Inspiring Women in STEMM grant

What is the Inspiring Women in STEMM grant?

Women are often under-represented in STEMM careers and women from remote, low-income areas, indigenous or minority communities often face additional barriers to achieving employment in STEMM fields.

However, a higher degree in STEMM can also be a springboard towards a rewarding career and an opportunity to give back to one’s community.

Many women overcome substantial barriers to undertake and complete their degree. These women are potential role models for the next generation of scientists in their home country/community. However, they often do not have the training and opportunity to effectively tell their STEMM Story.

This grant seeks to lift the profile of some of the incredible young female scientists in Tasmania and amplify their voice so they can inspire the current and next generation of women in STEMM. The inaugural 2019 grant was supported by funds from Emily and Andy Flies’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement.

Past recipients

The inaugural ‘Inspiring Women in STEMM’ Grant in 2019 supported four winners to reach hundreds of girls in their communities.  The 2019 grand winner, Mercy Ndalila, brought smoke detectors to a girl’s boarding school in Kenya, and fire safety materials to a primary school, to both safeguard students from fire and educate them about fire risks. Another 2019 winner, Gabriella Maria Paniagua Cabarrus, used the funds to buy supplies and new lab coats for a girl’s chemistry club in remote Guatemala. Then, through a virtual presentation, she guided them through a chemistry lab experiment, building their skills and curiosity about a career in science.

The 2020 grant

The 2020 grant will be supported by donations from the community. If you are able to contribute, please do so through our GoFundMe page.

Due to COVID travel restrictions, we cannot send women back to their community this year. Instead, the 2020 ‘Inspiring women in STEMM’ Grant will provide funds (up to $1000) for the selected applicant(s) to engage with youth through existing organisations (as previous winner Gabriella did in 2019) or to establish new events or organisations to support STEMM education in their community.

As part of the grant, the winner(s) will receive training to hone their ‘research story’ to maximise the impact of their presentations for girls in their community. Winners will also be invited to present at Science in the Pub’s special event for International Women’s day in March 2021.

How to apply?

Applicants must be currently undertaking a PhD by research in a STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths or Medicine) field at the University of Tasmania. The application involves writing a short essay that addresses four questions (in <500 words):

a) Why are you doing a PhD in your chosen STEMM field?

b) What barriers have you faced in undertaking your PhD in STEMM and how have you overcome them? (e.g. are you a member of a disadvantaged group and how would you describe the barriers you have faced? Some recognised disadvantages include being from economically-disadvantaged locations, being part of a marginalised community, being the first person in your immediate family to undertake a tertiary degree, and being the sole or primary care-giver of dependent child or adult family members)

c) How would you use these funds to inspire the next generation of women in STEMM? (including an estimate of costs which is not included in the 500 word limit)

The top three applicants will be invited to present at Science in the Pub’s special event for International Women’s day in March 2021.

Applications are due by 11:59pm Sunday, November 29 and must be emailed to

Recipients will be informed of the outcome in early December. Outreach activities should have occurred by early March 2021.