Some of the world’s leading proponents for promoting the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will inspire the next generation of Queensland tech leaders and entrepreneurs in a girls-only as part of the Myriad festival in Brisbane today.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the Myriad High event at QUT, curated by QUT entrepreneurship professors, would be a valuable inspiration for girls in Years 11 and 12 who will hear directly from leading Australian and international female founders and tech pioneers.
“Myriad High, an event that runs alongside the Myriad innovation festival, is set to inspire the next generation of tech leaders and is another important step in boosting female participation in STEM,” Ms Jones said.
“We know that more needs to be done to boost female participation in STEM.
“The 2017 StartupAUS Crossroads report found that only four per cent of startups have an all-female founding team and as few as 15 percent have at least one female founder.
“A University of Melbourne science workforce report in 2015 found although more than half of all undergraduates and PhD students are female, they comprise just 17 per cent of senior academics and top-level professionals.
“That’s why we recently announced the start of the consultation program for the $6.5 million Advance Queensland Female Founders and Researchers Program and why we are supporting events like Myriad High.
“To solve the biggest challenges facing Queensland and to diversify our economy it’s important we promote diversity in our innovation sector.”
Education Minister Grace a Grace said promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Queensland schools was a priority of the Palaszczuk Government.
“We are committed to giving Queensland students the best start and this includes a world-class education system,” Ms Grace said.
“But we know if we’re going to stay ahead of the curve, we need to give students the skills they’ll need in decades to come.
“That’s why we’re investing $81 million over four years to employ STEM specialists in primary schools throughout the state and $140 million over four years to fund dedicated information technology support officers in our state schools.”
Speakers at Myriad High at QUT will include Nathalie Mezza-Garcia, who is leading a project to build a floating human settlement in Tahiti, Palo Alto Networks vice president of engineering Shadi Rostami, and Sarah Moran, who is a QUT alumni and co-founder of Girl Geek Academy which aims to teach one million girls to get into tech and launch their own startups by 2025.
Ms Rostami will be speaking at Myriad High after travelling on the chartered Myriad Air flight bringing an elite group of leading entrepreneurs and investors from Silicon Valley to Brisbane for the Myriad Festival.
“Events like Myriad High are essential to promoting STEM subjects to our future workforce, especially young women,” Ms Rostami said.
“Through our participation, I hope we can create excitement around working in cybersecurity to a whole new generation.
“I look forward to sharing a taste of what you can achieve in this fast-moving industry and inspiring the next-generation of talents and leaders to join the workforce”.
QUT Head of the School of Management Professor Rowena Barrett said innovation occurs when STEM education meets business know how.
“Myriad High will provide an opportunity for these young women to meet inspirational role models and to learn about the opportunities STEM creates beyond the lab,” Professor Barret said.
“We are providing an invaluable day for these young women to learn how to ideate by exploring ways to come up with solutions to the problem of cyber-bullying using innovative technology.”
Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $518 million whole-of-government initiative, supporting programs that drive innovation and jobs across a range of industry sectors and 12 regions across the state.
Myriad High is a taking part at QUT on 15 May and the University of Queensland on 16 May.
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Kate Jones