What is the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship?

The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) is a program that will invest in gender equity initiatives aiming for lasting systemic change by eliminating barriers for women’s participation in STEM education and careers, and entrepreneurship.

 

Background

The Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Entrepreneurship program (the program) was announced under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, and is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to Advancing Women in STEM. In 2017, the
National Science Statement articulated the Government’s commitment to science including the importance of STEM skills as vital building blocks for Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing. With rapid technological change driving new workforce needs, STEM skills play an important role in
innovation and the creation of new businesses and technologies.

To deliver on the aims of the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program, this round will only support projects in these specific focus areas:

  • Information technology (IT)
  • Engineering
  • Intersectionality
  • Entrepreneurship

 

Objectives

The program objectives are to:

  • increase awareness and participation of girls and women in STEM education and careers
  • increase awareness and 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.

The program’s intended outcomes are:

  • increased awareness of the range of opportunities in STEM for girls and women arising from STEM education
  • increased number of girls and women participating in STEM education and careers, through primary and secondary school, higher education, and the workforce
  • increased awareness and participation by girls and women in other parts of the innovation ecosystem such as innovative businesses, start-ups and other entrepreneurial activities and careers
  • increased number of women role models in the STEM and entrepreneurial sectors
  • increased evidence base for future policies by providing data on girls’ and women’s participation in STEM education and careers and entrepreneurship
  • increased strategies for improving gender equity in STEM-based organisations.

 

Funding

The Australian Government has committed a total of $14 million over 10 years for the program. For this round, up to $2 million is available from 2020-21 to 2021-22.

The grant amount will be up to 100 per cent of eligible project expenditure (grant percentage)

  • The minimum grant amount is $5,000
  • The maximum grant amount is $250,000.

 

Eligible Projects

To be eligible your project must:

  • not have been previously funded through the WISE program, or be the same as other previously funded WISE projects
  • address at least one focus area: information technology; engineering; intersectionality or entrepreneurship identified at section 2.1 of the guidelines
  • be aimed at addressing discrimination against, or inequality for, girls and women in STEM and/or 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.
  • have at least $5,000 in eligible expenditure
  • have a COVID-19 contingency plan that does not involve an increase in grant amount requested.

Eligible activities must directly relate to the project and can include:

  • developing and delivering change management programs and industry transformation activities
  • developing and delivering training and support programs for women in STEM and entrepreneurship to enter or return to work
  • developing and delivering education and professional development activities to reduce cognitive biases (e.g. gender, race, class and sexual orientation) in investment decisionmaking
  • developing and delivering STEM and entrepreneurship education and professional development activities and resources, including courses and training to help employers retain women in STEM careers
  • developing and delivering regional or national networking and mentoring programs, 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)
  • research and evaluation activities directly in support of the activities above

 

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must have an Australian business number (ABN) and be one of the following entities:

  • an entity, incorporated in Australia
  • a publicly funded research organisation (PFRO) or publicly funded research agency (PFRA) as defined in section 14
  • a government or non-government vocational education and training (VET) provider as defined in section 14, or technical and further education (TAFE) institution
  • an incorporated not for profit organisation

Joint applications are acceptable, provided you have a lead organisation who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply. For further information on joint applications, refer to section 7.2 of the Grant opportunity guidelines.

 

Timing

Applications close 17 November 2020.

 

More Information