More than ever before, Australia is earning its stripes in terms of the talent, skills and thinking we bring to the world as a proud global citizen. That’s why we’re working together with some of the best universities in the country to invest in the brightest, most innovative early career researchers. Not just to enable them to do their best work, but to actively help them influence positive change here in Australia.
“I applied because I was interested in the focus on leadership, and all the opportunities I would have to develop as a leader.” – 2016 Westpac Research Fellow, Associate Professor Liz New.
What makes the Westpac Research Fellowship different?
It’s all about you. And what you need to progress your research and shine as an early career researcher. With just two Fellowships awarded annually, we work closely with you on building your profile, developing your leadership skills and expanding your networks. And of course, there’s the fully flexible funding, which involves a minimum of $400,000 over five years. For the first time, researchers who hold other awards are able to apply for a Westpac Research Fellowship.
An open invite to engage us.
In addition to a full time salary, your research will be boosted holistically by a range of experiences that only Westpac Scholars can offer. You can tap into Westpac’s extensive networks for ongoing professional development and opportunities, as well as having direct access to senior business leaders and industry-based experts. Westpac Research Fellows will participate in a bespoke Leadership 360 program with the current Fellows to enhance their leadership capabilities and foster cross-sector collaboration to support innovation in Australia.
We’ve already done the networking for you.
As a Westpac Research Fellow, you’ll become 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’s does it take to be a Westpac Research Fellow?
In a word, vision. We’re offering two Fellowships in 2022, and are looking for not just Australia’s best and brightest early career researchers, but those who also want to leave a legacy. Switched-on, curious thinkers who have the inspiration, drive and ideas to change Australia – and potentially the world – for the better.
In short, it’s a Fellowship that’s as ambitious as you are.
“No other program provides access to other researchers from such varied fields, introductions to the people and companies in the business world or provides the resources that this fellowship offers.”
Applications open: 17 June
Applications close: 25 August
National Assessment Centre in Sydney: 7-8 December
Notification of outcome: December
Westpac Scholars Summit: April 7-8
Applications open for 2023: June 2022
We're ready to help you change the world
Securing a Fellowship will make an immense difference to your research, resulting in lasting benefits for Australia.
To be a successful candidate, you will need to demonstrate how your proposed research contributes to the growth and prosperity of Australia in at least one of the Foundation’s focus areas.
Who can apply?
Fellowship applicants must demonstrate:
- Academic excellence and achievements to date.
- A supportive and high quality research environment.
- A desire to be part of and contribute to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.
- A strong sense of connection to Australia and commitment to improving the lives of others.
- The attributes of a Westpac Research Fellow. See the Fellowship Funding Guidelines for the full list of attributes.
- You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- You have been awarded a PhD between 1 September 2015 and 1 September 2018; or have obtained an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent if your PhD was awarded prior to 1 September 2015.
- Your proposed area of research is in a field of research at a participating university (refer to Our Partner Universities below) with an Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) four digit Field of Research (FOR) rating "well above world standing" in the ERA 2018 exercise. For a comprehensive list of FOR ratings by university, visit the Australian Research Council’s website.
- You are able to commence the Fellowship by 30 June 2022.
- Your proposed research will contribute to the future of Australia in one of the Foundation’s three focus areas (please note: 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).
- Your proposed research includes international opportunities to develop your leadership skills and global networks, such as; study tours for the purpose of research, attending a short course or conference, an internship or volunteering.
- You are able to supply two letters of reference, one academic reference and one personal reference; and a letter of support from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).
- You are able to attend the National Assessment Centre held in Sydney on 7-8 December 2021 - or online depending on COVID 19.
Our Partner Universities
The Westpac Research Fellowship is offered at four leading Australian universities:
- The Australian National University
- The University of Melbourne
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Sydney
Your proposed program of study can be in any field of world class standing at one of these universities, and must be relevant to the Foundation’s focus areas.
“Already I've met so many people in the W100 who encourage me and inspire me. I have been able to find potential areas of research collaborations, and am able to pass on some advice to the next generation of young researchers.”
Research Fellowship 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 Kerri-Lee Krause (2020 - 2021)
Director, Westpac Scholars Trust; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Student Life and Deputy Provost, University of Melbourne
Professor Krause is an experienced university executive who is internationally recognised for her contributions to higher education policy, research and practice. Professor Krause is an Honorary Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, a lifetime fellow of the international Society for Research in Higher Education and is internationally recognised for research on the contemporary student experience.
Her research program spans higher education curriculum renewal, the changing nature of academic work, and factors influencing higher education quality and standards. Professor Krause holds the Ministerial appointment of Deputy Chair, Higher Education Standards Panel and also led the Ministerial Implementation Working Group for the Transparency of Higher Education Admissions. Recent sector-wide leadership roles include Chair, Universities Australia Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Committee and co-Chair, Universities Australia Executive Women’s Committee.
Professor Krause has a track record of leading university-wide strategic change and organisational renewal, underpinned by a deep commitment to engaging students and staff through cultural transformation. Experience includes: systemic improvement of the student experience and outcomes; whole-of-university curriculum renewal; and extensive work on reshaping academic staff promotion policies and processes to recognise and reward contemporary academic work.
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 Research Fellowship 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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