Physics research centre launches pilot program to increase STEM participation in low socio-economic schools

TMOS, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optics Systems is launching a pilot program this week designed to encourage more students in low socio-economic schools to enter physics and engineering careers.

The senior physics cohort from Bankstown Girls High School, along with a group of gifted and talented students from younger year levels, will visit the Centre’s University of Technology Sydney (UTS) team for a day where they will have the opportunity to perform experiments not possible in a classroom and be introduced to real-world physicists and engineers who will give them insight into what careers in STEM are like.

TMOS Outreach Director, Professor Igor Aharonovich, says, “Only a few students are choosing to study physics in senior years of high school and fewer still go on to study physics and STEM subjects at a university. We at UTS and TMOS hope to be role models and provide information about careers in STEM and show how exciting it can be! This is particularly true for girls, which is why students will work with a diverse group of researchers. We hope our Senior STEM Engagement Program will address some of the barriers our communities face and increase participation in STEM.”

To show their support of this initiative, the UTS School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences has opened its laboratories to the collaboration. The Head of School, Professor Steve Langford says “Encouraging students with an aptitude for the physical sciences is so important to understanding the world around us and to service new industries that will harness the power of quantum technology in years to come.”

The Centre plans to roll out the Senior STEM Engagement Program at all five of its universities in 2024, providing opportunities for low SES schools across Australia to participate.

Centre Director, Professor Dragomir Neshev, says, “Outreach is a key pillar of the Centre’s values. As a publicly funded organization, we are committed to providing opportunities for growth and development at all levels of physics. The Senior STEM Engagement Program is the latest in a series of Centre initiatives that also includes primary school workshops designed to meet the year 5 national curriculum.”

For more information about the Centre pilot program, please contact

About the author/s

Camilla Gazzana

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Technology Sydney in 2015, before commencing my postgraduate studies in 2017, also at UTS. My current area of research involves investigating the interactions between gold nanoparticles and bacteria for sensing purposes. During my studies, I ... more

Igor Aharonovich

Igor Aharonovich received his B.Sc (2005) and M.Sc (2007) in Materials Eng from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology under the supervision of Prof Yeshayahu Lifshitz. He then moved to Australia and pursued his PhD studies at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Prof Steven ... more

Recommended News

View all news
Category/s: News, Outreach