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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.

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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
for you.

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.”

Key dates


Applications Open: 17 June

Online Information Session: 27 July at 6:00pm AEST. Watch the recording and access the presentation deck.  

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.
More questions? Go to our FAQs, download the Funding Guidelines or access our recorded information webinar that was held on 27 July with accompanying slides

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

Professor Nicholas Farrelly (2015 - 2021)

Head of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania

David Thodey AO (2015 - 2016, 2020 - 2021)

Chairman, CSIRO

Dr Heather Smith PSM (2016 - 2021)

Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government

Jon Nicholson (2016 - 2019, 2021)

Director, Westpac Scholars Trust

Dave Curran (2018 - 2021)

Chairman, Westpac Scholars Trust

Professor Jacqueline Lo (2020 - 2021)

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Adelaide

Gail Kelly (2021)

Apply Now

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

To learn more about Westpac Scholars, our scholarship programs and the inspiring people we're investing in, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.