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.”
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.
- 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 Guidelines for the full list of attributes.
- 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.
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.”
Some of our Research Fellows
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
Professor Aidan Byrne was recently appointed Provost at the University of Queensland. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council from 2012 to 2016. Prior to this, Professor Byrne was the 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.
Philip Coffey (2015 - 2019)
NED - Lendlease, Macquarie Group and Clean Energy Finance Corporation
Philip was appointed as the inaugural Chairman of the Westpac Scholars Trust in April 2014. He is currently an independent non-executive director of Lendlease, Macquarie Group and Clean Energy Finance Corporation. He retired from the role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Westpac Group in 2017 which he held since April 2014 with responsibility for overseeing Westpac’s contribution and response to the Federal Government’s Financial System Inquiry and supporting relationships with key stakeholders including industry groups, regulators, customers and government.
Philip was responsible for the Group’s strategy and mergers and acquisitions function. Prior to this appointment, Philip held the role of Chief Financial Officer from December 2005. Before this, he was Group Executive, Westpac Institutional Bank, having been appointed to that position in 2002. Philip first joined Westpac in 1996 as Head of Foreign Exchange.
He has extensive experience in financial markets, funds management and finance. He began his career at the Reserve Bank of Australia before moving to Citicorp and AIDC Limited. He has also held roles in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Philip has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide and has completed the Executive Programme at Stanford University Business School.
Dr Nicholas Farrelly (2015 - 2019)
Associate Dean, Development and Impact, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
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. As Associate Dean, Nicholas is responsible for College of Asia and the Pacific engagement with a range of government, business and civil society organisations. Nicholas has previously 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. In January 2020, Nicholas commences as Professor and Head of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania.
Dr Heather Smith (2016 - 2019)
Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government
Dr Heather Smith was appointed Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in September 2017. Heather has had 18 years’ experience in the Australian Public Service at senior levels, with responsibility for a number of significant government policies and programs covering economic, foreign affairs and intelligence matters. Prior to her current appointment Heather was Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts (2016-2017). She has served as Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2013-2016) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2010-2013). In October 2013 she was appointed by Prime Minister Abbott as Australia’s G20 Sherpa, a role she held during Australia’s Presidency.
Heather has also held senior roles with the Office of National Assessments (Deputy Director-General, 2005-2010) and (2000-2003) and the Australian Treasury (2003-2005). Before joining the public service Heather was an academic working on North Asia at the Australian National University (1994-2000). She also worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia (1988-1990). Heather was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2015 Honours for her outstanding public service as Australia’s G20 Sherpa in 2014.
Heather holds a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and a Masters and PhD in Economics from 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. She was the recipient of the University of Queensland's Colleges' Alumni Award in 2016. Heather is a member of the United States Studies Centre Board of Directors and a member of Chief Executive Women.
Jon Nicholson (2016 - 2019)
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).
Professor Edwina Cornish AO (2016, 2019)
Former Provost and Senior Vice-President, Monash University
Professor Edwina Cornish AO FTSE obtained her PhD for research undertaken in the Biochemistry and Microbiology departments of the University of Melbourne. After working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Botany School of the University of Melbourne she joined the newly established plant biotechnology company Calgene Pacific (later named Florigene). She spent 11 years with the company in various leadership roles including Research Director and Managing Director. Over this period the company developed and commercialised the world’s first genetically engineered flowers.
In 2000 Edwina moved to the University of Adelaide as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and in 2004 she was appointed to the same role at Monash University. In 2012 Edwina was appointed Monash’s inaugural Provost and Senior Vice-President a position she held until her retirement in 2016.
Edwina has extensive experience at the interface between government, research, industry and the higher education sector, and has held numerous board positions. She is currently a member of the Board of CSIRO, the Council of La Trobe University and is a Director of the Biosciences Research Centre. In 2018, The University of Melbourne awarded Edwina an Honorary Doctor of Science (honoris causa) in recognition of her achievements
Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington (2019)
Professor of History, the Australian National University
Marnie Hughes-Warrington is professor of history theory at the Australian National University, and will be the DVC Research and Enterprise at the University of South Australia from 2020. She held the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic at ANU from 2012 to 2018. She is the fifth, and first woman, to be the Australian secretary for the Rhodes Scholarships, and was foundation chair of the Tuckwell Scholarships, from 2013–8.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla (2019)
Founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW
Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials.’ In 2018 Veena launched the world's first e-waste microfactory. As the founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, she is producing a new generation of green materials and products made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Veena also heads the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits. In 2019 she was appointed inaugural Director of the Circular Economy Innovation Network by the NSW Government through its Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer. In 2018 she was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2016, Veena was named one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers and in 2015, Veena named Australia’s 100 Most Influential Engineers, both by Engineers Australia. In 2013, Veena received the ‘Howe Memorial Lecture Award’, Pittsburgh, USA in appreciation for her lecture on ‘The Power of Steelmaking – harnessing high temperature reactions to transform waste into raw material resources’.
Assoc Professor Elizabeth (Liz) New (2019)
2016 Westpac Research Fellow, University of Sydney
A/Prof. Elizabeth (Liz) New studied and worked in Australia, the UK and the USA before taking up an academic position at the University of Sydney in 2012, holding an ARC DECRA from 2012-2014, and a Westpac Research Fellowship from 2016-2019. Her research focusses on the development of small molecule chemical sensors, based on fluorescence or MRI. Her awards for research and teaching including the 2018 Edgeworth David Medal, 2018 Eureka 3M Emerging Leader Prize, and the 2016 RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year. Liz also won the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (2019), one of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, which are Australia’s most prestigious awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research and research-based innovation.
Dave Curran (2018, 2019)
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.
Applications for the 2020 Westpac Research Fellowship are now closed.
Applications for the 2021 round will open in June 2020.
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