The ANU partnership with the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation (WBF) to establish the Westpac Scholarship Program has been a journey of true collaboration since its commencement in 2014.
WBF is a $100M endowment to fund 100 scholarships a year, forever. This is the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia's history. ANU has worked closely with the Foundation as a partner in three of the five programs offered through the Foundation: The Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarships, the Westpac Future Leaders Post- Graduate Scholarships and the Westpac Research Fellowships.
The ANU-WBF relationship has enabled ANU to take a leadership role in breaking down walls between academia and business and has succeeded in shifting traditional approaches to both university-industry interaction and philanthropy. Susan Bannigan, CEO of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation says:
"ANU has been an exceptional partner and instrumental to the successful launch of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation's scholarship program, particularly the Future Leaders Scholarship and the Research Fellowship. We are just at the beginning of this journey together, but I am very excited and optimistic about the potential that an industry-university collaboration of this scale has to contribute to the future of our country."
The partnership has fostered cultural change within ANU, helping to establish stronger working relationships and collaboration with industry. This experience places ANU in a strong position to form future successful partnerships with corporations and foundations. The mutual commitment seeks to advance innovation and education and to solve the big, complex problems facing Australia.
The real impact of this kind of university-industry collaboration is demonstrated through Associate Professor Antonio Tricoli, from the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science and the inaugural 2016 Westpac Research Fellow.
"Science is fun and addictive! Sometimes it is hard to find the time and opportunity to get out of our daily research activities. The Fellowship has been a powerful thrust that set me in contact with an incredible cohort of inspiring young (and a bit older) future leaders", says Professor Tricoli.