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Gender Equity Program


The Centenary Institute strongly believes in equal opportunities in the workforce and strongly supports its female scientists. Despite roughly equal number of men and women obtaining PhDs in the Life Sciences, there is a marked under-representation of women at senior faculty positions. This is evident by the fact that out of 1,378 grant applications submitted by female scientists in the year 2014, only 184 were funded. Male scientists on the other hand submitted 2,322 applications out of which 369 were funded. This kind of disparity can be seen at research institutes across the world.

To overcome this inequality, The Centenary Institute Women in Science Committee was created. We request you to help us support female scientists advance their career and overcome the various obstacles they are faced with.

1. Women in Science Early Career Award – $25,000 annually

Acquiring research funding is the first step towards an independent scientific career. Statistically, women scientists are less likely to receive research funding compared to their male counterparts. A lack of early career funding success can compound throughout a career, because 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.

2. Maternity Leave Award – $50,000 annually

Career disruption for child-rearing responsibilities can be detrimental for female scientists careers and often the effect of this absence (namely 6 months) extends beyond the maternity leave period. For example, if maternity leave coincides with the NHMRC grant application period, then the chance to obtain funding in the next year when she returns to work is lost. The risk they are faced with is that if their research is not continued during the period of maternity leave, then momentum on a project may be lost. This can result in research becoming less novel due to advances in the field. Efforts to sustain momentum of female researchers on maternity leave should result in a significant boost to future career prospects.

Aim: To provide technical / postdoctoral support and funding for childcare 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: $40,000 will go towards hiring a research assistant or post-doc to continue an ongoing research project for the period of the leave and $10,000 for personal child care costs.

Panel for choosing Women in Science Awardees:

The judging panel consists of a diverse range of Centenary Staff. With a mix of genders (min 40% of each gender), and comprising of 2 PhD Students, 2 Post-docs, 2 Associate Faculty, 2 Faculty and possibly a nominated person from the sponsor. This has the added advantage of giving PhD students and post-docs the experience of being on a selection panel and an opportunity to review grant applications.

For further information please contact Serena Stewart at s.stewart@centenary.org.au or 1800 677 977