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Award worth $100,000 up for grabs for one woman in STEM + other grants available

Peter Griffin, Editor. 16 August 2022, 11:16 am
Award worth $100,000 up for grabs for one woman in STEM + other grants available

A desire to see more deep tech start-ups led by women has led venture capital firm Pacific Channel to offer the Women in STEM Commercialisation Award, available to academics looking to commercialise their research.

The award is made up of $5,000 cash, a $50,000 investment from Pacific Channel’s Kea fund in the award winner’s commercial venture and $45,000 worth of legal, financial and communications advice provided by Pacific Channel and its partners.

That’s a package that could make all the difference for the winning applicant working in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Pacific Channel specialises in investments in deep tech - tackling problems with solutions drawn from those STEM subject areas.

While $59.9 million was invested in early-stage start-ups last year, up 78% on 2020, pacific Channel points out that most of the money flows to male-led ventures.

“Very simply, VCs need to consciously keep an eye out for females who are excelling in their fields, who may want to move into entrepreneurship, and we need to ensure we have processes in place to empower these women to become future leaders in the industry,” Pacific Channel staff Emerald Scofield, Dr Ashwath Sundaresan and Lois Gregory point out in a blog post

Contact Pacific Channel for more information about the Women in STEM Commercialisation Award.

There’s a push around the world to address the gender imbalance in leadership of deep tech start-ups. The European Union points out that deep tech accounts for over a quarter of Europe’s start-up ecosystem, with deep tech start-ups valued at €700 billion. But women are largely underrepresented.

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The EU has gone big on supporting women in the deep tech space

Women represent 41% of the 6.6 million scientists and engineers working across EU nations but only a quarter of those who are self-employed and own their own businesses. Additionally, women represent less than 20% of senior management in deep tech- start-ups that have raised seed funding. In the crucial Chief Technology Officer role at deep tech start-ups, representation of women has been “stagnating at 1% for the last three years” according to the EU. 

The Women TechEU runs a grants programme offering €75,000 to “support the initial steps in the innovation process, and the growth of the company” for female deep tech founders.

New Zealand doesn’t have an equivalent scheme in operation, but numerous government departments, scientific institutions and companies have begun offering scholarships aimed at women working in STEM.

Some of them include:

Association of Women in the Sciences STEM Award - (not offered in 2022), administered by the New Horizons for Women Trust. The $9,000 award supports up to three women annually enrolled in a tertiary STEM qualification.

GCSB Women in STEM scholarship - worth $10,000, which can be spread over three years depending on your study plans. Applications close on October 1 each year.

Edna Waddell Scholarships - available to undergraduate women studying in technology and engineering. Six awards worth up to $5,000 each are available each year for women entering their first year of tertiary study. Applications close on September 1.

Ara Women in STEM - fee reduction worth $3,000 for women entering careers in science, ICT or engineering and studying undergraduate courses at Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Women in Data Science New Zealand Scholarship - $2,000 scholarship to support women to complete one year of study in data science at Victoria University of Wellington. Applications close on February 22. 

University of Auckland Scholarships for Women - The university has a range of scholarships available for women, including the Nicola Crowley Memorial Scholarship for Women in Computer Science valued at $5,000 and the SGS New Zealand Limited Women in Engineering Scholarship valued at up to $6,000.

Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship - A US$10,000 Fellowship is awarded globally each year to up to 30 women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and space sciences.

Graduate Women New Zealand has a range of scholarships that may be available to eligible candidates working in STEM.

TOMRA Fresh Food Scholarship for Women in STEM - Worth up to $7,500 for students who identify as female, enrolled full-time in either the first or second year of an undergraduate degree programme in STEM subjects at the University of Waikato. Applications close on November 15.

Partners Australian National Commission for UNESCO - one AU$25,000 endowment available to New Zealand women with a PhD or postdoc researcher working in life sciences (including medical sciences), physical sciences, computer science, engineering and mathematics.

Brenda Shore Award for Women - Worth up to $10,000. University of Otago award for women who are studying at postgraduate level in the natural sciences. Applications close on February 28. 


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