Superstars of STEM – FAQs


AM I A SUPERSTAR? 

Q: Do I have to have experience in the media to apply?
A: Applications are open to people of all experience levels. The main thing we are looking for is aptitude and a very strong desire to build a media and public profile. 

Q: Can I apply if I’m in the private sector and not working in research?
A: Yes. We are looking for applicants working in a diversity of STEM roles to apply. 

Q: Can I apply if I’m a senior manager or a Professor?
A: Yes, please do. We encourage people at all career stages to apply. 

Q: Can trans women apply?
A: Yes.  

Q: Can non-binary people apply?
A: Yes. 

Q: I don’t think I’m exceptional enough to be Superstar
A: That sounds like imposter syndrome talking! We are looking for a variety of diverse role models in STEM with different career paths and experiences. The main thing you need is a burning desire to get out there and share your expertise in STEM with the media and general public as a public figure.  

Q: Why should I apply to be a Superstar of STEM?
A: The program will provide you with advanced communication training and support you to build a public profile. It will connect you with an incredible support network and boost your career. It will give you the opportunity to give back by helping change stereotypes and inspire the next generation. 


ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Q: Can I apply if I haven’t quite finished my PhD/have experience instead of a PhD/have nearly submitted my PhD?
A: Applicants must meet at least one of the eligibility criteria before the closing date:  

  • Hold a PhD or higher; or 
  • Are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person with an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 4 years’ STEM industry experience (this work experience can have been done concurrently with your studies); or 
  • Have an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 4 years’ experience working in information technology, engineering, mathematics, agricultural science, environmental science or geological sciences. 
  • Have more than 10 years of experience working in STEM and can describe how you have gained expertise in your area.

Q: Why is a PhD or industry experience a requirement for some applicants but not others?
A: In some STEM fields, experts commonly hold a PhD. In other disciplines experts take alternative education pathways and it is much less common to have a PhD. We have therefore relaxed the PhD requirement in fields where it is less common to hold a PhD – information technology, engineering, mathematics, agricultural science, environmental science and geological sciences.  This decision is based on the data in the Chief Scientist’s Report: Australia’s STEM Workforce – https://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/australias_stem_workforce_-_final.pdf 

Q: I live offshore (or am soon to move overseas). Can I still apply?
A: No. Participants need to be living in Australia for the duration of the program. 

Q: I am on a 457 Visa or a temporary partner Visa 820, can I apply?
A: Unfortunately not. Applications are open to Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents and a New Zealand Special Category Visa holders this year, as assessed at the close of applications. 

Q: I have applied for residency but it won’t come through until next year, can I apply?
A: No. Applicants must have Australian Citizenship, Permanent Residency or be a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder at the close of applications. You can apply for the next Superstars intake. 

Q: Can previous applicants apply again?
A: Yes. We get a lot of applications – we encourage you to apply again. 

Q: I’m on a one year contract, can I apply?
A: The Superstars of STEM program runs for two years, but there is no requirement about your employment status. You can change jobs during the program, work full time, work part time, or be self-employed. 

Q: Can I apply if I’m between jobs?
A: Yes. We would prefer participants to be employed but won’t exclude you if you’re not. If/when an unemployed participant gains employment we will ask them to obtain written evidence from their new employer that they support their participation in the program. 


ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Q: Do I have to attend all the training sessions?
A: Attendance at all training sessions is a requirement of the program. Training sessions will include both in-person and online sessions. You can find out more about the expectation for participants here. 

Q: Are school visits compulsory?
A: Yes. You are expected to visit 3-5 high schools during your time as a Superstar, but you are welcome to do more if you wish. These are arranged by you at a time convenient for you, though the program will provide support and guidelines to help you. 

Q: Are the networking opportunities compulsory?
A: No. But we encourage you to go to as many as you can. 

Q: Do you offer childcare support?
A: STA will not have on-site childcare during Superstars of STEM in-person workshops. However, if you are unable to participate in Superstars of STEM workshops without childcare, you are welcome to arrange your own nanny/sitting service at your hotel or elsewhere, and STA will reimburse you up to $150 per day on application and receipt of a tax invoice. 


ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Q: When will the new Superstars be announced?
A: In December 2024. 

Q: How do I apply for the program?
A: The application process has two stages. Stage one involves the application form, including a one-minute video of yourself. You can find out more about the process on the applicant information page. 

Q: What happens if I am shortlisted for stage two?
A: You will be asked to submit some additional information, provide evidence of support from your employer and attend a short interview via videoconferencing. More information will be provided to shortlist applicants, 

Q: Does it matter who pays my fee?
A: No, as long as it is paid by the due date we don’t mind who pays it – either you or your employer. If you are accepted into the program, you will be asked who the account should be addressed to and an invoice will be raised.  If you are paying the fee yourself you will still need your employer’s support to participate due to the time commitment of participation in the program. 

Q: Is the participant fee or application fee refundable?
A: No. 

Q: I am experiencing financial hardship. Can the application fee or the participant fee be waived?
A: We have a policy of inclusion and the application fee is not intended to dissuade applicants. To waive the application fee please email superstars@sta.org.au Scholarships are available to cover the participant fee. You can find out about eligibility for scholarships here and apply during your application process. 

Q: Can I receive feedback on my application?
A: Feedback will be provided to applicants who are shortlisted but do not make the final 60.  Regrettably, we are unable to provide feedback to applicants who do not progress to the second round.