CSIRO donates $500k to help Indigenous STEM students

CSIRO building in Australia.
CSIRO building in Australia.

Australia’s national science agency the CSIRO has donated $500k to the University of Wollongong (UOW) to enable more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to pursue a career in STEM.

The CSIRO Indigenous STEM Scholarship was established in 2019 with the help of a $30k gift from the organisation to support two Indigenous STEM students.

The scholarship forms part of the CSIRO’s commitment in supporting the pipeline of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent which saw the agency contribute more than $5m to Indigenous STEM Scholarships this year.

CSIRO director of Indigenous Science and Engagement and Gamillaroi man Dr Chris Bourke says the company is excited to be providing support to the next generation.

“Growing an Indigenous STEM pipeline will enable the science and technology sector, and CSIRO in particular, to engage with Indigenous talent, embed Indigenous knowledge and expertise and to foster thriving careers in science and research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he said.

“These scholarships are a very practical step because we know that adequate financial support for Indigenous university students is a key factor to overcoming barriers to entry and success in higher education.”

The partnership between the CSIRO and the UOW will provide one new scholar with $5000 each year for the length of their degree. It’s aimed at Indigenous students who are studying a full-time, science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree.

2021 scholarship recipient and Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) student Zara Button says the scholarship enabled her to focus on her career and wellbeing.

“The money from the CSIRO scholarship means I have been able to work less and spend more time doing meaningful activities that could further my career or health. It has also given me confidence in myself that my hard efforts are being recognised,” she said.

“I would like to thank the CSIRO for donating generous amounts of money to Indigenous STEM students like me. The money goes a long way in supporting my studies and encouraging me to keep going with it.”