STEM funding hits the bot for Perth high schoolers

HighFive2 (860 × 480px)

Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic has high-fived the future, announcing a grant that will see Murdoch and Curtin universities bring robotics innovation to West Australian high school students.

The partners will use almost $60,000 to develop exciting new robotics demonstrations and displays, and support activities such as competing in the WA Robotics Playoffs Innovation Challenge and 24-Hour Robot Build.

One of 22 Maker Projects - community STEM engagement grants - announced by Mr Husic, the money will also help fund the purchase of advanced agricultural robotic platforms to be used in competitions, for teaching and research, and lent to schools to use for their own curriculum.

Murdoch University robotics competition coordinator Dr David Berryman said robotics and automation will play an increasingly important role in the Australian economy, and there will be significant demand for skilled employees to support agriculture, mining, defence and other industry sectors.

“Murdoch University has a very strong agricultural focus and through my work in the WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre I have seen the importance that agricultural technologies will play in the future of Australian agriculture, especially in the Wheatbelt areas of WA,” he said.

RobotGrant2 (860 × 480px) (1)

SABC Director Professor Rajeev Varshney said the funding would help efforts in attracting and retaining students in agriculture.

“We will be working with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Curtin University and other partners in promoting agricultural careers to students to benefit both the next generation and Australia’s agricultural economy,” he said.

After making the announcement at Murdoch University on Wednesday, Mr Husic tried his hand at controlling Scorpion, a fast-moving 50kg machine with pneumatic arms that can lift and hold objects.

The robot was designed and built in just six weeks by high schoolers who are being supported and mentored by Curtin University students in the lead-up to the FIRST Robotics Competition in Wollongong next week.

Mr Husic said the aim of the grant was to foster creativity and inquiry-based learning for young people.

“WA is keen to grow its pool of young talent and supporting their interests in technologies covering everything from coding to robots,” he said.

“Robotics and automation will play an increasingly important role in supporting Australian manufacturing and there will also be significant demand for skilled employees in these areas to support mining, agriculture, defence and other industry sectors.

“We need to think ahead about what will create jobs in our economy, backing young talent here is an important part in that.”

Posted on:

3 Mar 2023

Share this article:

Food Futures Institute

Research at the Food Futures Institute is improving the accessibility and availability of sufficient, safe, sustainably produced and nutritious food around the world.

Learn more about our research.

Get in Touch

For media enquiries, please email or call +61 8 9360 2858.


Show your support

Clap to show your support for the article