To mark the start of NAIDOC Week CSIRO, in partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation, is launching its Indigenous science summer school program across three states.

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This summer 100 of Australia's brightest Indigenous students will experience how Indigenous knowledge and science go hand-in-hand at the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS).

Year 10 science students from across the country will come together at ASSETS to learn more about their cultural heritage as well as experiencing hands-on science with some of Australia’s top science institutions such as CSIRO, James Cook University, the University of Adelaide and the University of Newcastle.

After the success of last year's ASSETS program in Adelaide there will now be three summer schools held in two extra states.

The intake has also expanded from one group of 30 students to accommodating 100 students. The nine-day summer schools will be held in Adelaide, Newcastle and Townsville during December 2015 and January 2016.

There is no cost for students to attend with return airfares, accommodation and meals all provided.

Applications open today in line with NAIDOC Week – a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"We're very excited to be able to bring this program to more students across the country so they can learn more about their cultural background and work with the nation’s top scientists," said Marian Heard, director of the Indigenous education program at CSIRO.

Unlike other science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, ASSETS is unique in that it has a fundamental and intrinsic focus on Indigenous culture and history.

As the world's oldest continuous living cultures, Indigenous Australians are renowned for their historic and enduring high-level science inquiry skills.

"Indigenous Australians have a long history of caring for and contributing to our country scientifically and we need to leverage that for the benefit of the environment, community, industry and economy," Ms Heard said.

Improving engagement and participation of Indigenous students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is integral for creating a diverse and valuable workforce for the benefit of Australia.

"We are delighted to partner with CSIRO to help increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions.

We hope the program encourages more Indigenous students to consider a rewarding career in these areas, which will go some way to further closing the gap and recognising the important contribution Indigenous Australians make to the economy," said BHP Billiton's CEO Andrew Mackenzie.

ASSETS is part of a broader Indigenous science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program managed by CSIRO in partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation.

For more information on ASSETS and to apply, visit 2015-16 summer schools.

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  • Student sitting at a lab bench in front of a microscope.

    ASSETS student, Tain, getting hands-on experience in the lab.

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  • Two students holding pipettes at a lab bench.

    Students Morgan and Juliet in the lab at ASSETS.

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  • Students standing in front of map of Australia with locator dots stuck to it.

    Ashlei learning more about her cultural heritage at ASSETS.

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  • Group of people jumping off the ground with arms flung over their heads.

    Getting a jump on science and engineering at ASSETS.  ©Â©Andrew Barre & Andrew Barre Photography

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