The Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowship Program will see 10 early career researchers, employed by universities and public research organisations, work fulltime for two-to-three years on a research project identified and led by the SME, helping it solve technical challenges and drive competitive advantages for the business.
At the same time the Fellowships will provide practical experience in industry for ECRs, creating and sustaining a cohort of researchers capable of addressing national challenges.
The Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowships are provided through funding from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) supported by a generous Gift from the late Ross Metcalf with additional support from the CSIRO Gift, and will be administered by CSIRO's SME Connect team.
Ross Metcalf lived and worked in Western Australia where, following studies at UWA, his skills as an industrial chemist were applied with great benefit to the mining industry.
He was a life-long lover of science, advocate of Australian industrial research; and an inventor who sought practical solutions to chemical, mechanical and electrical challenges.
Acknowledging his wishes, the Metcalf STEM+ Business Program will strive to "foster a sustainable future for the country and interesting careers for future generations" while advancing areas of research with a "realistic chance of commercial payback".
These Fellowships will build on the success of the SIEF STEM+ Business Fellowship program that has so far provided $8 Million to support 32 early career researchers delivering 86 full-time years of research worth $24 Million for their SME partners.
"The family is pleased to see the Metcalf Gift helping boost the careers of STEM professionals by connecting them to Australian industry projects.
"Uncle Ross would be very satisfied that this will support outcomes that promote science as a key part of our country's future," said Jenny Mazurek, niece of Ross Metcalf.
Dr Anita Hill Executive Director, Future Industries at CSIRO is excited to see the launch of the Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowship Program.
"Delivered through our SME Connect initiative, this SIEF program will further strengthen ties between Australian SMEs and the research sector by supporting focussed solutions to technical challenges that will lead to enhanced commercial outcomes, as well as providing significant applied research experience for early career researchers," Dr Hill said.
The program will be facilitated by CSIRO's SME Connect team. SME Connect acts as a single point of contact for SMEs to interact with the Australian research sector. It helps Australian businesses overcome potential barriers to innovation through dollar-matched funding and support programs that link businesses with the expertise and facilities of Australia's best research organisations.
Delivered as a part of this initiative, the Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowships will:
- build deep connection and collaboration between universities/research organisations and SMEs that allow for knowledge flow between research and industry sectors
- accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technologies by Australian SMEs
- fast track solutions to increase the competitiveness of Australian SMEs
- elevate the significance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines as skills and capabilities central to industrial competitiveness.
The ECR Fellow is supported by the expertise of their resident university or research organisation, with mentorship from their industry partner.
The Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowship Program was officially launched by Dr Marcus Zipper, Director of CSIRO's Challenges and Digital Transformation Office, at a SIEF STEM+ Business Day in Clayton, Victoria. Members of the Metcalf family were in attendance.
Applications will be accepted by CSIRO from 2 December. More information on the program including the application form can be found at STEM+ Business.