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Centenary Institute - Medical Research

Inclusion and Gender Equity Program Funding

Supporting our female scientists advance their careers in medical research

Centenary’s Gender Equity Awards Program now offers – dependent on funding – the following awards to help progress the careers of promising female scientists at Centenary. Each award is aimed at ameliorating a particular bottleneck in the career track of women.

We are now actively looking for partners to fund Centenary Awards detailed below.

Gender Equity Early Career Award

Bottleneck: Acquiring research funding is the first step towards an independent scientific career. Women are consistently less likely to receive research funding compared to their male counterparts (NHMRC outcomes for project funding by gender, 2014). A lack of early career funding success can compound throughout a career, as funding success tends to beget more funding success. Early efforts to combat this disadvantage should result in better long-term results.

Aims: This award will provide an opportunity for women scientists to:

  • Obtain early career funding.
  • Provide seed funding for pilot studies to generate preliminary data, which is an essential prerequisite for obtaining competitive project grants.
  • Be used for conference travel to meet other researchers, strike meaningful collaborations and build essential networks.
  • Both enhance the recipient’s CV and increase the likelihood of future funding success.

Career Sustainability

Bottleneck: Childrearing responsibilities are generally borne by women (Mcguire et al., 2012). Female scientists often have children in the early to mid-career period, while they are still establishing themselves as an independent researcher.This period is crucial for a post-doctoral research scientist to prove their productivity, it is a period with high job insecurity, and is the most competitive period in a scientist’s career (competition for post-doctoral fellowships and faculty/ lecturing positions is fierce). Maternity leave and childcare responsibilities may result in a loss of productivity in this critical time.

Research Continuation Award

Aim: To provide technical / postdoctoral support for mid-career women scientists.This funding will facilitate the continuation of research projects over the maternity leave period, and support the recipients return to work.

Funding: A maximum of $46,000 will be awarded to a female Centenary researcher for the purpose of hiring a research assistant or research officer for the period of 6-months (maternity leave period) to continue an ongoing research project.

Restart Package

Aim: Female postdoctoral fellows and Group Leaders will be eligible for a limited number of support packages to assist with childcare costs for pre-school-age children.

Gender Equity Conference, Seminar and Training Support

Aim: It is more difficult for women with childcare responsibilities to attend conferences both physically and financially.This award will provide financial support to assist with travel costs or of the care of children whilst the scientist is attending a conference, seminar or training (national or international).This can be used either to fund a companion to travel with the scientist to assist with childcare, or for additional days of childcare during the conference, seminar or training course.

Centenary Development Fellowship

Bottleneck: The number of women researchers in science steadily decreases with increasing seniority. Centenary is no exception with only 17% of senior scientist positions held by women, despite 49% of post-doctoral positions being filled by women. Apart from child rearing responsibilities, other issues contributing to the loss of female researchers include unconscious gender bias, as well as the fact that women tend to be less aggressive in pursuing promotions. The lack of positive female role models and mentors in senior positions is also an issue.

Aim: This award aims to encourage and facilitate the transition of high achieving women scientists from mid-level positions into senior leadership positions at Centenary.This award will take the form of funding and the establishment of a mentoring relationship. A senior scientist will be assigned to mentor the recipient on how to improve their chances of being promoted to a member of faculty in the future.The recipient will also chair the Gender Equity Committee and be responsible for communicating issues and initiatives related to the activities of this committee to the Institute.

Selection Criteria:

  • 50% track record (CV)
  • 50% future career outline/research plans (4 pages including figures and references)

Fellowship Duties:

  • The recipient will act as Chair for the Gender Equity Committee for the duration of the award
  • The recipient will give a seminar on the progress of Gender Equity initiatives at Centenary and the issues pertaining to women in science generally.
  • Commit to ongoing mentorship and leadership of her group
  • Mentor the recipient of the early career award

Other Awards Available to Support Early to Mid Career Researchers

Innovation Award

Aim: The Innovation Award is intended to assist early-mid career researchers in the establishment phase of their careers.These funds will enable them to initiate new medical research opportunities through an innovative research project and place them in a stronger position to received further funds from government funding bodies (i.e., NHMRC).The award will not be assessed based on track record – but based on the novelty of the research idea and/or the use of innovative research techniques.

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