Indigenous research, engagement and inclusion

How the Faculty of Science is working to lead Indigenous research, engagement and inclusion through a shared endeavour to expand human scientific knowledge.

Indigenous Strategic Plan

The Faculty’s 2019–2022 Indigenous Strategic Plan outlines how we will deliver on our ambitions in the areas of Indigenous employment, students, and research.

Faculty of Science staff can access the full Indigenous Strategic Plan on the staff intranet

Michael-Shawn Fletcher

I am committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of all Indigenous Australians. The Faculty of Science has a key role to play in this endeavour through robust research partnerships and engagement with communities. My role is to foster new and bolster existing efforts to both empower Indigenous communities and help make the University of Melbourne a more inclusive place for Indigenous people.

Dr Michael-Shawn Fletcher, the Faculty of Science’s Assistant Dean (Indigenous)

Community of Practice for Indigenous Engagement in Science

This group provides a network to foster collaboration and sharing of experiences and practices by Faculty staff and Indigenous partners and communities. It aims to support:

  • The inclusion and agency of Indigenous staff and students in Faculty initiatives involving Indigenous peoples, knowledges and/or cultures
  • Staff and student capacity to engage with Indigenous peoples, knowledges and cultures
  • A collaborative and coordinated approach to including Indigenous peoples, knowledges and cultures across all aspects of the Faculty’s activities
  • Opportunities to learn from best practice and experiences of members.

Indigenous research

We aim to increase the visibility of Indigenous research through contributions to Indigenous knowledges and collaborations with Indigenous communities, contributing to projects of importance to their lives and aspirations.

The Faculty commits to:

  • Supporting its academic staff to develop the skills to engage in meaningful and respectful partnerships
  • Resourcing activities that will lead to new or strengthened partnerships
  • Fostering the research excellence of Indigenous staff.

Among our current initiatives:

  • We support the Tiwi Land Council Science Reference Committee, which involves researchers from across the Faculty and receives support from the Dean’s Strategic Fund
  • The School of Physics hosts a specialist in Indigenous Astronomy and Science.
Indigenous rangers and University of Melbourne academic staff mingle at a workshop.
Indigenous rangers from the Kimberley and Faculty of Science academics took part in the University of Melbourne Indigenous science workshop, Reconciliation Week 2019. Photo: Annette Ruzicka.

Engaging Indigenous students

We are actively working to increase the pool of talented young Indigenous Australians capable of becoming future leaders in science, technology, engineering and maths.

We offer the Bachelor of Science (Extended) program – a 4-year course especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who may not meet the regular Bachelor of Science entry requirements.

To foster enthusiasm about science, we offer the Residential Indigenous Science Experience (RISE) – a free week-long camp for year 9 and 10 students from all over Australia.

We thank Agilent Technologies for their generous support of many of the opportunities we offer Indigenous students.

More about Indigenous students in Science

Indigenous employment plan

Our strategic goal is to increase the number of Indigenous Australian staff employed across all University sectors to at least population parity (3.3%) by 2022.

To this end, we are a long-term participant in the Melbourne Indigenous Professional Employment Program.

We also aim to identify pathways to include Indigenous Australian experts who have experience and expertise outside formal University education among our academic teaching and research staff.

Indigenous perspectives in curricula

We require all course and subject curriculum reviews to consider integration of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.

Engagement with Murrup Barak

We work closely with Murrup Barak, the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, on our initiatives in teaching, learning and research.