Melbourne: An Indian-origin biotechnologist has been appointed to the Australian government’s expert panel to boost diversity and increase women’s participation in STEM sectors.
Associate Professor Parwinder Kaur, a University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute Fellow, who hails from Nawanshahr, Punjab, will draw on years of experience as a scientist, academic and immigrant to support diversity in Australia’s STEM sectors.
“Being a woman and immigrant navigating academia and industry I have deep lived experience of the biases and invisible hurdles that are out there which we all need to work on to not only increase participation in STEM but also retention,” Kaur said in a University of Western Australia statement.
The three-member panel for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review has been appointed by Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic, and it will report its findings and make recommendations to the government in late 2023.
Kaur will serve alongside chair Sally-Ann Williams, a leader in the technology and entrepreneurial space, and Mikaela Jade, a Cabrogal woman of the Dharug-speaking nations of Sydney.
Kaur, who is currently the Director of DNA Zoo Australia, also leads cross-disciplinary biotechnology research investigating Earth’s biodiversity and natural environments to ensure sustainable futures.
She was recognised in 2013 for her substantial contributions to biotechnology and scientific excellence by the prestigious ‘Science and Innovation Award’ by the Australian Academy of Sciences.
In 2019, she won the Microsoft’s AI for Earth award, and was a finalist in Western Australia’s Innovator of the Year in 2022.