Westpac Research Fellowship

This financial support is not administered by the University.


The Westpac Scholars Trust is partnering with Australia's leading research universities to offer two Westpac Research Fellowships, each valued at a minimum of $400,000 of fully flexible funding over five years. These Fellowships offer early career researchers a unique opportunity to support their groundbreaking research, provide access to networks, open career pathways and global experiences. Unlike other grant programs, the Fellowship provides access to a diverse network beyond academia and profiling opportunities to help advance their career.

Successful Fellows will be undertaking research that has the ability to make a difference to Australia's future in one of the Trust's priority areas:

  • Technology and innovation
  • Strengthening Australia-Asia ties
  • Enabling positive social change

So far, there are 14 Westpac Research Fellows from four partner universities, selected for their intellectual ability, leadership potential and commitment to the community.

There are two Research Fellowships available nationwide.Researchers who hold other awards are eligible to apply.


Field of study

Any Discipline


To be a successful candidate, you will need to meet the following requirements

  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • You have been awarded a PhD between 1 September 2014 and 1 September 2017; or have obtained an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent if your PhD was awarded prior to 1 September 2014.
  • Your proposed area of research is in a field of research at a participating university with an Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) four digit Field of Research (FOR) rating "well above world standing" in the ERA 2018 exercise. (Australian Research Council's website)
  • You are able to commence the Fellowship by 30 June 2021.
  • 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 8/9 December 2020.

Additional Requirements:

You need to build into your Westpac Research Fellowship (WRF) proposal schedule time to consult with your Department/Research School/College to discuss the proposal and its budget, and to seek approval for these. When budgeting the WRF proposal, include salary gap (if there is one), all research proposal costs, and $5,000 for the Leadership 360 Program.  These costs are to be met by your Research School/College. You should consult with your College Research Office for advice and assistance.

Should your WRF proposal be awarded, you can apply for Strategic Research Funds (SRF) ($30,000 in total) via your College Dean to the Office of DVC (R & I). 


The Fellowship aims to free you from the need to apply for multiple sources of funding, allowing you to focus on your research. It includes:

1)   Salary support for your position

The Fellowship will fund your fulltime salary and on-costs for a period of upto five years from the date of award. 

The Westpac Research Fellowship may not fund salaries of Fellows who are the recipients of another salary-funding Award (e.g. DECRA) at the same time. If you are currently on another salary-funding Award / Fellowship, or are the recipient of a salary-funding Award at the time the Westpac Research Fellowship (WRF) is awarded, you may request: 

  • a reallocation of the Westpac-funded amount ($330,000 or part thereof) to another needed resource related to your research e.g. research costs; and/or
  • an extension of up to an additional two years to utilise the Westpac Research Fellowship salary funding.

These requests must be approved by the Westpac Scholars Trust and your host university and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

2)   Opportunity for professional development and global experiences

The Fellowship will include access to a $30,000 Westpac Professional Development Fund provided and administered by the host university. The Westpac Professional Development Fund is to be used by the Fellow to tailor professional development and global experiences that maximise the Fellow's potential to contribute in their area of research and enhance their career opportunities. This could include conferences, travel for research or experiences and courses that support leadership development.

The Leadership 360 Program is now a compulsory part of the WPDF and includes:

  • comprehensive assessment of current leadership capability via a 360- feedback assessment, including a one-to-one debrief and
  • yearly facilitated one day group workshop with all Westpac Research Fellows.


How to apply

Applications for the 2021 Program will open on 17 June 2020 and close 25 August 2020. Apply online by selecting the 'Apply Now' button at the top of this page, once applications have been opened.

Key dates:



17 June 2020

Applications open

25 Aug 2020

Application close

8-9 Dec 2020


December 2020


25-26 March 2021

National Assessment Centre, Sydney:


Notification of Fellowship recipients


Westpac Scholars' Summit 

Further information

For more information about this scholarship, please contact philanthropic.scholarships@anu.edu.au or your College Research Office; or visit the website link below