Towards a sustainable future

Westpac Scholars Trust announces a new funding priority: Sustainable Futures

Westpac Scholars Trust has, since inception, centred its scholarship investment around the three areas it believes to be at the heart of the nation’s future growth and prosperity; Thriving Tech Sector, Australia in Asia and An Inclusive Country.

In response to the increasing threat of climate change to Australia’s environmental and economic sustainability, the Trust has today announced a fourth funding priority; Sustainable Futures.

“Responding and adapting to climate change is one of the world’s most urgent challenges,” says Westpac Scholars Trust Acting CEO Amy Lyden.

“We want to accelerate innovative solutions to reduce Australia’s environmental impact and build a more sustainable future.”

The new funding priority elevates the importance of selecting scholars working and researching ground-breaking climate change solutions, like inaugural Westpac Research Fellow Associate Professor Ivan Kassal from the University of Sydney.

Ivan leads the university’s Kassal Group, which uses quantum-mechanical processes to develop design principles for improving solar energy conversion.

“Climate change presents many challenges for the Australian economy,” says Kassal, “but it also presents many opportunities."

“It makes absolute sense to provide greater investment in research that will help Australia address a changing climate and harness the economic opportunity.”

Lyden says the number of Westpac Scholars interested in environmental sustainability has increased since the scholarship program began, with 40% of 2021 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars undertaking postgraduate study in climate change related fields.

“Our Sustainable Futures funding priority doesn’t just reflect the increasing importance of addressing climate change, it also echoes what our scholars care about most.”

Prospective applicants for 2023 scholarships will be able to select Sustainable Futures as a research area. The five scholarship programs themselves remain unchanged.

Find out more about Westpac Scholars Trust’s funding priorities