STEM scholarships up for grabs

A search is on for Indigenous Australians who will play a role in building a smarter economy.

Two full residential scholarships to undertake a degree in engineering or science at the University of New South Wales are being offered through the Origin Foundation Grant King Indigenous Scholarships program.

The successful students will also have the chance to be mentored by Mr King, Origin’s former managing director and one of Australia’s most prominent business leaders.

Applications are open until January 5.

The program aims to support eight undergraduates studying until 2021.

The Origin Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sydney-based electricity and gas supplier Origin Energy, has set aside $5 million for the scholarships, which are open to applicants across Australia.

Origin Foundation head Sean Barrett said the new program would help generations of students aspiring to careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“The Chief Scientist, and others, have made it clear that Australia’s future prosperity will be reliant on developing a clever economy based on science, engineering and maths,” Mr Barrett said.

“There is no reason Indigenous Australians should not play a role in that.”

The Origin Foundation has a focus on education and about a quarter of its grants go to Indigenous education programs.

It said it chose to work with UNSW because of the university’s commitment to equity and access in education, and its exceptional track record supporting Indigenous students.

Through its Indigenous Programs Unit, Nura Gili, UNSW provides entry pathways for Indigenous students in all faculties and programs, and supports them throughout their studies.

Nura Gili director Associate Professor Reuben Bolt said philanthropy had allowed UNSW to offer one of the best tertiary study environments in Australia for Indigenous students.

The university claims the highest retention rate of Indigenous students in Australia.

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