The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation was established in 1998 with a generous donation from the Wilson family estate to the ANU. In 2011 the Australian Government and the ANU provided further funding to expand the activities and achievements of the Foundation.
The Foundation's purpose is to honour Sir Roland's contribution to public policy by advancing the study and development of public policy in Australia, its regions and the rest of the world. The Foundation continues to be an effective interface between the Australian Public Service (APS) and the ANU by facilitating the exchange of research ideas across the two institutions.
The PhD scholarship program helps to develop the capability of the APS by awarding a small number of full-pay scholarships to high potential Executive Level (EL) staff in the APS. The program helps to equip future leaders of the APS with the knowledge, skills and capabilities they will need to excel in their future roles, by bringing together these public servants with some of the best academics at the ANU to tackle issues of national significance and enduring interest.
Over the next 20 years the Foundation will graduate up to 65 doctorate scholars from the SRW PhD program, many of whom will become crucial in the next generation of leaders in the APS. They will bring to that role an intellectual rigor and appreciation for the place of academic research in the context of policy development. These scholars will have first-hand knowledge of the contribution academia can make to important policy deliberations. This can only strengthen the ties between policy makers and academic researchers.
In 2018 the Foundation developed a second, equally prestigious and competitive scholarship program: the SRW Pat Turner Scholarship. This new scholarship is available to Indigenous APS employees to undertake postgraduate studies at either the ANU or Charles Darwin University, enabling scholarship winners to undertake post-graduate coursework studies or research on a topic of national significance and direct relevance to the APS.