Release type: Media Release


Curious Minds - promoting opportunities for girls in science


The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education

The Albanese Government is calling for applications for the 2022-23 round of the successful and popular mentor program, Curious Minds.

Curious Minds supports more female students to ignite their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

I encourage Year 9 and 10 girls who are interested in STEM and who want to expand their skills, confidence and scientific networks to apply for the 2022-23 program.

We know that women are less likely than men to pursue a higher education in STEM.

Women make up less than a quarter of students studying STEM at university and in VET.

In 2019, women accounted for just 18 per cent of enrolments in engineering and related technologies and 19 per cent of enrolments in Information Technology.

Many of our future jobs will require STEM skills.

Curious Minds plays an important role in developing pathways for girls to become the next generation of female scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

More than 500 girls have participated in the Curious Minds program since it began in 2014, with more than 330 coming from regional, rural, and remote areas.

The Department of Education is providing $2.35 million for the Curious Minds program from 2020-21 to 2023-24. The program is delivered by the Australian Mathematics Trust and Australian Science Innovations.

Applications for the 2022-23 Curious Minds program are open for more than 100 high-potential female students in Year 9 -10 who may have had limited opportunities because of their location or background.

The Curious Minds Summer School is a four-day online intensive program that will be held in December 2022.

The summer camp is followed up by a six-month hands-on mentoring program from female professionals working in the STEM industry and an in-person winter camp in July 2023.

Students will engage in a variety of integrated STEM activities including sieving and viewing sediment for microplastics, investigating recycled materials and how to repurpose them, and privacy and cybersecurity workshops.

Places are prioritised for girls from regional and remote locations, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and First Nations people.

Applications for the 2022-23 Curious Minds program are open from 1-30 September.

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