The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has announced 16 STEM champions who will lead its Women in STEM advisory group.

The $41.2 million Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program, funded by the Australian Government, will award up to 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships over seven years to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The Elevate advisory group will be co-chaired by non-executive director, engineering leader and former President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) Dr Marlene Kanga AO FTSE, and Dr Adi Patterson FTSE, an international leader in nuclear science and technology, and a Champion of Change. 

The Advisory Group will champion the program, secure sector wide partnerships, and guide strategy and implementation of the program.

“I am proud to lead this incredible project which we hope will shift the dial in the level of participation of women in STEM,” Dr Kanga says. 

“This is vitally important to secure Australia’s future as a technologically-advanced nation. The Advisory Group comprises 16 of Australia’s most experienced STEM ambassadors who will collectively, transform our assumptions about who can work in STEM.

“The Advisory Group will champion diversity and inclusion, and help shape an immersive program for scholarship recipients, exposing them to inclusive leaders, programs, networks and organisations that nurture and support their professional development and future careers.” 

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said the support for Elevate from across the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community and sectors has been humbling.

“There is genuine excitement for this program, and its potential to transform the standing of women in STEM careers,” she said.

“Elevate must be designed with partners across the very broad range of Australian sectors that rely on a highly-skilled STEM workforce; we’re designing the program to meet Australia’s skills demand by supporting diverse women to pursue  tertiary education and careers in STEM, and by propelling them into leadership.

The program is built around three pillars, first; ‘Education and Impact’ to support scholars to become Australia’s future leaders in STEM research and commercialisation, second; ‘Skills Building’ to put the focus on professional development, mentoring and exposure to the innovation pipeline, and third; ‘Leadership’ to accelerate women’s career trajectories into senior leadership and support them as mentors, board directors, and influencers, stimulating more women-led decision-making throughout the STEM ecosystem.

The Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, has also joined the Advisory Group. 

“The power of this Advisory Group is the broad range of expertise of its members and their profound interest in the issues faced by women in STEM. Their collective vision and focus on solutions will drive real change in STEM disciplines,” she says.