Mater Research announces grants for Outstanding Women

Monday 06 March 2017

To mark International Women’s Day, Mater Research has announced the introduction of strategic grants to support the work of outstanding female researchers at Mater.

In recognition that there are significantly less women in lead investigator roles and senior academic positions, the grants will provide funding for two awards per year, with each award providing $45 000 per annum for two years to support the research and career progression of high potential female researchers at Mater.

Chair of the Gender Equity Working Group at Mater Research Associate Professor Allison Pettit said the initiative had been implemented as a step forward in closing the research and academic gender gap.

“The intention of the grant scheme is to provide a flexible injection of funds to substantially bolster the recipient’s track record through increasing research productivity and profile, which will better position them for success in external funding schemes,” Dr Pettit said.

“The grants also demonstrate that Mater Research is strategically investing in the success of the awardees, which in itself provides a boost to their professional standing.”

As an internationally recognised researcher, A/Prof Pettit has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has been awarded over $3 million in competitive grant funding as lead investigator during her career.  She has been recognised for her work in dendritic cell biology, rheumatology, osteoimmunology and haematology.

“It’s been a struggle to continue my research career after having children, achieving a viable work-life balance is difficult,” A/Prof Pettit said.

“At Mater Research we are dedicated to being proactive about gender equity given the clear challenges on this front in the academic and biomedical research sector.”

“The barriers for women are multifactorial but motherhood and many women being the primary carer coupled with being a clinician and/or a researcher is demanding.  It is hard to balance these competing demands and stay competitive in the research space.  Research can be quite unforgiving and the attrition rate is high for women.

“Other barriers involved include an indication that there is unconscious bias within the sector towards female academics and that, in a peer review system, women can be selected against by panels that are often male dominated.”

“That’s why it is so fitting that we should announce these new grants on International Women’s Day—a day to celebrate the achievements of women the world over.”

The new internal funding scheme represents a significant investment in the Mater Research female academic workforce and marks a great step forward in alleviating gender bias barriers and in promoting the research productivity and career progression of the awardees.

“The successful awardees designate how they will use their grant as the circumstances of each person will be different.  The funding could be used to employ someone to help them with research administration and compliance, to generate extra data to get them closer to achieving their research objectives, or perhaps to present at conferences to grow their research reputation. The beauty of this funding is its flexibility,” A/Prof Pettit said.

Applications open on 6 March 2017 and close on 3 April 2017 with grants expected to be announced in the first week of May 2017.

Please refer to the guidelines for details on the assessment process and to view the selection and eligibility criteria

To apply, please complete the following application form and submit your application via email by 5pm on Monday 3 April 2017.

Further information regarding the Mater Research Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women may be obtained from the Research development via email or by contacting the team on 07 3163 6301.