250,000.
From a new women in STEM video channel to drone camps for girls, the grant-winners are tackling gender inequality from all sorts of angles.
One project to receive a grant is Girl Geek Academy, which was founded by five entrepreneurs including Sarah Moran to teach one million young girls how to code and create startups.
Girl Geek Academy, which recently missed out on a Queensland grant after being “lured” to the state from Melbourne, has come out in front this time with $250,000.
Moran and her team have been funded to run a program that trains teachers to deliver computer and algorithmic thinking, software development and coding, with a focus on girls aged five to eight.
The program is aligned with the National Digital Technologies curriculum, which aims to increase awareness and participation of girls in STEM and entrepreneurship at an early age.
The funding news comes in the same week that the Victorian government launched its first Gender Equality Strategy, which was followed by the Victorian Minister for Small Business and Innovation taking the Panel Pledge to ensure women are equally represented in STEM-related panels and conferences in the state.