STEM Associations and Societies Review

Location: Canberra, VIC

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: July 2018

Keywords: Data collection, data analysis, applied economics, interpersonal skills, communication, project management

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

Project Background

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) organisations, associations and societies play a vital role in Australia’s science and technology success. Apart from providing a collective voice for the STEM professionals they represent, they work to provide professional development, recognition of excellence, access to expertise for decision making and policy making, funding and scholarships for cutting edge research, and much more.

Some organisations are thriving in the current environment, while others are struggling to grow their membership. To aide in their growth, and to measure and share the nation’s best practice, Science & Technology Australia (STA) is looking to identify the following:
• factors behind the success or decline of representative societies and associations in the science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields
• how diversity and inclusion policies and practices correlate with abovementioned success, stagnation or decline of such organisations
• pathways and tools for communicating positive change to build future value and provide opportunities to improve success

This work is to be conducted in consultation with STA member organisations and other societies and associations relevant to the STEM sector. STA intends to release a report to summarise the research findings, and develop a suite of resources and workshops to support associations and societies to grow their membership.

STA are looking for an intern that would be confident building surveys and questionnaires, conducting interviews, collating and analysing the resulting quantitative and qualitative data, and writing the final report in consultation with STA staff.
Time permitting, they would also like this intern to work on the foundational development of the resources and workshops aimed at accentuating the strengths of successful associations and societies, and workshops to support staff upskilling.

Research to be Conducted

STA would like to achieve the following:

1. Demonstrating value to Australian society
• To report on the state of Australian STEM associations and societies, with a focus on the key areas of diversity, economic & societal contributions, and member growth, and provide concrete evidence of successful strategies

2. Improving diversity and inclusion across the STEM sector
• To access and report on diversity and inclusion data, policies and practices of STEM societies and associations, including the gender profile of membership, awardees, advisory boards, event programs and committees, and their correlation with self-reported measures of success

3. Insights for evolution and growth
• To demonstrate how best-practice approaches to managing societies and associations support meaningful contributions to a thriving STEM sector
• To use the findings of the investigation as a basis for composing best-practice diversity and inclusion guidelines and pathways for STEM member organisations
• To highlight how good diversity and inclusion practices impact on STEM member organisations
• To demonstrate how joining a thriving professional society or association can be beneficial for individual career pathways, employers, and creating opportunities for disciplinary growth

The resources needed to achieve this would be access to the STA network of members and potential members, (to be provided by STA). Survey software and communications support is also available, and there is scope for limited funding for additional tools to enhance this research

Skills Required

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

• Data collection and analysis
• Qualitative data research
• Project management
• A broad understanding of applied economics
• Strong interpersonal oral and written communications skills
• MS Office suite

Expected Outcomes

STA would like to achieve the following at the conclusion of the internship:
1. Development and execution of an online survey targeting STEM representative associations and societies
2. Facilitation of a series of one-on-one interviews with leaders from STEM representative associations and societies
3. A formal report summarising findings. (1 November deadline)
4. A framework to assist STEM societies and associations to assess their success against best-practice benchmarks established in the report, and understand how and where they can improve their success rates. (deadline end of 2018)
5. Sufficient material to support STA to develop resources (such as guidelines) and implementation workshops based on the report findings, with the aim to assist STEM member organisations to improve their performance across all relevant areas (deadline end of 2018)

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 80% 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

 22 June 2018


INT – 0446