Photo: BOC South Pacific Engineering Coordinator Ruth Aisi (left) and Cylinder Asset Management Supervisor Chung Papi (right) in PNG. Credit: BOC.


Homeward Bound today announced a new scholarship supported by BOC that will provide one woman with a background in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Medicine) the opportunity to participate in the ground-breaking Homeward Bound leadership initiative.

The full scholarship is open to women across the South Pacific region including Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, New Zealand or Australia – to participate in a 12-month virtual leadership program and life-changing voyage to Antarctica.

BOC South Pacific Managing Director John Evans said the Homeward Bound program is an important leadership initiative that supports the next generation of talent working in STEMM industries.

“BOC is committed to embracing diversity and inclusion to attract, develop and retain the best talent and build high performance teams,” Mr Evans says.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Homeward Bound to provide the opportunity for one woman in STEMM to develop leadership skills and be part of a growing network of professionals working to solve critical challenges across the South Pacific region.

“BOC encourages applicants particularly those in PNG and Solomon Islands to take advantage of this life-changing scholarship opportunity.”

Homeward Bound founder Fabian Dattner says important and generous donations such as BOC’s can make a huge impact.

“Scholarships for Homeward Bound participants are an effective and direct way to make a big contribution to addressing challenges facing the South Pacific region including climate change and the need for more diverse leadership,” Ms Dattner says.

“BOC’s commitment to funding a scholarship will change the life of a woman in one of these countries.”

All applicants who meet the following criteria set by the Homeward Bound Scholarships committee will be considered for the scholarship:

  1. A woman from a country most affected by climate change (filtered by CRI Ranking from the Global Climate Risk Index);
  2. who is economically least likely to pay (filtered by the World Bank Income Index);
  3. and is most able to contribute to change – knowledge and influence, and could make a material difference, if she had community support.

Once scholarship applications have been ranked according to the criteria above, the scholarship committee then considers each application according to the applicant’s ability to contribute to change.

Homeward Bound’s vision is to support and engage a 10,000-strong global collaboration of women with a STEMM background to lead, influence and contribute to decision-making as it informs the future of the planet by 2036.

Every year around 100 successful applicants – who will all be in, or thinking of taking up, leadership roles with a deep personal commitment to the greater good – commit to a 12-month virtual leadership program.

The leadership program is designed to enhance the leadership, strategic and visibility skills of participants, as well as an understanding of and connection to science and collaboration, including science communication skills. At the end of the online program, the women all voyage to Antarctica.

Homeward Bound CEO Pamela Sutton-Legaud says the scholarship will help increase diversity and inclusion in the global women in STEMM leadership program.

“We need to support women with a background in STEMM to help solve the world’s most urgent problems,” Ms Sutton-Legaud says.

“If there was ever a time in human history when we need the best and brightest at the table, it is now.

“We need to see leadership happen at all levels of the government and industry – local, state and federal – and to be vocal about the need to raise the visibility of women in leadership, particularly women with a background in STEMM.”

The inaugural Homeward Bound voyage took place in 2016 and almost 600 women, representing over 50 nationalities, have so far completed the program.

Gabriela Sardinha is a Geography PhD student from Brazil and a member of Homeward Bound 6 who received a Latin American & Carribean States Scholarship provided by a member of Homeward Bound 3, Anabella Palacios, last year.

“Receiving the scholarship meant that I could focus only on what really matters in HB: my development along my fellow sisters,” she says.

“It really made a difference, leading me to one of the best professional moments so far, being awarded a mobility grant in the Mission Atlantic project, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”

Debatri Chattopadhyay, a PhD Student in Astrophysics from Homeward Bound 6 received a scholarship provided by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation last year.

“While initially overjoyed to have been accepted to Homeward Bound, I was quite worried about the financial side of things,” she says.

“Being a fulltime student, I had neither much savings nor could my parents support me, the currency value of my home being very different.

“Even after my host institution OzGrav (the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery) supported me by a significant portion of the online training fees, some part of it was still due.

“To my immense relief Homeward Bound scholarship came to my aid.

“The whole support I received not only allowed me to participate in the program and develop my leadership skills, the guidance also allowed me to concentrate and complete a children’s book on Women in Physics: Colouring Book in collaboration with Isobel Romero-Shaw, another Team HB6 participant.

“The book, which has wonderful illustrations by Isobel and my research on the biography tells the life and science of women from different times and places, designed to encourage more children to pursue their dream. It was my way of conveying gratitude to the society that has guided me so far, and the support from Homeward Bound that made it possible.”

Yurong Yu, a Chinese PhD candidate in Environmental Policy Research from Homeward Bound 6 also received a scholarship from the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation last year.

“Thanks to the scholarship, I participated in Homeward Bound 6, which made my confidence has grown as a leader, and I’ve since created an academic showcase that brings together researchers who share an interest in the environment at Imperial College (London),” she says.

“I believe this is only a start of my journey, as a female leader.”

Applications for the eighth year of the program open on October 11, 2022, when an additional 100 women with a STEMM background will be selected to take part. Applications close on November 8, 2022.

Donate to the Homeward Bound Scholarship Fund. Apply for #TeamHB8 on our website.

Edited by Diane Nazaroff