Future Leaders Scholarship

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About the Future Leaders Scholarship

Do you have the drive to make a difference?

Whether your focus is Asia, new technology or social change we're offering postgraduate study for talented individuals at Australia's leading universities. Scholars will be exceptional people, chosen for their potential to make a difference to Australia's future in one of our three focus areas:

1. Technology and innovation

2. Strengthening Australia-Asia ties

3. Enabling positive social change

Valued at up to $120,000 over, typically, 2-3 years, scholarships will be awarded annually for research or coursework studies at graduate level.

View or download the Future Leaders Scholarship brochure.

Leadership development beyond the classroom

A key feature of the Future Leaders Scholarship is the Leadership Development Program, developed specifically for our Scholars.

You'll experience leadership development beyond the classroom. This nine-month program supports you to build on your strengths, develop targeted leadership capabilities, create career pathways and succeed in your field.

The Leadership Development program provides relevant experiences, exposure to global thought leaders and explores key topics related to our focus areas.

The Leadership Development Program was created in collaboration with recognised experts in leadership excellence, including several leading Australian universities.

Gain global experience

Leadership demands an ability to interrogate situations and circumstances from a variety of different perspectives. This scholarship gives you the chance to add a global context to your education, with tailored international experiences of up to six months.

Earning a Scholarship is just the beginning

Our Westpac Scholars Alumni program offers more than just membership of a network that will help your career. It's an incredible platform for surrounding yourself with a diverse group of other inspiring leaders.

Growing by 100 scholars a year across our five scholarship programs, this network will connect those with bold ideas to build a better future for all Australians.

“This scholarship has changed my life. Without a doubt, the Leadership Development Program has been the best experience. That week has made such a lasting impact on my drive, determination, and self-confidence.”

Key dates


15 June 2018: Applications open

18 July 2018: Information webinar. 3:00pm AEST - access the recorded webinar here

5 September 2018: Applications close (11:59pm, AEST)

6-7 December 2018: National Assessment Centre in Sydney

14 December 2018: Notification of outcome


17-22 February 2019: Leadership Development Program: Sydney Residential

4-5 April 2019: Westpac Scholars’ Summit

August 2019: Leadership Development Program: Canberra Residential


We're looking for Australia's best and brightest

Your ability matches your drive - giving you the potential to make a lasting difference to Australia's future. We want to help you realise this potential.

Who can apply?

Open to scholars who have:

  • Who have demonstrated academic excellence and are eager to undertake a PhD or full time Masters at one of nine universities, in a field of well above world standard.
  • Passionate about strengthening Australia's ties with Asia, driving technology and innovation or enabling positive social change.
  • With a bold vision to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Australia who can articulate this vision and how postgraduate study will help make it real.
  • Possessing a desire and potential to lead.
  • Keen to be inspired by others, build networks and collaborate across diverse disciplines.
  • Confident in taking on challenges.
  • A desire to be part of and contribute to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.


  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident (NZ citizens who are not also Australian citizens are not eligible).
  • You have completed your first undergraduate degree after 1 September 2013, OR will complete by 31 December 2018.
  • You have achieved or are on track to achieve an average result of H1 or H2A equivalent (approx. 75%).
  • You have chosen to undertake a full-time Masters by coursework or research or a PhD at one of our nine participating universities.
  • You have chosen a field of study which, for PhD and Masters by research applicants has an ERA four digit FOR rating of "well above world standard" and for Masters by coursework applicants, must be in area of world-class standing.
  • You must commence study in 2019 (Jan - Dec 2019).
  • Your proposed program of study:
    • Can be in any field and must be relevant to the Foundation's focus areas
    • Include international opportunities, such as a period of study at an overseas university, an invited presentation at a conference significant to the discipline, or a period of internship or placement at an overseas organisation, which will develop your leadership skills and global networks
    • Underpin a worthy and viable post-study plan that benefits Australia
  • 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; MD, juris doctor programs or equivalent are also excluded.
  • Masters by coursework programs must be completed within two years.
  • You are able to supply two letters of reference - one academic reference and one personal reference.
  • For PhD and Masters by Research applicants, you must also supply one letter of support from either your supervisor, dean of the faculty or head of school or equivalent.
More questions? Go to our FAQs, download the Funding Guidelines or access our recorded information webinar that was held on 18 July 3:00pm-4:00pm AEST.

Our Partner Universities

We have partnered with nine leading Australian universities to deliver the Future Leaders Scholarship. Scholarship recipients must undertake their postgraduate studies at one of the following nine universities, in a field of world-class standing:

  • The University of Adelaide
  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Monash University
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Western Australia

“Being a Westpac Scholar makes me incredibly humbled, proud and excited. Humbled by the fantastic and talented people around me, proud of the community I’m part of, and excited by all of our future individual and collaborative contributions to the world.”

Future Leaders 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 - 2018)

Provost and Senior Vice President, The University of Queensland

Philip Coffey (2015 - 2018)

Chairman, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation

Dr Nicholas Farrelly (2015 - 2018)

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

Professor John Shine AC (2015, 2016, 2018)

President Australian Academy of Science, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Molecular Biology, University of NSW, and Chairman, CSL Limited

Dr Heather Smith (2016 - 2018)

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

Jon Nicholson (2016 - 2018)

Director, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation

Professor Tanya Monro (2017, 2018)

Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, University of South Australia

Professor Judy Raper (2017, 2018)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation – University of Wollongong

Professor Ian Smith (2017, 2018)

Vice-Provost (Research & Research Infrastructure), Monash University

Ann Sherry AO (2018)

Chairman of Carnival Australia



Applications for 2018 are now closed. Applications will open again in June, 2019. 

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