FAQs - Research Fellowship

General

General

1. What is a Westpac Research Fellowship?

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is partnering with Australia’s leading research universities to offer four Westpac Research Fellowships, each valued at a minimum of $400,000 over 3 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.

2. What is included in the Fellowship?
  •        The Fellowship funds each Fellow’s fulltime salary and on-costs for a period of up to three years from the date of award;
  •        The Fellowship will include access to a $30,000 Westpac Professional Development Fund provided and administered by the host university. This 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; and
  •        Access to the Westpac Scholars Alumni program. 
3. How many Fellowships will be awarded in 2017?

There will be two Fellowships awarded in 2017. 

4. What is the value of each Fellowship?

Each Westpac Research Fellowship is valued at a minimum of $400,000 over 3 years. Final value may be less as each Fellow’s salary and on-costs will vary according to their university and at what level the Fellow is employed. Included in this amount is access to the Westpac Professional Development Fund. 

5. Which Universities are participating in the Fellowship?

The Westpac Research Fellowship is offered at the following universities:

·       The Australian National University;

·       The University of Melbourne;

·       The University of Queensland; and

·       The University of Sydney.

6. What is the duration of the Fellowship?

The Fellowship will be awarded for a maximum of 3 years commencing no later than 30 June 2018. The completion date of the Fellowship may be extended by the length of any parental leave approved by the host university.

7. What are the reporting requirements if my application is successful?

a)    Annual Progress Reports

Fellows are required to submit an Annual Progress Report for the first two years of their Fellowship. Progress reports will be required to be submitted to the Foundation one month prior to the annual anniversary of the Fellow’s commencement date.

b)    Final Report

Fellows are required to submit a Final Report to the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation within three months of completing their Fellowship.

Academic Requirements

Academic Requirements

1. What academic qualifications do I need to apply for a Fellowship?

You must have been awarded a PhD between 1 September 2011 and 1 September 2014; or have obtained an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or equivalent. 

2. If my PhD was awarded before 1 September 2011, can I still apply?

If your PhD was awarded before 1 September 2011, you may be considered for an exemption to the eligibility criteria detailed in section 3.1b of the Westpac Research Fellowship Funding Guidelines if you have received an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent of the host university.

An Eligibility Exemption will be provided up to a maximum of four years for the following career interruptions:

  •       carer’s responsibility;
  •       illness;
  •       maternity or parental leave and/or
  •       non-research employment not concurrent with research employment.

Confirmation of your Eligibility Exemption must be included in the Letter of Support accompanying your application.

3. What fields of research are applicable for the Fellowship?

Your proposed research must be in a field of research at a participating university with an Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) four digit Field of Research (FOR) rating of "well above world standard". For a comprehensive list of FOR codes by university, visit the Australian Research Council's website.

Your proposed research must contribute to the future of Australia in one of the Foundation's priority funding areas: technology and innovation, strengthening Australia-Asia ties or enabling positive social change.

Eligibility

Eligibility

1. Who can apply?

We’re looking for Australia’s best and brightest. To be eligible to apply:

  1.      You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  2.      You must have been awarded a PhD between 1 September 2011 and 1 September 2014; or have obtained an Eligibility Exemption from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent of the host university.
  3.      Your proposed area of research must be in a field of research at a participating university with an Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) four digit Field of Research (FOR) rating of "well above world standard". For a comprehensive list of FOR codes by university, visit the Australian Research Council’s website.
  4.      You must commence your research by 30 June 2018.
  5.      Your proposed research must contribute to the future of Australia in one of the Foundation’s priority funding areas; technology and innovation, strengthening Australia-Asia ties or enabling positive social change.
  6.      Your proposed research must include international opportunities which will 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.
  7.      You must supply two letters of reference, one academic reference and one personal reference as well as a letter of support from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or equivalent. Refer to the templates on our website for further information.
  8.      You must be able to attend the National Selection Panel to be held in Sydney 11-12 December 2017 (travel and accommodation costs to be covered by the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation).
2. If successful, can I defer the Fellowship?

No. Successful applicants will be notified in December 2017 and their study must commence no later than 30 June 2018.

3. Can I apply in the future if I am unsuccessful?

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a Westpac Research Fellowship in future years. However, you can only apply up to two times.

4. Can I apply if I have already commenced my research?

No, the Fellowship is only available to early career researchers expecting to commence their research in 2018.

5. Can I apply if I am a Westpac employee or related to one?

Yes. The Fellowship is open to all Australian citizens or permanent residents who meet the eligibility criteria.

Funding

Funding

1. How much funding support will I receive?

You will receive a full time salary plus oncosts at the salary level determined by your host university for a maximum of three years.

You will receive up to $30,000 for professional development via a Westpac Professional Development Fund administered by the host university over the three years of your Fellowship. Final value of your Westpac Professional Development Fund will be determined as part of your Fellowship application. Refer section 8 of the Westpac Research Fellowship Funding Guidelines.

2. Who will remit Fellowship funds to the Fellows?

The Fellowship funding will be administered by the host university.   

3. What is the Westpac Professional Development Fund and how can I access it?

The Westpac Professional Development Fund is included in your Fellowship. Each university will set aside and administer a $30,000 – “Westpac Professional Development Fund” to be used by the Fellow to tailor professional development and global experiences that maximize 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.

Access to the Westpac Professional Development Fund does not preclude the Fellow from accessing other support e.g. existing department based support, applying for a VC travel grant etc.

4. What exclusions apply to the Westpac Professional Development Fund?

a)    Bench fees or the costs of scientific equipment or similar academic resources. The Foundation expects such core costs to be covered by the university; and

b)    Costs not directly related to studies (e.g. professional association fees, fees for patent applications, costs of dependents, mobile phones).

5. Are there any countries that cannot be included in overseas travel?

Travel to countries with a Level 3 (Reconsider your need to travel) or Level 4 (Do not travel) rating by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are not to be included in a Development Plan. Countries Alert Levels are listed on the smartraveller.gov.au website

6. Will Fellows be required to hold travel insurance?

Fellows and their spouse, partner or dependent(s) will be expected to be covered by appropriate health and travel insurance (including coverage for existing conditions) for the duration of any time overseas as part of their Fellowship. Specific requirements in relation to insurance will be negotiated between the Fellow and their university.  

7. Will the Westpac Professional Development Fund cover travel for my spouse, partner or dependent(s)?

No. The Westpac Professional Development Fund only covers the cost of travel for the Fellow.

8. What does the Fellowship fund?
  •        The Fellowship funds each Fellow’s fulltime salary and on-costs for a period of up to three years from the date of award;
  •        The Fellowship will include access to a $30,000 Westpac Professional Development Fund provided and administered by the host university. This 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; and
  •        Access to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network
9. Will Westpac Bicentennial Foundation provide Fellows with taxation advice?

Fellows are responsible and encouraged to seek taxation advice regarding their individual circumstances. Westpac Bicentennial Foundation makes no representation or warranty in relation to the taxation implications of any funds provided by the Foundation to a Fellow.

Application & Selection Process

Application & Selection Process

1. When can I apply and when do applications close?

Applications open on 15 June 2017 and close at midnight (AEST) on 31 August 2017.

2. How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted through Westpac Bicentennial Foundation’s online application system to be considered valid. This online system is accessed via the Westpac Research Fellowship webpage.

Before submitting your application please ensure you have checked your answers and supporting documents as applications cannot be re-submitted or amended after submission.

3. What is required to be a strong applicant?

Selection is based on an applicant's academic achievements, research plan, and focus on one or more of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation's priority areas. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • academic excellence and achievements to date;
  • ability to articulate how their proposed research has the potential to contribute to the future growth and prosperity of Australia in one of the Foundation’s priority funding areas;
  • a supportive and high quality research environment;
  • the attributes of a Westpac Research Fellow (see Appendix A in the Westpac Research Fellowship Funding Guidelines); and
  • a strong sense of connection to Australia and commitment to improving the lives of others.
4. What supporting documentation is required?

The following support documentation is required to be submitted with the online application:

a)    your Curriculum Vitae in 10 point Arial font including at a minimum:

    • Formal qualifications and any prizes, awards, honours and other esteem indicators;
    • Appointments, including consultancies;
    • Research/creative activity outputs, including bibliographic details, year of publication, individual contribution by percentage; and evidence of impact; and
    • Research/creative activity funding, including title of grant, funding body, grant category, individual contribution and role in the grant, year, total grant value, any patents and evidence of impact.

b)    a Letter of Support is required from the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) or equivalent using the template located on the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation website. The Letter of Support is required to confirm that your application meets the eligibility criteria and the support from has the support of the university for your proposed Research Budget;

c)    Two references (from different referees) are required using the reference templates located on the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation website:

    • The first is an Academic Reference and needs to be completed by a person who is familiar with your academic record and understands the importance of your proposed research project.
    • The second is a Personal Reference and needs to be completed by a person who has known you for at least two years and can demonstrate that you have the attributes of a Westpac Research Fellow.  This can be a previous work colleague or supervisor, however should not be a family member or a person who currently or previously reported directly to you.

You may be required to present proof of citizenship or permanent residency at any time during the selection process.

5. What makes a good application?

A good application takes time to develop. There are comprehensive Westpac Research Fellowship Funding Guidelines which you should review prior and whilst you develop your application. In addition there are a number of questions within the application that contain guidance to assist you in formulating your response. Please be aware many of the sections have specified word limits. 

Over the entire selection process, your application will be read and assessed by a varied group of people with diverse experience and backgrounds, including Westpac Bicentennial Foundation staff members, business leaders and senior academics both outside of and within your university. We strongly encourage you to articulate your ideas in a way that people outside of your area of expertise can easily understand.

6. Can you please provide an overview of the selection process?

The selection process is a comprehensive approach that draws on a range of online assessment tools and the expertise of selection panels within the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, the universities and the National Selection Panel. It will consist of five stages:

  •        Stage 1: Eligibility assessment – Westpac Bicentennial Foundation
  •        Stage 2: Online assessment to be undertaken by all eligible applicants
  •        Stage 3: Shortlisting – host university shortlisting
  •        Stage 4: National Assessment Centre (interviews) – 11-12 December 2017
  •        Stage 5: Notification – 20 December 2017

Please refer to the Westpac Research Fellowship Funding Guidelines for more detail. 

7. Who will be assessing my application?

Over the entire selection process, your application will be read and assessed by a varied group of people with diverse experience and backgrounds, including Westpac Bicentennial Foundation staff members, business leaders and senior academics both outside of and within your university. We strongly encourage you to articulate your ideas in a way that people outside of your area of expertise can easily understand.

8. How do I know if the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has received my application?

Once you have submitted your online application, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been received. This email will include your application number along with a copy of your application. 

9. When will applicants find out if they are successful?

Successful applicants will be notified on 20 December 2017. 

10. I missed the application window, can I still apply?

No, late applications will not be accepted.

11. Can I get feedback on my application if I am unsuccessful?

Unfortunately the Foundation is unable to provide individual feedback due to the volume of applications we receive. 

12. I am having technical problems with the online application system, who can I contact?

Please contact our online system provider, SmartyGrants, during business hours on 03 9320 6888 or email service@smartygrants.com.au