The ARC created the Georgina Sweet fellowship for a woman in the fields of science and technology.


Professor Mahananda Dasgupta (2011)  

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Research

Professor Mahananda Dasgupta’s Laureate project has involved innovative concepts and new Australian capabilities that have been combined to understand quantum interactions of exotic nuclei. Her research has aimed to underpin applications of next generation international rare isotope accelerators to advance many areas of physics, medical science and future energy technologies.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Dasgupta has undertaken a number of activities in support of increasing the profile of women in science. The outreach activities have spanned high school students through to supporting workshops involving teachers, early career researchers and senior women. Involving perspectives from sociologist, specialising in women in science, was particularly useful at the workshops. Support of the SAGE initiative is a concrete step in improving organisational culture. Further activities will be in facilitating leadership pathways for younger researchers through workshops on practical aspects of career strategies. The intention is also to provide access to a circle of powerful mentors through interactions with high-achieving established physics researchers.

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""Professor Nalini Joshi (2012)

Research

Professor Nalini Joshi’s Laureate project, Geometric Construction of Critical Solutions of Nonlinear Systems, aimed to create new mathematical methods to describe critical solutions of nonlinear systems, which are ubiquitous in modern science.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Joshi has organised and funded regular events at annual conferences of the Australian Mathematical Society, and Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics, to feature female plenary speakers.

She initiated and led Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), which is an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science and the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. SAGE aims to implement a pilot of the UK’s Athena SWAN scheme (to encourage and retain women in STEMM) in Australia. The SAGE pilot was launched in 2015 and has been hugely successful in attracting organisations that employ women in STEMM.  The number of participating organisations is much higher than anticipated, including almost all Australian universities and many medical research institutes and research organisations, such as the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation, Defence Science and Technology Group, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Image courtesy: The University of Sydney.

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""Professor Tanya Monro (2013)

Research

Professor Tanya Monro’s Laureate project aims to develop a suite of light-based sensing technologies capable of quantifying the dynamic environment of living cells. This will extend our capacity to harness light-matter interactions at the nanoscale, providing new insights in fields ranging from plant biology to medicine.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Monro pursued two areas. The first has been to establish a network of women in the physical sciences focused on developing relationships to provide mentoring support to early and mid-career researchers. Activities include workshops, social media activities and networking events.

The second centred on building the visibility and engagement of female scientists with school-aged cohorts and in public via TedX and other public and online lectures. One core aim of these activities is to create a greater diversity of female role models for girls considering studying science. Professor Monro will use the link between science and art to communicate how creativity is core to progress in science. 

Image courtesy: University of South Australia.

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""Professor Kate Smith-Miles (2014)

Research

Professor Kate Smith-Miles Laureate project aims to develop a new paradigm in algorithm testing, creating novel test instances and tools to elicit insights into algorithm strengths and weaknesses. Such advances are urgently needed to support good research practice in academia, and to avoid disasters when deploying algorithms in practice.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Smith-Miles’ Sweet Success Grants for Women will offer $5,000 per recipient, with an expectation of matching funding from their university, providing a total grant of $10,000 to pay for research assistance, travel support, grant writing assistance, coaching, or whatever the applicant wishes to propose in their application to best support their research.

The grants will be open to women in the fields of science, engineering or technology who have had career interruptions in the previous ten years. Each year, 3 women will be supported (notionally one from each eligible discipline), enabling a total of 15 women to be supported over the course of the Georgina Sweet Laureate fellowship.

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""Professor Veena Sahajwalla (2014)

Research

Professor Veena Sahajwalla’s Laureate project aims to transform toxic electronic waste (e-waste) into value-added metals and alloys, isolating hazardous constituents and preventing the generation of harmful emissions during processing.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Sahajwalla established the Science 50:50 program. The program aims to inspire Australian girls and young women to pursue degrees and careers in science and technology, so they can succeed in an innovation-driven future. Science 50:50 asks the simple question: since half the population is female, why not half the scientists and technologists? Science 50:50 engages girls with science and technology via school visits, Science 50:50’s audio-visual resources, the media and online resources and recruiting the help of universities, research organisations and industries. It also includes industry immersion, mentoring and networking opportunities to enable girls to get experience and a foot into scientific and technology based careers, as well as running a Science 50:50 New Innovators Competition offering university scholarships to the girls who submit the most original and innovative ideas for solving real world problems.

“Inspire others with your story” is the message of 50:50 to everyone. 

Image creidt: Photo is by Peter Morris.

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""Professor Leann Tilley (2015)

Research

Professor Leann Tilley’s Laureate project aims to develop a cross-disciplinary program to measure, model and manipulate a complex cellular system—sexual differentiation of the human malaria parasite. Combining life and physical sciences with powerful imaging techniques, the project seeks to develop quantitative biochemical, biophysical and modelling techniques to probe a complex system in a way previously not possible.

Professor Tilley expects her research to integrate and correlate thousands of measurements of the dynamic processes inside cells. She will use these datasets to generate rigorous and sophisticated mathematical models that can predict drivers of commitment for transformation of the parasite to a sexual phase in preparation for transmission to mosquitoes. This holistic approach hopes to deliver new biotechnology and biomedical outcomes, including new ways to combat disease in livestock and humans.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Tilley has established a web site to help support and promote women in science.  This web site promotes events of interest to women in science, advertises awards that recognise women in science, and provides information on career development. It also includes links to awards for women in science, and a list of high profile female researchers from across Australia to support gender-balanced conferences.

Professor Tilley has also established The Georgina Sweet Travel Support for a Female Speaker in Quantitative Biomedical Science – valued at up to $3,000 per award. In 2016, seven awards were made to support travel for high profile speakers to attend quantitative biomedical science conferences in the period 2016 – 2017.

In 2016 Professor Tilley also established The Georgina Sweet Awards for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science – valued at $25,000 per award.  These awards were widely publicised through scientific societies, universities and other institutions.  In 2016, three awards were made to outstanding female researchers.  The winners were recognised at a presentation event attended by over 80 people held on 27 October 2016.

Image courtesy: The University of Melbourne.

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""Professor Branka Vucetic (2016)

Research

Professor Branka Vucetic’s Laureate project aims to develop theories and practical methods to design wireless communication systems for future generations of internet services. Emerging smart environments and infrastructure could solve major problems facing the world today, by saving energy, reducing pollution, improving health and increasing road safety.

Scientists to date however do not know how to build wireless networks with almost zero latency and ultrahigh reliability, which are needed for machine-to-machine communications. An expected outcome of this project is new criteria and methodologies to design such wireless systems, which would affect future wireless systems and grids.

Ambassadorial and mentoring role

Professor Vucetic will use the Georgina Sweet Fellowship to create a program of activities that will support the promotion of STEM education in Australia at high schools and universities. In the first initiative she will develop a program to engage with communities of high school students and teachers to promote STEM education in high schools.

In the second initiative Professor Vucetic plans to organise an annual event at the University of Sydney that will emphasise female undergraduate students, with the aim of introducing them to postgraduate STEM research. The event will consist of a workshop and visits to Sydney Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies (FEIT) research laboratories.

Image courtesy: The University of Sydney.

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