Here at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at UNSW we have a proud cohort of women on our teaching and research staff who are each hugely successful in their own right, and who are excited to welcome the next generation of women and nonbinary-identifying students looking to embark on their renewable energy engineering career with us, at all levels.


We pride ourselves at SPREE on our diverse and inclusive community, where women of all ages, from high school students all the way up to postgraduate, are encouraged and mentored in pursuit of their engineering career goals in renewable energy and sustainability. A career in our field is an opportunity to work on solving large-scale problems that have a tangible and meaningful impact on improving the planet for all of us. We’d love for you to join us!


There is an exciting scholarship opportunity from ATSE: Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering, available to all women and non-binary students who are looking to undertake a new course of tertiary study. The Elevate Program offers funding in three areas: for new undergraduate students, postgraduate research students working with industry, and for mid-career engineers looking to further develop their leadership skills.


The full criteria and eligibility can be found on the ATSE website where enquiries are welcome, with applications closing at 5:00pm AEST 31 August 2023. You can register here for an information session to be held on July 4.


We hope that you’ll choose SPREE as your place of tertiary study, where you’ll meet many other women to work alongside throughout your university career in renewable energy engineering. Here’s just a few of the outstanding women mentors who you’ll learn from and be guided by when you become a student with us at our Sydney campus:

Renate Egan

Renate’s life-long interest in physics is what would set her off on a career that would take her around the world as a solar engineer. Renate currently wears many hats, including as the deputy head of school with SPREE, the Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, the co-founder of Solar Analytics and an ATSE Fellow. Her work in academia, business and with government makes her the ideal industry mentor. Renate is especially motivated by seeing other women succeeding in the field of solar and renewables.

Xiaojing Hao

Xiaojing is a current fellow with ATSE, where she is recognised for her world-leading research in the field of new solar cell technologies. Xiaojing focusses her work with cutting-edge materials on developing novel and more powerful kinds of solar cells which have won numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Awards in 2020. Xiaojing earned her PhD working under Martin Green, inventor of the PERC solar cell, and is always pleased to be able to share her wealth of research knowledge with her fellow women researchers and students who are driving green energy forward.

Anna Bruce

Anna’s passion for both research and teaching is driven by her desire to see solar and renewable energy become easily available to everyone, and to ensure that the transition to renewable energy is just, by serving all communities. Anna’s work in humanitarian engineering takes a rigorous analytical approach to data on energy usage in Australia and in the Pacific Islands. Her team at the Australian PV Institute developed the powerful and free SunSPOT solar mapping tool and calculator, which allows anyone in Australia to work out the cost and savings of a rooftop solar system. She is also deputy head of school with SPREE.

Rong Deng

Rong’s work sees her tackling the challenge of recovering and recycling solar panels once they reach the end of their lifespan, and how this presents an opportunity for a truly “closed-looped” system of sustainability for solar power, being led from Australia. Since graduating SPREE in 2018, her work in assessing the value of recoverable materials in panels has seen her come to early career international attention where she has already featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia List in 2022. Rong currently supervises a number of young women students as they continue to usher in a sustainable renewable energy system and welcomes all new women researchers to learn with them.

Ning Song

Ning is a senior research fellow with SPREE, where she specialises in the efficiency and power potential of silicon solar cells and modules. With over ten years of experience working in solar with manufacturers, research institutions, and photovoltaic material suppliers, Ning brings terrific insight into all levels of the solar production chain. She is highly motivated by the opportunity that renewable energy sources present to continually improve their environmental benefits and looks forward to collaborating with new women students on her projects.