Major boost for STEM-focused university places for SA

The Commonwealth Government will provide more than 1000 additional STEM-focused university places in SA from next year, to support South Australia’s endeavours in building nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarines.

The Commonwealth’s commitment will see South Australia receive more than a quarter of the 4001 new additional STEM places announced nationwide.

The 1030 new places in SA represents an increase of 230 on the commitment first secured by the South Australian Government in a Cooperation Agreement with the Commonwealth in the wake of the AUKUS pact announcement in March. The decision will see 700 of the STEM places be delivered by the University of Adelaide, while Flinders University will deliver 330.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries Susan Close said the announcement was a huge vote of confidence in our state’s ability to both train a highly skilled workforce and manufacture these highly complex machines.

“These places mean we can immediately start building the skilled workforce that will sustain our existing and future defence capabilities,” Minister Close said.

To receive the additional STEM places, universities were assessed against a range of criteria, including their plans to support the expansion of enrolment levels and initiatives to increase participation of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

The University of Adelaide received the largest number of places allocated to any university under the announcement, allocated $38,634,835 between 2024 and 2030 to deliver an additional 700 Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs).

Vice Chancellor and President of The University of Adelaide Professor Peter Høj AC said the university was pleased to receive this commitment of funding from the Federal Government to help train the defence workforce of the future.

“This is a massive endorsement of the University’s capability to support the Australian Government’s plans to become a nuclear-powered defence-force under the AUKUS program,” Professor Høj said.

“The University will lead developments in defence-related education as well as invest in research and research infrastructure to support the training of the best and brightest minds.”

Flinders University has also welcomed the decision with Vice-Chancellor Professor Stirling saying the Commonwealth’s investment of over $28 million in Flinders places was recognition of the University’s leadership and innovation in AUKUS education and research.

“Flinders is proud to be at the forefront of developing Australia’s AUKUS capability and workforce and is ready to support the nuclear-powered submarine program through an expansion of our teaching, research and innovation programs,” Professor Stirling said.

It follows a number of initiatives by Flinders to play its part in growing South Australia’s pipeline of job-ready graduates, including entering agreements with The University of Rhode Island and The University of Manchester to enhance research and education activities in nuclear science and technology and striking a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Naval Undersea Warfare Centre (NUWC).

Learn more about the Australian Government’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Student Pathways

Read the media release


Image courtesy of Marketing and Recruitment, University of Adelaide.