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The country’s peak body for scientists and technologists has welcomed Draft Recommendations of the Pathway to Diversity in STEM review panel as “a powerful exhortation to stay the course and double down” on proven diversity-driving initiatives with new long-term investments to forge systemic and cultural change.

Science & Technology Australia also backed draft proposals to create a Diversity in STEM Council, strengthen STEM teaching in schools and tackle job insecurity in STEM research careers.

STA backed a call for successful women and diversity in STEM initiatives to be granted “significant and sustained funding” over longer time frames to help drive long-term systemic and cultural change.

Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert said it was crucial to build on the strong evidence-based success of initiatives that were already working powerfully to deepen diversity in STEM.

“It’s so important that we stay the course on proven changemaking programs like Superstars of STEM, which sits at the very heart of diversity in the STEM ecosystem as a central resource and talent source that powers a wide array of diversity in STEM programs and initiatives,” she said.

“If proven successes like the Superstars of STEM program had Government funding scaled up and secured for a whole decade, it would dramatically turbo-charge all of the other efforts and proposals to drive systemic and cultural change in STEM workplaces.”

The Superstars of STEM program has trained over 150 strongly diverse women and non-binary STEM talents to be high-profile expert media commentators in STEM. The review references the program’s proven success – which has raised the profile of diverse STEM role models and inspired over 65,000 schoolchildren about STEM.

The program is designed with a strong intersectionality and diversity framework. The 2023 Superstars of STEM include 5% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Superstars, 21% who speak a language other than English, 28% who are people of colour, 20% are LGBTQIA+, 18% rural, 3% with a disability, and 3% non-binary.

“Programs like Superstars of STEM are rewriting society’s expectations on what a scientist looks like and inspiring the next generation by developing a powerful cohort of highly-visible diverse STEM role models.”

“Australia needs to build on this success by backing what is working, strengthen coordination across government, and complement programs like Superstars of STEM with legislative and policy changes to drive systemic and cultural shifts across society to diversify our future STEM workforce. This report is a significant step on that journey.”

“We congratulate the expert panel – Sally-Ann Williams, Mikaela Jade, and Dr Parwinder Kaur – on their outstanding work so far, welcome the Draft Recommendations, and look forward to continuing to work productively with government and the sector to drive the next waves of change.”

About Science & Technology Australia

Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our  flagship programs include Science Meets ParliamentSuperstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors.


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