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Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, launched Australia’s STEM Workforce report in March that provides an up-to-date detailed analysis of the status of Australia’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) trained workforce. The report addresses demographics and the types of occupations and industries graduates and PhDs move in to and the income they may earn.

This report is a great resource for students, and those who support students such as parents, teachers and career advisors, to inform about study and career decision-making within STEM.

A warm welcome to our new Rotary District Chairs (and sincere thanks to those who are continuing) who are now mid-way through the application and selection processes for the NYSF 2017 January Sessions. Expressions of Interest opened on 1 March for students to attend the National Youth Science Forum 2017 and applications have been steadily coming through. I strongly encourage potential applicants to not leave submitting their EoI until the last minute as there are several key steps in the process, which include talking to a local Rotary club about endorsing your application. Expressions of Interest close at midnight AEST on 31 May.

Congratulations to the 37 students from our 2016 and 2015 cohorts who have been selected to attend our 2016 International Programs. Once again the standard of applications was high, making the selection a challenge. Students will be heading off to London, Montreal, Singapore, Boston, Gottingen and Heidelberg. Our International Programs are invaluable to students with an interest in building overseas networks for future study and career opportunities.

Our Next Step programs have commenced with Brisbane and Canberra being a huge success. Thank you to our partner universities and organisations for hosting students. I must also thank student staff members Harley Gray for his help in Brisbane and Lucas Logan for his assistance with the Canberra program. Applications for our Melbourne and Sydney programs will be open soon.

Our participation in the PwC 21C Minds Accelerator Program has resulted in significant opportunities to develop our strategic direction as well as to learn more about some of the organisations also working in the STEM outreach space in Australia and explore potential for collaboration and expansion. In February, Dr Tony Wagner from Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, spent time with the 21CMinds participants and shared valuable insights and critiqued some of the thinking around the developing programs. This activity will continue to provide benefit to the NYSF as the year progresses, and we are extremely proud of our involvement. I also wish to acknowledge the NYSF’s Manager of External Relations, Amanda Caldwell’s contribution to this initiative.

I was privileged to attend the 100-year anniversary celebrations of long-term NYSF funding partner, CSL Ltd this month. This iconic Australian company has a proud history of pharmaceutical and health product development in Australia, including the manufacture of vaccines, insulin and anti-venoms. Six of our alumni are featured in this inspiring video released in conjunction with the celebrations – thanks Tayla, Meg, Kushani, Michael, Lachlan, and Charlie for agreeing to be involved. We are proud of all of our alumni, and thank you for representing them.