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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Advance Queensland Women’s Academic fund extended

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Friday, March 10, 2017

    Advance Queensland Women’s Academic fund extended

    The Palaszczuk Government has extended its support to women researchers with the hugely popular Advance Queensland Women’s Academic Fund to remain open to 30 June, 2017.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said since its launch in 2015 the fund had supported 116 women scientists to maintain their research during periods of maternity leave.

    “The Women’s Academic Fund was set up to support women researchers in Queensland to maintain and develop their research careers and support Queensland organisations in promoting the achievements of their women researchers,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The fund has proven so popular that we are now extending it to 30 June 2017. The fund provides up to $25,000 for a female researcher going on maternity leave to employ another researcher or a research assistant to continue the research so that important momentum is not lost.

    “They can use the funding to maintain research progress while they’re away or to assist them to get back up to speed when they return to work.

    “There’s also up to $1000 available to support any out-of-pocket child care costs if a female researcher has to take time away to present at a national or international conference or is involved in professional research committee.

    “This recognises that being invited to speak at a major conference is of major benefit to a researcher’s career and they shouldn’t miss out because they can’t cover child care costs.”

    Ms Enoch said the Advance Queensland Women’s Academic Fund was designed to overcome the motherhood penalty.

    “This can be a serious impediment to career progression and one of the factors why women comprise fewer than one in five of our senior academics in Australia.

    “We need more women in top roles – to not only create the conditions for greater diversity of thinking, thereby adding to greater innovation and boosting productivity, but also to inspire younger women and girls to look to science as a worthwhile and engaging career as well as to mentor younger generations,” she said.

    Cancer researcher Dr Katia Nones from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute accessed the fund during her five-month maternity leave last year.

    “The Queensland Women’s Academic Fund allowed the research projects I was working on to progress. If no funds were available these projects would have stalled. The fund also reduced my workload on my return, making it easier to progress the research,” Dr Nones said.

    Senior Research Dietitian at Mater Health Services Dr Shelley Wilkinson said the funding allowed her research project to continue while she was on maternity leave from November 2015 to October 2016. 

    “The funding allowed ongoing data collection for my project. This is important as my research in evaluating health care delivery is time dependent. The project also involved coordination and communication with health care teams at a variety of sites. Without someone in the role while I was on leave, this would have ceased with the loss of data and project momentum,” Dr Wilkinson said.

    Details on the Women’s Academic Fund are available on the website.

    Media contact: 0437 859 987