The program, being undertaken with UniSA and University College London, will award fellowships supporting researchers in key areas for future industries development - minerals and resources engineering; energy and advanced manufacturing; environmental science and engineering; and biomaterials engineering and nanomedicine.
UniSA vice chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the support from Santos represented a strong investment in South Australia, which will help to attract some of the smartest minds to the state.
"This is a great move because it invests in the future intellectual capital of the state and that is the way to fire up the new ideas, discoveries, and refinements that will deliver for the SA economy," Lloyd said.
"Our partnership with University College London, through the university's Future Industries Institute is spearheading the development of new research in key industry areas and research that is informed by industry needs globally.
"These fellowships will ensure that more women in science have the opportunity, not only to contribute to innovation, but also to lead that innovation."
Santos executive vice president strategy and corporate services Angus Jaffray said the partnership between UCL and UniSA underpinned strength in globally relevant research in SA.
"Santos is delighted to continue its strong commitment to world class industry-focused research capability in South Australia through this partnership with UCL Australia and UniSA," Jaffray said.
UniSA deputy vice chancellor research Professor Tanya Monro said the scholarship announcement was especially important as UniSA gears up its activities as a part of Australia's Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) project.
Modelled on the UK's Athena Swann Charter, SAGE is a partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, to address the systemic barriers to women's career advancement.
"Women make up more than half of science PhD graduates and early career researchers, but just 17% of senior academics in institutions across the country - that is something we want to turn around at UniSA," Monro said.
The new research fellowships will be available for a period of five years and successful candidates will receive an annual support package to cover travel and other additional expenses.