Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education


The Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM Education recognise students, teachers, support officers, schools and education partners (volunteers, mentors and organisations) who demonstrate an outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland.

2020 marks the 17th year of the awards named after Professor Peter Doherty, a Brisbane-born Nobel Prize-winning scientist, who was educated at Indooroopilly State High School and the University of Queensland.

Nominations for 2020 are now open

Nominations are open for the 2020 Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. This year, awards will be presented across 6 categories to the value of $125,000.

The awards categories are:

  • Outstanding Senior STEM Student—$5,000 each
  • Outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Senior STEM Student—$5,000 each
  • Outstanding Teacher of STEM—$5,000 each
  • Outstanding STEM Support Officer—$5,000 each
  • STEM Education Partnership—$5,000 each
  • Outstanding School STEM—$5,000 each.

Who can apply

The awards are open to state and non-state schools in Queensland. You can apply for a Peter Doherty Award if you are a:

  • student who has completed Year 11 in a Queensland school and are currently enrolled in at least 2 approved senior science or technology or engineering or mathematics subjects from Year 12. You also need to have attained an 'A' standard of achievement or equivalent in at least 2 applicable Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority or other approved curriculum senior science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subjects, in Year 11.

  • teacher in a Queensland school who has implemented strategies to lift student performance in science or technology or engineering or mathematics, and who inspires others to ensure every student succeeds through their ongoing contributions to the learning outcomes of both students and other staff

  • school-based STEM Support Officer—scientific assistants, teacher aides or other support officers—supporting the operational aspects of a dynamic and efficient STEM school curriculum

  • school that demonstrates initiative and commitment in managing and promoting science or technology or engineering or mathematics across the whole school and within the community

  • Queensland-based education partner that encourages productive STEM partnerships with schools—tertiary, industry, business, government, research or educational institution, school volunteer, school mentor or community organisation or a cluster of schools working together on productive STEM initiatives.

As Environmental Education Centres and Outdoor Education Centres are established institutions that provide educational instruction to persons enrolled at state schools, these centres should apply for the STEM Education Partnership Awards.

Award conditions

Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by another person. Previous Peter Doherty Award recipients are not eligible to apply. Applications should not be for projects or initiatives that are the same or similar to previously submitted applications, unless the project or initiative is significantly enhanced or modified. For further information about the Peter Doherty Awards please email

How the award is used

For students, the award is to be used to:

  • undertake activities associated with tertiary STEM courses
  • attend conferences, forums or events that will extend your experiences in STEM
  • purchase equipment that can assist your learning and development in STEM
  • undertake research projects, including experience in a research laboratory.

For teachers and support officers, the award is to be used to:

  • assist you to undertake appropriate professional development activities acceptable to your principal and within the normal guidelines of your employing authority.

For schools and education partners, the award is to be used to:

  • assist in undertaking further STEM activities.

Attendance at the award ceremony

It is anticipated that the successful applicants will attend the awards ceremony. If required, travel and accommodation expenses will be paid for on behalf of the award recipients by the Department of Education. For student awards, the travel and accommodation expenses will also be paid for 2 accompanying adults if required.

How to apply

Review the relevant application guide below for each award category for information on how to apply.

View the Entrant Portal to create an account and submit your application, provide details of 2 referees, upload your signed project consent form and any other documents required for the category you are applying for.


Due to the unprecedented and important public health issue, the closing date for nominations has been extended to Thursday 30 April 2020. The Entrant Portal   will remain open until 5pm 30 April 2020.

Further information

For further information about the Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in STEM Education, please email

Last updated 20 March 2020