Regional Girls Innovation Challenge

‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ 

(Past Program: March - June 2018)


Program Overview

The Regional Girls Innovation Challenge was a collaboration between WiSPP, STEM Sisters, and BrainSTEM in response to the limited number of female role models in STEM across regional Victoria. The program provided an opportunity for high school students to explore the journey of scientific discovery alongside a WiSPP institute mentor in a research environment. The goal was to transform the future of innovation and science by inspiring young women to become the next generation of scientists.   

The Teams

Thirteen teams from eight Gippsland high schools participated in the challenge. Each team consists of four or five students who worked together on a scientific and innovative project.

The Mentors

Our mentors were postdocs and PhD students from various institutes. The program offered a fantastic opportunity for professional development, science communication and mentoring experience.


"Young minds come up with different ideas. They actually solved a problem in my research. It was really rewarding to see how energized they were about science at the end of the program"

-Former Participant in Innovation Challenge

The Structure

Teams and mentors were paired up for the duration of the 12 week challenge. The students visited Parkville Precinct during the kickstarter and midway points. Mentors had weekly catch-up sessions with their teams to help guide their progress. Final presentations were held in June to recognize the students' achievements. 


Project Themes for 2018

The students were encouraged to pick ideas from their local community as potential projects they would like to work on with their mentors who are also aligned with proposed themes of Latrobe Health Assembly: 

  • Pride of Place · Build confidence, esteem and celebration in the community · Increase community connectedness and engage the disengaged · Help improve the quality of the natural and built environments · Enhance Latrobe Valley community reputation · Build community support and improve community safety · Increasing employment / Education opportunities

  • Make the Move · Promote participation and incidental activity for high risk groups · Improve opportunities and environments for physical activity · Increase knowledge of importance of physical activity · Promote healthy eating · Improve opportunities and environments for healthy eating

  • Children, Family & Young People · Promote good health to get the best possible start in life · Improve early learning outcomes · Support families in need and the welfare of children and youth · Raise awareness and support for mental health conditions

  • Chronic Illness & Wellness · Improve the continuity of care for people with chronic conditions · Prevent chronic illness developing and further problems occurring · Support those with and developing mental health conditions · Help people with chronic conditions to live life to the full