Origin Energy’s philanthropic arm, Origin Foundation, has given $5 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to assist Indigenous students pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) fields.
The Grant King Indigenous Scholarship program will take up to two residential scholarships each year for students undertaking degrees in engineering or science faculties at UNSW.
The program was named after engineer and business executive Grant King, former managing director of Origin Energy, who played a role in creating Origin Foundation.
King is the current president of the Business Council of Australia and scholarship recipients will have access to mentoring opportunities with him.
“Investing in access to exceptional education and support for Indigenous students is crucial to our society,” Kind said. “Mentoring a young person through their most formative years can make a significant impact on their future.”
UNSW president and vice chancellor professor Ian Jacobs welcomed the scholarships, which align with the university’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
“It will reinforce UNSW’s commitment to working with community to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of all we do,” Jacobs said.
The scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to live at Shalom College, a long-time support of Indigenous access to education, or live at any other UNSW residential college.
Associate professor Reuben Bolt, director of UNSW’s Indigenous Programs Unit, Nura Gili, said UNSW has the highest retention rate 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,” he said.