What makes a future leader? In our eyes, you’re an exceptional thinker and highly ambitious. You are a natural collaborator with big ideas. And you're driven by a desire to bring positive change to the world.
These are the attributes we celebrate with our Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships – designed in conjunction with Australia’s leading universities to be a truly life-changing experience.
“This scholarship has been the single most transformative educational experience I’ve had. It has impacted my path enormously and I cannot emphasise how thankful I am to have had the opportunity, support and backing of Westpac Scholars to pursue my dreams.” - 2016 Westpac Future Leaders Scholar, Alex Schumann-Gillett.
Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships are among the most powerful development scholarships in Australia. As well as investing up to $120,000 over 2-3 years into your postgraduate studies, the Scholarship will also shape your leadership skills far and above your expectations.
Exceptional scholarships for exceptional people.
The scholarship supports individuals who are undertaking post-graduate study that will ultimately make a difference to Australia in one of three areas; technology and innovation, fostering Australian-Asian ties, and enabling positive social change. As well as your studies, the scholarship provides a nine-month Leadership Development Program which will build on your personal strengths and give you the insights, learning and inspiration you need to make your mark on the world.
From Australia, to beyond.
Naturally, good ideas deserve to go global. So we’ll encourage you to open up your mind to new experiences by heading overseas for up to six months to study. Whether it be at a world class university, an NGO or with a private organisation, you’re guaranteed to make valuable international connections and discover new insights to bring your vision to life.
We’ve already done the networking
As a Westpac Future Leaders Scholar, you’ll become a part of the Westpac 100 Scholars Network. Lifelong membership to this network gives you access to one of Australia’s most diverse meetings of like-minds. Drawing on the Scholars’ strong sense of purpose and desire to collaborate, the network is designed to be inspiring, influential and a life-long learning experience.
What does it take to be a Westpac
Future Leaders Scholar?
First, you’ll have exceptional ideas. Second, you’ll have the ambition and drive to bring those ideas to life. And above all else, you’ll have a generosity of spirit. Ultimately it’s this that fuels your desire to do great work. We’re offering 17 scholarships in 2020 to support your Masters or PhD studies, and are looking for switched-on, curious thinkers who have the inspiration, drive and ideas to change Australia – and potentially the world – for the better.
Ready to play your role in shaping the future of Australia? Start here.
“There are many different academic scholarships for a PhD out there, but none give access to such a diverse range of peoples and passions as the W100 network. With the spice of five unique scholar streams, the W100 network is a melting pot of ideas and opportunities.”
Applications Open: 17 June
Applications Close: 2 September
National Assessment Centre in Sydney: 7-8 December
For existing Scholars:
Leadership Development Program Sydney Residential: 11 - 16 July (Postponed due to COVID)
Follow-up Leadership Development Program Residential: 18 - 21 August
Westpac Scholars Summit: July - August
Leadership Development Program Sydney Residential: 20-25 February 2022
Westpac Scholars Summit: 7-8 April 2022
Applications Open for 2023: June 2022
We're looking for Australia's best and brightest
Your ability matches your drive - giving you the potential to make a lasting difference to Australia's future. We want to help you realise this potential.
Who can apply?
Open to scholars who have:
- Who have demonstrated academic excellence and are eager to undertake a PhD or full time Masters at one of nine universities, in a field of well above world standard.
- Passionate about strengthening Australia's ties with Asia, driving technology and innovation or enabling positive social change.
- With a bold vision to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Australia who can articulate this vision and how postgraduate study will help make it real.
- Possessing a desire and potential to lead.
- Keen to be inspired by others, build networks and collaborate across diverse disciplines.
- Confident in taking on challenges.
- A desire to be part of and contribute to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.
- You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident (NZ citizens who are not also Australian citizens are not eligible).
- You have completed your first undergraduate degree after 1 September 2016, OR will complete by 31 December 2021.
- You have achieved or are on track to achieve an average result of H1 or H2A equivalent (approx. 75 WAM).
- You have chosen to undertake a full-time Masters by coursework or research or a PhD at one of our nine participating universities.
- You have chosen a field of study which, for PhD and Masters by research applicants has an ERA four digit FOR rating of "well above world standard" in the ERA 2018 exercise and for Masters by coursework applicants, must be in area of world-class standing.
- You must commence study in 2022 (Jan - Dec 2022), not before.
- Your proposed program of study:
- Can be in any field and must be relevant to the Trust's focus areas
- Include international opportunities, such as a period of study at an overseas university, an invited presentation at a conference significant to the discipline, or a period of internship or placement at an overseas organisation, which will develop your leadership skills and global networks
- Underpin a worthy and viable post-study plan that benefits Australia
- Funding requests for the purpose of medical research as defined in the ARC Medical Research Policy available on the Australian Research Council website will not be considered; MD, juris doctor programs or equivalent are also excluded.
- Masters by coursework programs must be completed within two years.
- You are able to supply two letters of reference - one academic reference and one personal reference.
- For PhD and Masters by Research applicants, you must also supply one letter of support from either your supervisor, dean of the faculty or head of school or equivalent.
Our Partner Universities
We have partnered with eight leading Australian universities to deliver the Future Leaders Scholarship. Scholarship recipients must undertake their postgraduate studies at one of the following eight universities, in a field of world-class standing:
- The University of Adelaide
- The Australian National University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Sydney
- University of New South Wales
- University of Western Australia
- University of Tasmania
“Being a Westpac Scholar makes me incredibly humbled, proud and excited. Humbled by the fantastic and talented people around me, proud of the community I’m part of, and excited by all of our future individual and collaborative contributions to the world.”
Future Leaders Selection Panel
The National Selection Panel comprises senior industry and academic leaders responsible for the final selection of Westpac Research Fellows and Future Leader Scholars. Through the rigorous selection process, the Panel is dedicated to recruiting Australia's best and brightest leaders, innovators and pioneers from all walks of life.
Professor Aidan Byrne (2016 - 2021)
Provost, The University of Queensland
Pofessor Aidan Byrne was appointed Provost at the University of Queensland in 2016. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council from 2012 to 2016. Prior to this, Professor Byrne was the Dean of Science and the Director of the Australian National University (ANU) College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. He has a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise particularly in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering.
Professor Byrne completed a BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland before commencing a PhD degree at the ANU in 1981. Following the completion of his degree at the Department of Nuclear Physics, he held positions with the University of Melbourne and spent over two years in Bonn, Germany as a von Humboldt fellow. He returned to the ANU in 1989 as a Research Fellow and in 1991 commenced a joint appointment between the Department of Physics, in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Nuclear Physics, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering. He was Head of the Department of Physics from 2003 to 2007. His research interests involve the use of gamma-rays as probes to determine the structure of heavy nuclei and the examination of the atomic level structure of materials (especially semiconductors). He has published over 200 papers.
Professor Nicholas Farrelly (2015 - 2021)
Head of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania
Nicholas commenced as Professor and Head of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania in January 2020. After graduating from the ANU in 2003 with First Class Honours and the University Medal, Nicholas completed his MPhil and DPhil at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to his appointment to UTAS, Nicholas was Associate Dean at ANU's College of Asia and the Pacific, responsible for engagement with a range of government, business and
civil society organisations. Nicholas also held other positions in the College, including as Deputy Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, founding Director of the ANU Myanmar Research Centre and convenor of the PhB in Asia-Pacific Studies. His own research deals with political, economic and cultural change across Asia. Nicholas has published widely on Myanmar and Thailand, and the adjacent borderlands of Bangladesh, India and China. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
David Thodey AO (2015 - 2016, 2020 - 2021)
David Thodey is a business leader focused on innovation, technology and telecommunications with more than 30 years of experience.
He is currently Chairman of Australia’s national scientific research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Tyro, Australia’s only independent EFTPOS banking institution, and Xero, a global cloud-based accounting software provider for small and medium-sized businesses. Mr Thodey is also a non-executive Board director of Ramsay Health Care, a global hospital group and Vodafone Group Plc (London) and is an advisor to SquarePeg, one of Australia’s largest VC Funds.
Mr Thodey recently lead an Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (APS). This review was commissioned by the Prime Minister to ensure that the APS is fit-for-purpose to serve Australian Governments and the Australian people into the future. He is currently reviewing the Federal Financial Relationship between the Commonwealth and State of NSW. Previously, he had a successful career as CEO of Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company and CEO of IBM Australia and New Zealand.
In 2017, Mr Thodey was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for ethical leadership in business and was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Deakin University in 2016 and the University of Technology Sydney in 2018.
Dr Heather Smith PSM (2016 - 2021)
Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government
Dr Heather Smith served as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science from September 2017-January 2020. As CEO, Heather led a department of over 2,300 staff, a portfolio of around 10,000 staff, and was a key contributor to decisions on Australia’s national innovation budget. Heather has had nearly 20 years’ experience in the Australian Public Service at senior levels leading significant initiatives covering economic, industry, innovation, communications, resources, foreign affairs, national security and intelligence matters.
Heather was Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts (2016-2017). Prior to this she served as Deputy Secretary in the departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2013-2016) and Foreign Affairs and Trade (2010-2013), and was Deputy Director-General in the Office of National Assessments (2005-2010). She has also worked at the Australian Treasury (2003-2005) and at the Reserve Bank of Australia (1988-1990).
In October 2013 she was appointed by Prime Minister Abbott as Australia’s G20 Sherpa, overseeing Australia’s Presidency of the G20 in 2014.
Heather has previously served as: chair of the Australian Space Agency Advisory Council; as a member of the board of Innovation and Science Australia; CSIRO; the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation; the Australian Institute of Marine Science; and Infrastructure Australia. She has also been a member of the advisory panel to Prime Minister Gillard’s white paper, Australia and the Asian Century.
Heather is a currently chair of the Board of Advisors to Aura, an Australia digital identity startup. She is a member of the boards of the United States Studies Centre and China Matters, both independent bodies aimed at furthering Australia’s respective bilateral relations, and a member of the Westpac Scholars National Selection Panel. She is also a proud member of Chief Executive Women. In June 2015 Heather was awarded a Public Service Medal. She was the recipient of the University of Queensland's Alumni Excellence Award in 2016, and in 2019 was awarded the ANU College of Business and Economics Distinguished Alumni Award.
Heather holds a Masters and PhD in Economics from the Australian National University and a B. Economics (Hons 1) from the University of Queensland. From 1994-2000 she was an academic specialising on North Asia at the Australian National University. She has been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. In 2012, Heather completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.
Jon Nicholson (2016 - 2019, 2021)
Director, Westpac Scholars Trust
Jon is Chair of the Westpac Foundation and a member of the board of the Westpac Scholars Trust. As well, he holds non-executive director positions on the boards of IAG, Cape York Partnership and QuintessenceLabs. In his executive career, Jon held senior positions in banking and finance, including being the Chief Strategy Officer at Westpac and a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group. Earlier in his career, Jon worked in the Commonwealth Government, including holding the position of Senior Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (then, Bob Hawke).
Dave Curran (2018 - 2021)
Chairman, Westpac Scholars Trust
Dave was the Chief Information Officer of the Westpac Group from 2014 to 2018, where he was responsible for technology strategy and its implementation across the Group. Dave has 30 years of global experience, including proven expertise in IT and financial services and the implementation of large, complex projects. Before joining Westpac, Dave spent ten years in senior roles at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and 16 years at Accenture, where he was a Partner, primarily consulting on financial services. Dave has a deep commitment to cancer research and education, which is exemplified by his long-term involvement in the Tour de Cure charity organisation. He is also passionate about working with the government, industry and community to inspire the next generation of Australia’s technologists. Dave was appointed as a Trustee of the Westpac Scholars Trust in 2015 and was appointed Chairman in April 2019.
Professor Jacqueline Lo (2020 - 2021)
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Adelaide
With considerable experience in academic governance and management, Jacqueline provides leadership and oversight for all University international and internationalisation initiatives, with a particular focus on activities and partnerships of University-wide strategic importance that support and enhance the University’s growth objectives.
Jacqueline is highly experienced in education and cultural policy & diplomacy and is an active contributor to discussions within the university-sector. Her research focuses on issues of race, colonialism, diaspora and the interaction of cultures and communities across ethnic, national and regional borders. Publications include Staging Nation (HKUP 2002), Performance and Cosmopolitics (Palgrave Macmillan 2007, with Helen Gilbert). She has published extensively in areas of cross-cultural engagement and cultural studies in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
Jacqueline was previously at the ANU, serving two terms as Chair of Academic Board, Executive Director of the Centre for European Studies, and previously Associate Dean (International) for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. She has also served on the committee for reviewing the ACT Arts Framework Policy and regularly conducted briefings for government and the diplomatic corps. Jacqueline has been visiting fellow at UCLA, NYU, the Free University of Berlin and Konstanz University, and DAAD Guest Professor at the University of Cologne. She is the Founding Chair of the Asian Australian Studies Research Network and a member of the NYU Global Arts Exchange Program. She was awarded the Chevalier Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2014.
Gail Kelly (2021)
Gail’s executive banking career spanned 35 years, split equally between South Africa and Australia.
She served as the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of St.George Bank from 2002 to 2007 and Westpac from 2008 to 2015. In 2008, these two banks came together under Gail’s leadership in what was the largest in-market merger in Australian financial services. At the time of her retirement in February 2015, The Westpac Group was the country’s second largest bank and the twelfth largest bank in the world, in terms of market capitalisation.
One of Gail’s proudest achievements was the launch of this $100 million Westpac Bicentennial Foundation in 2014, in recognition of the bank’s 200-year history with Australia and to help shape its future.
2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship applications are now closed. Register your interest if you would like to be notified when applications open. Or if you know someone who should apply for the next round, please nominate them.
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