Research Fellowship

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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 2020, 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.”

Key dates


18 June 2019: Applications open

26 August 2019: Applications close

9-10 December 2019: National Assessment Centre in Sydney

13 December 2019: Notification of outcome


2-3 April 2020: Westpac Scholars Summit

June 2020: Applications open for 2021


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.



  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • You have been awarded a PhD between 1 September 2013 and 1 September 2016; or have obtained an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent if your PhD was awarded prior to 1 September 2013.
  • 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 2020.
  • 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 9/10 December 2019.
More Questions? Go to our FAQs

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 - 2019)

Provost and Senior Vice President, The University of Queensland

Philip Coffey (2015 - 2019)

NED - Lendlease, Macquarie Group and Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Dr Nicholas Farrelly (2015 - 2019)

Associate Dean, Development and Impact, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

Dr Heather Smith (2016 - 2019)

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

Jon Nicholson (2016 - 2019)

Director, Westpac Scholars Trust

Professor Edwina Cornish AO (2016, 2019)

Former Provost and Senior Vice-President, Monash University

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington (2019)

Professor of History, the Australian National University

Professor Veena Sahajwalla (2019)

Founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW

Assoc Professor Elizabeth (Liz) New (2019)

2016 Westpac Research Fellow, University of Sydney

Dave Curran (2018, 2019)

Chairman, Westpac Scholars Trust

Enquire Now

Applications for the 2020 Westpac Research Fellowship are now closed.

Applications for the 2021 round will open in June 2020.


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