Unique STEM education partnership boosted by ARC funding

28 June 2017

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded a $278,000 grant to research the effects of a Queensland Museum partnership delivering student outcomes in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The University of Queensland (UQ) will use the funding to undertake research on Queensland Museum’s Future Makers partnership with QGC, and work with the Department of Education and Training to develop a museum-based professional development intervention for middle years’ teachers aligned to the Australian Science Curriculum.

Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director and Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Suzanne Miller said the grant recognised the innovative partnership with QGC.

“The ARC funding is an exciting opportunity for us to prove the impact of Future Makers,” Professor Miller said.

“We know that 75 per cent of the fast-growing occupations require STEM skills and fewer high school graduates are pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines. Technology and innovation are transforming global economies and we must work to ensure a steady pipeline of STEM graduates to meet future workforce needs.

“Future Makers has helped teachers across the State improve their skills and confidence in teaching STEM and given them access to a wide range of resources and artefacts from the Queensland Museum’s State Collection.”

QGC Vice President Tony Nunan said the Future Makers partnership was an essential tool to help build expertise within STEM fields.

“Through Future Makers we have encouraged and supported more students to study STEM subjects and have seen a substantial increase in academic achievement across STEM education.” Mr Nunan said.

“We are very proud of the outcomes we’ve achieved with Queensland Museum through Future Makers and look forward to building upon them through this research grant.”

Running for three years from January 2018, the research project Community-based STEM professional learning for teachers of middle years will be conducted by Dr Kim Nichols from UQ’s School of Education, who says the grant is important to educational outcomes.

“Improving STEM workforce readiness is critical to producing a more creative society and a leading, dynamic economy,” Dr Nichols said.

Future Makers delivers professional development programs for teachers; builds school STEM education capabilities; increases student engagement with industry professionals; improves student participation and performance and aims to foster a greater appreciation of STEM within Queensland communities.

The ARC Linkage Projects scheme promotes national and international collaboration and research partnerships between key stakeholders in research and innovation. For further information visit http://www.arc.gov.au/.

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