Grant quantum leap for women in STEM

The University of Western Australia will help enhance female participation in modern quantum science through Quantum Girls, a Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship project.

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources announced funding of $879,000 to support the project.

The project is designed to address a skills shortage and gender imbalance in STEM that leads to many women missing out on the opportunity to participate in some of the most innovative and exciting jobs of the future.

Quantum Girls expands on the success of UWA’s Einstein-First Project which aimed to redesign, evaluate and optimise school science across all education levels to reflect the modern understanding of space, time, matter and the universe.

The project aims to train 200 female teachers, who will then teach quantum science and quantum computing to 11-15 year old girls. It will feature group activity-based learning, short teacher-instruction videos, and female role models who will inspire students through national Quantum-Girls hackathons and Quantum-Girls after school STEM clubs.

Through QUISA, UWA’s quantum computing centre directed by Professor Jingbo Wang, the project will provide students with hands-on experience in operating one of the world’s first educational quantum computers.

Quantum Girls is a collaboration between QUISA and the Einstein-First Project directed by Emeritus Professor David Blair, from UWA’s School of Physics, Mathematics and Computing.

“The project will use games and toys and lasers and real quantum computers to enable students to develop the quantum intuition needed for understanding almost everything around us,” Professor Blair said.

The project will be supported by Education and Training Manager Ann Backhaus from Pawsey Supercomputer Research Centre, Bloom — UWA’s Centre for Youth innovation, QUECWA, and industry partners including Peter Rossdeutscher, Chair of Quantum Technology Exchange.

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