Superstars of STEM aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.  STA created Superstars of STEM to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists - role models for young women and girls – and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.

Over five years we will have equipped 150 female scientists and technologists with advanced communication skills and provided them with genuine opportunities to use these skills – in the media, on the stage and in speaking with decision makers.



Stage 1: Applicants complete the application form, addressing the selection criteria and provide a 150-200 word professional biography and pay the $25 application fee before midnight on 23 September 2018.

Stage 2:  Both shortlisted and unsuccessful applicants will be will be notified on November 5.  Those shortlisted will be invited to prepare a one-minute audition video filmed on their own device (using a mobile, tablet or similar) as we are testing for screen presence rather than production values.

Stage 3: Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by 3 December.  A public announcement of the final 60 will be made on 11 December.  For fee paying places, full payment is preferred on acceptance, however if not possible, a 50% deposit is due upon acceptance of place with the remainder due 30 January 2019.

Social image (003)

Working with participants over two years, the program strives to;

  • Support 60 women employed in a range of roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become highly visible public role models;
  • Build the public profile of 60 women employed in STEM though training in public speaking, media and communicating with influence and through creating opportunities to practice their newly acquired skills;
  • Empower participants to share their story and their work with general audiences by equipping them with advanced communications skills and an understanding of traditional media, social media and story-telling.
  • Smash imposter syndrome and build confidence in a range of professional settings, participants will learn how to communicate with influence, in their workplaces, in the media and with leaders and politicians.
  • Directly encourage young women and girls to study and stay in STEM, by program participants speaking with them in their schools and workplaces and by providing prominent public role models for them to aspire to.

The first year of the two-year program will focus on professional development through a series of five workshops and the second year will focus on providing participants opportunities to practice their new skills through media and speaking opportunities in schools and on high profile stages.

Applicants must identify as women and be employed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles at any career stage in any sector.

Applicants must be Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents, or a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder; be living and working in Australia for the duration of the program; and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Hold a PhD or higher (Associate Professor, Professor etc.) or;
  • Indigenous Australian with an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 7 years STEM industry experience or:
  • Person with an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 7 years experience working in technology, engineering, mathematics, agriculture, environmental science or geological sciences.

and have:

  • A commitment to the two-year Superstars of STEM Program, including the training, practice, networking and mentoring components; and a commitment to participate where possible in opportunities provided to alumni participants throughout the life of the Superstars program
  • A natural aptitude for oral and written communication
  • An interest in building a public and professional profile and in communicating with public audiences through speaking engagements, the media, social media and written material
  • A commitment to being mentored
  • A commitment to becoming a long-term role model for girls and young women in and thinking of entering the STEM sector
  • Willing to organise to speak at least three and up to five high schools, with support from the program

Applicants are required to address the following selection criteria in a maximum of 200 words each.  The application form does not have a save function, so we suggest applicants prepare their responses in Microsoft Word and copy and paste responses into the application form.

  1. Why do you want to join the program and build your profile? What makes you superstar material?
  2. What strategies will you and your employer use to support your full participation in the program and the opportunities it brings?
  3. Why is it important to communicate your work to the general public?
  4. How have you demonstrated a commitment to championing change for women in STEM?  How will your participation in the program help build on this?
  5. What makes you stand out from the crowd?
  6. What is the most significant mistake you’ve made in your professional life, how did you overcome it and what did you learn?

Participants will be selected to ensure geographic and discipline diversity in the program as well as representation from all career stages and a range of sectors, including public, private, and academic.

Experience in the media is not required: we are looking for people who have an aptitude for communication and a desire to build a public profile.

We strongly encourage applications from Indigenous Australians, people with disability, people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, STEM professionals of all ages and career stages and LGBQTI people.

The 60 participants will be made up of the following:

  • 40 fee paying places, $2,500+GST per person (50% due upon acceptance of place (mid December 2018) and remainder due 30 January 2019). This fee supports the costs of participant travel to face-to-face training.
  • 20 scholarship places, available to participants who are able to demonstrate financial need and meet strict eligibility criteria, details available in the 'Scholarship' section below.

Note: There is also a non-refundable $25.00 application fee for all applicants.

What’s included:

  • One complimentary registration to Science meets Parliament & Science meets Business (valued at $2625 per person)
  • Five professional development workshops
  • 1:1 coaching session with a career strategist via Zoom
  • Domestic interstate air travel from your nearest residential capital city to attend three scheduled workshops.
  • Accommodation will be provided for one night of the first workshop. For one day workshops participants are expected to fly in and out on the same day, in cases where this is not possible due to flight times accommodation will be provided.
  • Two years of support from specialised STA staff and contractors which will include support to generate media and speaking opportunities
  • Invitations to networking opportunities with industry, government and sector leaders, media and Superstars of STEM Alumni.
  • Support to source and connect with an appropriate mentor
  • A network of liked minded supportive peers with an online platform to engage
  • STA will work to identify and make available other opportunities during the life of the program.

There will be some out of pocket expenses associated for participants or their employers including local travel, ground costs, some meals, incidentals and parking.  Participants will have the option to attend networking events such as Science meets Parliament and Science meets Business if they are willing to fund their own travel costs.

If participants wish to arrange face-to-face meetings with their mentors, this will need to be arranged at their own cost.

Science & Technology Australia is offering 20 scholarship places for applicants who meet the program selection criteria and prerequisites and are;

Part A: Able to demonstrate an inability to pay


Part B:

  • A representative of a minority group i.e. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, LGBQTI+, culturally and linguistically diverse, person with a disability, OR;
  • Working and residing in remote or regional Australia, OR;
  • Employed by a start-up that is no more than two years old, OR;
  • Within two years of establishing your own business, if you are fully self-employed.


How to apply:

Write a cover letter, that is no more than 1-page, that demonstrates:

  1. How you meet the financial criteria outlined in Part A.
  2. How you meet the scholarship criteria outlined in Part B.

You will be prompted to upload this one-page cover letter (word or PDF) on the Superstars of STEM online application form.

This will be submitted after you pay the $25.00 application fee.

Note: the application form will include an option to select “if you are not successful for a scholarship place, would you like to be considered for a fee-paying place”. Your answer to this question will not affect your eligibility for the scholarship but will put you in consideration for a paid place if unsuccessful in securing a scholarship.

The benefits of the program are valued at over $24,000 per participant, this includes comprehensive professional development workshops, travel and accommodation, event registration fees and professional services in the form of media, communications, and speaking engagement support.

In addition, we estimate that the program will generate media coverage to the value of $150,000+ for program participants and their employers.

The inaugural program generated media coverage worth an estimated $3.98 million and reached a combined audience of more than 15,000,000 Australians.

However, participants must understand that STA cannot guarantee a minimum level of coverage for each participant, or equal media exposure for all those taking part, due to the fact that we have no control over what the media will find newsworthy.

The inaugural program also achieved:

  • 93% of participants felt their participation in the program made a difference in the representation of women in STEM.
  • Since participating in the program, 70% of participants experienced career progression either through awards, accolades, remuneration or promotion.
  • 96% would recommend the program to a colleague.
  • At the beginning of the program 10% of participants were very or extremely confident speaking with the media, which expanded to 80% by the end of the program.
  • Collectively, participants' social media followers across all platforms increased by 53%
Your time commitment

It is important for you, and your employer, understand the time commitment when applying.

The training component of the program includes one two-day face-to-face workshop, two short online seminars, and three one-day face-to-face workshops. These are spread out over the first 10 months and are held in a range of capital cities.

Participants are also expected to commit to being available for three-to-five school visits (to be arranged at their own convenience in the second half of the program), media and speaking opportunities as they arise, time to build their social media profile, and to participate in up to six surveys for the purposes of progress reporting and media preparation.

Mentoring meetings will occur over 18 months, with approximately one meeting every two months via video conference/phone or face-to-face (if possible).

Participants are strongly encouraged to also take up invitations to networking events (some of which are specifically for Superstars of STEM), and to attend STA events as invited delegates where possible.

In total, we estimate participants need to commit to the equivalent of approximately 2 days per month over the two-year duration of the program, although the commitment will differ from month to month.

 1. Developing your Superstar Toolkit, Personal Brand & Storytelling2. Becoming an online Influencer3. Media Training4. Writing for The Conversation5. Communicating with influence
Duration:2 full days –   1-2 nights depending on travel times.Full DayFull Day1 hourFull Day
Location:MelbourneSydneyYour nearest Capital City out of Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, SydneyWebinarMelbourne
Date:26 & 27 February 2019*9 May 2019*Last week of July or First week of August 2019*Late August*12 November 2019*

*Whilst all efforts will be made to avoid changes to dates, STA reserves the right to change dates if absolutely required.

Program activities
  • January 2019
    • Commencement Survey
    • 1:1 video conference with career strategist
  • March 2019
    • Science Meets Parliament – 30 places by application
  • July 2019
    • Mentoring program will commence (1 meeting every second month)
    • Progress Survey
  • October 2019
    • Science Meets Business, Brisbane – 30 places by application
    • Media Questionnaire
  • January 2020
    • Progress Survey
    • Media activities & speaking opportunities to commence
    • Commence School Visits & reporting
  • Feb/March 2020
    • Science Meets Parliament – 30 places by application Feb/Mar
  • July 2020
    • Progress Survey
  • October 2020
    • Science Meets Business – 30 places by application
  • December 2020
    • Final Survey
      Program end

NB - other ad hoc activities and opportunities will  be made available to participants throughout the program.

Program Alumni

At the conclusion of the two-year program participants will be provided with support materials and advice to enable them to continue to grow their public profile and with suggestions and opportunities to build on the professional relationships they’ve established with one another.  Participants will be strongly encouraged to continue their mentoring relationships.  STA will continue to provide opportunities for alumni such as ad hoc speaking and media opportunities where available.


“I am finished with imposter syndrome – it has no place in my vocabulary or my career”

Program Participant 2017

“I am applying for awards that I never would have thought to apply for”.

Program Participant 2017

"Superstars cemented my faith in myself, at a time when I didn't even realise that I needed it to be cemented. It has had a big impact on how I view my skills and my career”

Program Participant 2017

“It is impossible to measure the size and significance of the impact that the Superstars of STEM program has had on my life. I have experienced exponential personal and professional growth through the program's bespoke training, development and mentorship opportunities."

Program Participant 2017


If you have any enquiries about the program please contact:

Brodie Steel, Program Manager - Superstars of STEM

02 6257 2891 -

Have you read our FAQs?

Superstars of STEM is funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; and supported by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) and the Conversation.

Major Supporter

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Supporting Partners

logo for the Conversation