Swinburne offers engineering research fellowships just for women

Originally published by Engineers Australia – October 2016.

Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne is offering research fellowships for women in Engineering and IT, which it says is a first for the Australian tertiary sector.

The Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowships – Women in STEM are designed to address the underrepresentation of women in STEM and are part of Swinburne’s gender equality strategy.  They will offer women three years of dedicated research time before transitioning to standard research and teaching positions.

“We recognise that women are underrepresented in Australia’s STEM workforce, particularly in engineering and information technology,” said Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson.

“These fellowships are about making the optimal use of talent. We want to encourage the best and brightest female minds to be part of advancing Australia’s competitive capability in science, technology and innovation.”

The fellows will be supported through mentorship and research leadership training.

The fellowships in the university’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology will be open internationally to qualified female candidates.

Swinburne Dean of Science, Professor Sarah Maddison said it is well established that the percentage of women in STEM decreases with progressive career stages.

“Having the security of an ongoing research and teaching position at the end of the fellowship is a crucial element in ensuring we can retain our excellent women in STEM,” said Prof Maddison.

“It is important to provide women the opportunity to fully focus on their research early in their careers to help establish their research programs.”

Swinburne was one of the first Australian universities to join the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot to improve the promotion and retention of women and gender minorities in STEM and for the past six years has been an Employer of Choice for Women.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act permits the university to implement corrective measures to redress the critical underrepresentation of women in STEM.

[Engineering research at Swinburne University of Technology. Photo: Swinburne]

There will be sessions covering ‘The business imperative for diversity in your engineering team’ and ‘Developing our next generation of engineers’ at the Australian Engineering Conference 2016 in Brisbane on November 23-25.

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