Science for the People – New Victorian Government Support for the Inspiring Victoria Program

The Victorian Department of Education and Training has confirmed funding of $200K per annum for the Royal Society of Victoria to manage the Inspiring Victoria program from 2023-26.

Mike Flattley, Tien Kieu and Rob Gell outsite the Royal Society of Victoria's building
Mr Mike Flattley, Dr Tien Kieu MP and Rob Gell AM

“The Royal Society of Victoria is a vital organisation that facilitates advancing STEMM literacy to Victorians. I will always advocate for promoting these goals. The Victorian Government is honoured to support such a pursuit from a historical organisation that has a longstanding commitment to making Victoria the best place it can be, both now and in the future. – Dr Tien Kieu MP, Victoria’s STEM Education Ambassador

“Our philosophy is that if we want a young person, particularly from disadvantaged circumstances, to achieve good educational and employment outcomes in the near future, or open broader employment options for young adults against the currents of their cultural and economic context, then we need to foster STEMM literacy in the lives of whole communities.” – Mike Flattley, CEO of the Royal Society of Victoria

The Hon Natalie Hutchins MP

The Royal Society of Victoria was delighted to receive confirmation in late September from the Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, the State of Victoria’s Minister for Education and Minister for Women, of funding support from the Victorian Government for the Inspiring Victoria program. This represents our State’s contribution to a unique partnership between Commonwealth and State Governments to address the nation’s scientific literacy and capacity.

Inspiring Victoria is the State of Victoria’s delivery of the nation-wide Inspiring Australia program, which draws program funding through the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources to engage Australian communities in lifelong learning, citizen science initiatives and school extension programs concerned with attaining literacy in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). It includes delivery of one of Australia’s longest-running annual community festivals, National Science Week.

The Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) has been delivering the Inspiring Victoria program to communities across rural, regional, and metropolitan Victoria since 2018 as the state-based host institution and has been instrumental in establishing and sustaining the partnership between the State and the Commonwealth.

“Inspiring Victoria does what it says on the tin,” says Mike Flattley, the RSV’s CEO and manager of the State-based program. “It inspires Victorians to engage with the utility of science to drive beneficial change.”

“In the spirit of ‘it takes a village,’ we deliver the program as a whole of family educational initiative, involving people across the State in new developments in STEMM through a community development modality, focusing on the utility of scientific methods to help all of us confront the challenges facing us today and in the near future, at the local level.”

Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes AM is the Victorian Government’s Chair of the Inspiring Victoria Partnership Board, comprised of senior community engagement representatives from Museums Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the Parliament of Victoria, the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, and the community knowledge networks sustained by Public Libraries Victoria and Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.

RSV President Rob Gell AM emphasises the Royal Society of Victoria’s unique value proposition in coordinating the program. “The RSV is an NGO with a mission to promote and advance science in Victoria, which is perfectly aligned with the aims of the Inspiring Australia Program. We are commercially neutral, so we can freely involve all Victorian research and teaching institutions in our programs without competitive concerns over branding, rankings and student recruitment numbers, and scientists from our public knowledge institutions without worrying about meeting annual goals for visitation rates and ticketing revenues.”

Dr Tien Kieu MP signs in to the Royal Society of Victoria’s historic membership register in the Cudmore Library. Before entering Parliament, Tien was a researcher in quantum physics, including fundamentals and quantum computing. He is still an adjunct professor at Swinburne University in the area of theoretical physics and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics.
Tien was prompted to run for Parliament to contribute to public life and shape policies by using his life experience as a refugee and his strong background in science and mathematics.

“We are most grateful to Dr Tien Kieu for his tireless advocacy for the Inspiring Victoria program as Victoria’s STEM Education Ambassador, and to Minister Hutchins for recognising the importance of a program that takes some of the pressure off our schools and teachers in a time of great challenge to our education system. We invite engagement and collaboration with all educators looking for ways to extend and enhance the experience of their students, and mentors who can help our young people navigate an increasingly challenging future with the reassurance of a supportive network of leaders in industry, academia and the community.”

You can keep up to date with grant opportunities, upcoming events and science engagement news under the Inspiring Victoria program by subscribing to the mailing list hosted on the Royal Society of Victoria’s website.

From 2023 to 2026, the Inspiring Victoria program represents a collaboration between the Royal Society of Victoria, the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources, and the Victorian Department of Education and Training.