Proposal for Growth

Victorian Centre for Gender Equity in Science (VCGES)

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WiSPP envisions a vibrant Victorian health and medical research sector which fully recognizes and utilizes women, creating equal opportunity for their advancement.

  • Victoria will thrive by utilizing the full talent base and supporting women at all levels in science. With targeted support to build upon Victoria’s strengths in science, Victoria can be at the forefront of gender equity in science.
  • We propose a Victorian Government co-investment of $1.8 M over three years, matched by the sector, to accelerate progress in gender equity, leadership, and retention.
  • Building on the success of the Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP), there is an opportunity to solve gender inequities in research through the establishment of the Victorian Centre for Gender Equity in Science (VCGES).


The Victorian Government has established the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct to highlight that medical technologies and pharmaceuticals are a priority sector with extraordinary potential to create secure high skill jobs and drive Victoria’s economic growth. The Victorian Government recognizes that gender equity is critical to prevent violence against women and to deliver the social and economic benefits that will result when all Victorians live in a safe and equal society. Addressing the issue of gender inequity in health and medical research is essential to attract and retain talent, and so enable this important sector to grow to its full potential in Victoria.

 WiSPP* MRI Workforce by Gender and Paygrade (2016)  * Doherty Institute not included

WiSPP* MRI Workforce by Gender and Paygrade (2016)

* Doherty Institute not included

The Need for Change

There is a lack of women in leadership positions
in the health and medical research sector because of a failure to retain and advance the careers of women.
While 70% of Early Career Researchers are
women, only 43% of Associate Professors and
16% of Professors are women.
It’s not a pipeline
problem – it’s a systems problem. The issue is not
so much to encourage more women into science,
but to keep them there.

An innovative model to position Victoria at the forefront of gender equity in science

Victorian Centre for Gender Equity in Science (VCGES)

Centre Part 2.JPG

Empowering the sector to eliminate gender inequity

  • Enable collective and grassroots driven clusters of institutes and organizations working to achieve gender equity in science leadership
  • Compliment and boost the existing efforts of individual organizations.
  • Create inclusive leadership development programs across organisations
  • Drive best-practice policies and processes to address gender inequality
  • Foster leadership opportunities across the sector
  • Engage with the scientific workforce to address unconscious bias, build skills and confidence to capitalize on career enabling opportunities
  • Advocate to eliminate gender bias in research funding and awards
  • Foster collaborations with regional partners to support and promote women in research

1. Track Progress: Facilitate collection of data by institutes for a state-wide database, tracking gender disparities across the state, including detailed data on equity in access to resources, career-development and leadership opportunities, and in talent and productivity assessments.

2. Test New Ideas: Through the development and testing of new ideas, develop a robust evidence base in regards to what works and what doesn’t in gender equality and evaluate the impact on both workforce composition and research and translation outcomes.

3. Shape Policy: The work of the centre in evaluating existing and new initiatives and the establishment of a state-wide database will enable government to identify key areas for reform and design evidenced-based strategies and policies to address gender inequity in the Health and Medical Research sector and more broadly.

A state-wide network of locally acting gender equity
clusters supported by the VCGES

Further Victorian clusters of Medical Research Organization will be enabled to develop specific and targeted interventions to better understand and address the impediments for the career progression of women in medical research.


  • Support a second metropolitan cluster in the Alfred Research and Education Precinct (AMREP).
  • Groundwork for the development of other clusters with a priority focus on leveraging existing networks to initiate a Biomedical Industry Cluster.
  • Develop metrics frameworks and begin developing systems for collection of data for institutional use and as a state-wide database.
  • Initiate research and evaluation projects.


  • Develop further metropolitan and regional clusters.
  • Complete development of metrics frameworks and systems for data collection for a state-wide database.
  • Continue research and evaluation projects.


  • All clusters established and operating.
  • Metrics frameworks in place.
  • Systems for collection of data for a state-wide database operational.
  • Lessons from the pilot will provide a model for collaborative action that can be extended throughout the wider sector.

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