New foundation will help nuture our future leaders

Westpac Chief Executive Gail Kelly, Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence and Chancellor Belinda

Michael Spence, Gail Kelly & Belinda Hutchinson

The University of Sydney is a founding partner of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history. In April Westpac announced a one-off contribution of $100 million to fund approximately 100 scholarships every year in perpetuity, as part of the bank’s 200th anniversary in 2017.

The foundation was launched by Westpac CEO Gail Kelly and Westpac Chairman Lindsay Maxsted at a gala luncheon in Sydney, with the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne both announced as founding partners.

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, welcomed the announcement: “By helping universities to fund the pursuit of ideas that will shape the world in which we live, Westpac will help universities like Sydney remain at the forefront of teaching and research worldwide, and pursue discoveries that will benefit all Australians.”

Scholarships and awards will roll out from 2015, while the programs are expected to be fully operational by 2017. The University of Sydney will offer three of the five available scholarships and awards programs through the foundation, including Future Leaders, Best and Brightest and Asian Exchange.

Gail Kelly emphasised the link between the new foundation and Westpac’s long history of supporting communities: “We strongly believe that as a vital part of the Australian community, Westpac has a responsibility to play a role in ensuring we capitalise on every opportunity to help nurture future leaders.”

The scholarship programs expected to be on offer at the University of Sydney include:

Future Leaders scholarships of up to $120,000 per recipient. These will be awarded to new or recent graduates for postgraduate study at a prestigious global institution. Recipients will come from a wide range of disciplines, with preference given to Australia’s relationship with Asia, and technology and innovation.

Best and Brightest scholarships, which will provide awards to postdoctoral researchers in Australia’s leading research universities. Recipients will be selected based on their research work, which will focus on enhancing Australia’s competitive position in technology and innovation, or strengthening Australia’s ties with Asian economies. Successful applicants will each receive $330,000 over three years.

Asian Exchange scholarships of up to $10,000, which will provide the opportunity for Australian undergraduate students to spend a semester at a leading Asian university, with a focus on increasing the number of Asia-literate graduates in Australia.

For information on all the scholarships, visit