Australia’s STEM Workforce

Location: Canberra, ACT

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: Monday 4th June 2018

Keywords: Analytical skills, Data Visualisation, Report writing, Communication, Team work, Multidisciplinary

Please note: Due to project requirements, students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will automatically be deemed ineligible for this project.

Project Background

The Office of the Chief Scientist supports Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO in his role in providing high-level independent advice to the Prime Minister and other Ministers on matters relating to science, technology and innovation. The Chief Scientist is also an advocate for Australian science domestically and internationally.

A STEM literate and capable workforce is a key component to Australia’s present and continued prosperity and is a significant policy priority of the Australian Government. The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) is one of the primary sources of advice and evidence on Australia’s STEM workforce.

The OCS in 2016 released for the first time a comprehensive examination of Australia’s STEM workforce using the 2011 Census that mapped the outcomes and trajectories of STEM qualified graduates in both higher education and vocational education and training (VET).

The release of the 2016 Census provides an opportunity to both update the previous work and to advance the evidence base for areas of specific policy interest through examining the role of the STEM workforce. The OCS will be working towards the production of the second edition of the Australia’s STEM Workforce report by the end of 2018.

The OCS is seeking a PhD candidate that can provide a high level of analytical capability to undertake a significant part of the analysis and production of the report, working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Research to be Conducted

The project aims to comprehensively map the outcomes of STEM qualified persons holding post-secondary qualifications (VET and Higher Education). The project comprises two parts:

Part 1 – Primarily using the Census, investigate the industries, occupations, earnings, demographics and gender ratio of STEM graduates over time.

Part 2 – A suite of stand-alone sectoral analyses of themes of policy interest, collaborating with a partner organisation. Identified themes are:

  1. Employment outcomes of young Australians with STEM qualifications
  2. Outcomes for women with STEM qualifications
  3. Careers of Vocational Education and Training STEM graduates
  4. Careers of STEM PhD graduates
  5. STEM graduates in defence industries.

The intern would be expected to participate in the full spectrum of activities related to the project. This includes:

  • the generation, analysis and quality assurance of the required data;
  • a significant stakeholder engagement component, engaging with government departments, the private and not-for-profit sector.
  • drafting and publication of the report.
  • communication strategy

The intern will be supervised by a dedicated staff member within the OCS. The primary resource required is access to the Census dataset, which is available. Additional data and sources of information will also be utilised and will be identified during the course of engaging with the partner organisations for part 2 of the project (see above).

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:


  • High level analytical skills including:
    • The ability to generate, analyse and interpret statistical information
    • Data visualisation
  • High level writing and communication skills, including the ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders.


Expected Outcomes

The outcome of the project is a published report, with the expected publication date of the end of 2018. There is also potentially scope for a public launch of the report by the Chief Scientist.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 90% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

To participate in the APR.Intern program, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a PhD student currently enrolled at an Australian university
  • PhD candidature must be confirmed
  • Applicants must have the written approval of their Principal Supervisor to undertake the internship. This approval must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Internships are also subject to any requirements stipulated by the student’s and the academic mentor’s university
Applications Close

28 May 2018


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