UNSW Sydney has received a generous $5 million gift from the Origin Foundation, Origin Energy Limited’s philanthropic arm, to assist Indigenous students to pursue a career in STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths.
The Grant King Indigenous Scholarship program will provide (in perpetuity) up to two residential scholarships each year for talented students to undertake degree studies within the faculties of Engineering or Science at UNSW. The scholarships will be open to students from anywhere in Australia.
The scholarship program is named after engineer and business executive Mr Grant King, who was instrumental in establishing the Origin Foundation, and who is a former managing director of Origin Energy Limited and the current president of the Business Council of Australia.
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said the University was thrilled to accept the generous gift.
“We are thrilled to receive such a generous gift from the Origin Foundation. It will reinforce UNSW’s commitment to working with the community to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of all we do. We are proud of the opportunities being created by Nura Gili and our residential programs like Shalom Gamarada and we are confident that an investment of this nature will have a major impact.”
The Grant King Indigenous Scholarship recipients would have the opportunity to live at Shalom College, a long-time supporter of Indigenous access to education, or at one of UNSW’s other residential colleges.
The Origin Foundation is focused on programs and partnerships that have the aim of providing educational equality. The Origin Foundation said it chose to work with UNSW because of the University’s commitment to equity and access in education, and its exceptional track record supporting Indigenous students. Through Nura Gili, its Indigenous Programs Unit, UNSW provides entry pathways for Indigenous students in all faculties and programs and supports them throughout their studies.
Associate Professor Reuben Bolt, Nura Gili director, said philanthropy had allowed UNSW to offer one of the best tertiary study environments in Australia for Indigenous students. UNSW has consistently had one of the highest retention rates of Indigenous students in Australia, many of whom were the first in their family to attend university.
“The scholarships will provide Indigenous students with dedicated time to study and realise a STEM qualification after which they will be well-positioned to change the attitudes and expectations of the next generations within their professions.”
Significantly, the scholarship recipients also would have access to mentoring opportunities from Mr King, one of Australia’s leading businessmen.
“It is truly exciting to see a scholarship program of this nature come to fruition. Investing in access to exceptional education and support for Indigenous students is crucial to our society. Mentoring a young person through their most formative years can make a significant impact on their future, and I thank both UNSW and Origin Foundation for creating this opportunity, and allowing me to take on this important mentoring role.”
The Origin Foundation Grant King Indigenous Scholarship is open for applications now.