Inspiring STEM in WA
Inspiring Australia - Who are we?
The short answer
We are a government program aimed at engaging all Australians with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Through the delivery of National Science Week, the distribution of statewide grant funding, and the support provided to our networks we aim to bring science programs and initiatives to every corner of Australia.
The long answer
As technological capabilities increase, we have access to more information than ever before! But where did these advances in technology come from? The answer is simple: scientists, engineers, and those other clever people in the many STEM professions. As our reliance on technology increases, as does Australia's demand for STEM skills and capabilities. This is where Inspiring Australia fits into the picture.
In 2009 the Australian Government listened to the growing concerns that Australia’s understanding of how science plays a role in our everyday lives was limited and recognised the increasing demand for STEM professionals and having a more STEM literate community. Inspiring Australia was rolled out nationally to form one program that could build an awareness and appreciation of science and enhance the focus on STEM capability and skills across the country.
In Western Australia, the Inspiring Australia program is run through Scitech, our state's Science Discovery center and science outreach organisation. Here our focus is on building a statewide STEM network.
How do we raise awareness of STEM in Western Australia?
By collaborating with STEM organisations we coordinate National Science Week, the country's weeklong celebration of all things STEM. Funding is provided to those wishing to run engaging community events throughout the month of August, in both metro and regional locations. Each year, funding is also made available through small grants to those wishing to deliver a STEM initiative or event in their local community. Emphasis is placed on supporting initiatives that will create ongoing opportunities for communities to engage with STEM. Lastly, we continue to build the state’s STEM networks by supporting five regional science hubs in WA. Each hub delivers engaging STEM events to their communities, with a focus on events and initiatives that are connected to research and activities undertaken in their regions.
These activities all have one overarching goal, to engage all Australians with science. By increasing the Western Australia's engagement with science, we hope to build a community that appreciates the science around them and celebrates the excitement of scientific discoveries. We also hope to encourage the next generation to pursue a career in STEM. Not only by exposing them to exciting opportunities and career prospects, ensuring we can meet the growing demand for professionals across WA's STEM industries, but by increasing parents and career’s understanding of the importance of encouraging their children to pursue these opportunities.
What have we achieved so far?
In 2021 Inspiring Western Australia funded 21 initiatives in National Science Week alone, these initiatives engaged over 6,500 individuals across the state.
An additional 17 initiatives in WA were supported throughout the year with small grants, these initiatives ranged from online Chemistry zoom parties run by ECU, to industry led stargazing nights, to the renovation of a new STEM workshop space at Paraburrdoo Primary School (1520km’s north of Perth!). A further 2,400 individuals engaged in these events.
We were also able to contribute to the production of Beyond the Milkyway, a virtual reality experience exploring WA’s SKA telescope (the world's LARGEST telescope!) by White Spark Pictures. This was available for public viewing at the WA Museum Boola Bardip in Perth's city center.
Check out some of our recent blog posts.
Learn more about the regional hubs here.