Over the life of the Foundation, it has received a number of requests for special purpose grants, which may not fall within the annual grant program. Where funding has been available and appropriate submissions have been approved by the Foundation, special grants have been awarded.
In 2017 the Foundation responded to a request from In2science which is an innovative program which increases student engagement in maths and science by placing volunteer university students as peer mentors in year 8 and 9 classes. In2science is a La Trobe University led collaboration with the University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Swinburne University of Technology. The aims of the program are to increase engagement and the number of school students in science and maths to year 12 and beyond, to improve student outcomes in science and maths and to foster links between universities and schools.
The grant made by the Foundation will be used to develop and expand the quality and range of professional development for the in2science mentors. The funding will enable the employment of a dedicated staff member to tailor the development activities to the needs and benefit of the volunteer mentors.
Following the effective utilisation of the special grant made to In2science in 2017 a decision was made by the Foundation to allocate further grants in respect of the 2018 and 2019 years.
In 2019 an application for assistance was received from the Young Scientist Committee which is a major project of the Science Teachers Association of New South Wales. The STANSW Young Scientist Awards are one of two Australian Fairs that are affiliated with the world’s largest STEM competition called the International Science and Engineering Fair which attracts 1800 of the top science and technology students.
The STANSW Young Scientist team has competed in the Fair some twenty times and achieved great success. The Foundation agreed to provide a one-off grant to assist defray some of the considerable expenses involved in travelling to California. The plan was to send a team of 9 students to Anaheim in May of 2020. Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 health crisis the event had to be cancelled. It has been agreed that the grant provided by the Foundation would be rolled over to the next scheduled International Science and Engineering Fair.