An ambitious researcher looking for a supportive network? Apply for a Westpac Research Fellowship

By Dr Shawna Foo, Westpac Scholar, 2022 Research Fellow The University of Sydney

As an early career researcher wanting to return to Australia after several positions overseas, I knew my opportunities were limited in finding a well-supported position in academia. New to the world of Australian grant writing, I underestimated the time needed to articulate my research plans in ways that emphasized its importance to Australia, its groundbreaking nature and why I was the most suitable person to do it.

I found it challenging to convey my personal attributes and deeper motivations within the strict confines of grant guidelines. So how surprised and appreciative I was to experience the application process of the Westpac Research Fellowship. With the inclusion of interviews and pitches on top of the written application, the Westpac Scholars Trust approach allowed me to bring my personality and qualities to the table.

This multi-dimensional approach makes the Westpac Research Fellowship application process so unique. The fellowship is designed to support the individuals’ personal ambitions while providing the opportunity to expand ones’ profile and develop leadership skills, all on top of connecting you to an incredible network.

While the multiple processes might sound daunting, it is so worthwhile. I learnt so much about what drives and inspires me, and the kind of qualities I want to embody as a researcher and leader.

As a marine scientist focussing on ways that we can increase the resilience of marine ecosystems in the face of climate change, having the support of Westpac makes tackling this huge challenge a little less scary. I’m excited for the opportunity to connect with the Westpac network and engage with those beyond academia to develop new perspectives.

Give it a go! You’ll learn so much about yourself and meet some extremely supportive and inspiring people along the way.

For more information, to nominate or apply for a Westpac Research Fellowship, visit the Westpac Scholars Trust website