Young Australians will be inspired to pursue careers in engineering, technology, maths and sciences under Labor’s plan to lift teaching quality and make science and maths more engaging for students.

Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, today announced the Gillard Government’s $22.5 million Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program (AMSPP) to inspire the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

“Our economy is undergoing a major transformation and the jobs of tomorrow will demand workers with high skills, technical knowledge and advanced learning in the sciences and maths,” Senator Evans said.

“We need to inspire young Australians to stick with maths and science at school, then continue that journey at university, and into the jobs of the future.

“This new scheme will fund partnerships between universities, schools and other groups to improve maths and science teaching and learning, in schools as well as universities.

“This is about working with groups and individuals who are passionate about maths and science to share that enthusiasm with students to improve education outcomes.”

Senator Evans said the Gillard Government would continue to provide incentives for students to study mathematics, statistics and science courses and work in a related field through the HECS-HELP benefit for maths and science graduates.

“Advancing maths and science will ensure Australia remains a leader in the future global economy,” Senator Evans said.

“That’s why the Gillard Government is investing millions in maths and science initiatives from 2009 to 2013 and giving eligible maths and science graduates the ability to reduce their HELP debt.”

The program responds to recommendations of the Chief Scientist’s Mathematics, Engineering and Science in the National Interest report and will be run with the support from Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC.

In 2013, the first round of grants will provide $5.3 million to fund nation-wide priority projects. Further competitive grants rounds will be available in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to support local maths and science activities.

Priority projects will be aimed at improving teachers’ skills, increasing the number of students taking maths and science to years 11 and 12, improving student results, and encouraging more students to study science, technology, engineering and maths at university.

Examples of potentially fundable national activities include

  • curriculum or pedagogy development,
  • peer tutoring programs,
  • field trips and hands-on learning activities for school students,
  • science expos,
  • summer schools,
  • school-based teaching internships for undergraduates in relevant disciplines, or
  • teacher professional development.

Funding can also be sought to expand successful existing maths or science outreach activities.

Grant applications open on 30 December 2012 and close on 25 February 2013.

Media contacts: Minister’s office 02 6277 7580