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These 24 government grant winners have won $3.4 million to transform the STEM sector – StartupSmart

Girl Geek Academy

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.

Read more: Why Victorian innovation minister Philip Dalidakis brought his daughters to an all-women hackathon

“With this pledge, I hope that established and emerging women leaders in Victoria will be heard and get the respect and recognition they deserve—not just in the media, but at our conferences and on our panels as well,” Philip Dalidakis said.

“It’s nearly 2017 and women make up just 20 percent of Australia’s tech workforce yet represent 50 percent of the population. To see just 15 percent women speaking on industry panels is just not good enough.”

Here are the other 23 projects that received funding from the WISE program.

GRANTS OVER $200,000

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 above funding excludes GST and the second round of applications for the WISE program will open in 2017.

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