The CSIRO has granted the University of Wollongong $500,000 to help more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The CSIRO Indigenous STEM scholarship will award one UOW Indigenous student $5,000 per year throughout their degree.

The collaboration is part of a wider commitment by the CSIRO to foster Indigenous talent. The agency has provided over $5 million worth of scholarships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students so far this year.

In a statement, UOW Vice-Chancellor Prof. Patricia M. Davidson said the partnership between the University and the CSIRO would foster the next generation of Indigenous talent in STEM.

“The CSIRO scholarships will enable students to explore and expand their interests in STEM – fields that are vital to the future of our communities, our economy and our nation – without fear of financial stress,” Professor Davidson told the CSIRO.

“This significant investment demonstrates the true power of philanthropy, by enriching the lives of Indigenous students and setting them up for a bright and prosperous future.”

In another statement, Director of Indigenous Science and Engagement at CSIRO, Dr Chris Bourke, said the organisation was delighted to be providing practical support to nurture the next generation of Indigenous STEM superstars.

“Growing an Indigenous STEM pipeline will enable the science and technology sector, and CSIRO in particular, to engage with Indigenous talent, embed Indigenous knowledge and expertise and to foster thriving careers in science and research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Dr Bourke said.

“These scholarships are a very practical step because we know that adequate financial support for Indigenous university students is a key factor to overcoming barriers to entry and success in higher education.”

To be eligible for the CSIRO Indigenous STEM scholarship, applicants must be enrolled full-time in an eligible degree program. They must also maintain a minimum Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 50 for the duration of their degree.