Budding research students aiming to make a meaningful impact with their studies are to receive significant funding support, thanks to a new $5 million scholarship fund from the University of Newcastle.
Aiming to attract and retain the best and brightest students to the region, the program was initiated by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, and will provide scholarship opportunities for 90 Higher Degree by Research students.
Higher Degree Research is a postgraduate university degree involving a supervised research project, such as a Masters by Research or a PhD.
In the first round, 45 candidates from across Australia and the world have been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Higher Degree by Research Training Scholarship.
To help foster their academic careers, recipients will receive a tuition fee scholarship, living allowance fixed for three and a half years, a laptop, overseas student health cover for international candidates and, if eligible, a relocation allowance.
Professor Alex Zelinsky said applicants were selected based on academic merit and proven capacity for research.
“The successful candidates show tremendous potential to develop the skills for ongoing influence in their academic careers, and to make meaningful difference in their fields,” he said.
“We hope this extra $5 million investment, in addition to the significant breadth of existing scholarships we offer, will continue to attract academic talent to our region and help foster innovative research.”
Among the 30 domestic candidates offered scholarships in the first round is Rosey Hart, who will investigate extreme water levels and hydrodynamic modelling in the coastal zone.
Since beginning her studies at the University of Newcastle as an Open Foundation student, Rosey has achieved first class Honours in Bachelor of Science, majoring in Earth and Marine Sciences.
An ocean enthusiast, Rosey said she hoped to raise awareness about the importance of keeping coastal zones clean and respecting these environments that support so much of modern lives.
“My goal is to learn more about the coastal dynamic processes on sandy beaches and rocky intertidal zones. By doing so, there is potential to mitigate beach erosion, which is prevalent along the coast of NSW, and allow us to appreciate and sustain healthy beaches,” Rosey said.
Bachelor of Arts with Distinction graduate, Andrew Menken, who went on to receive First Class Honours for his creative thesis, was also awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Higher Degree by Research Training Scholarship.
Andrew said he aimed to write a collection of poems encapsulating his individual experiences in his hometown of Budgewoi on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
“This collection will not only focus on my relationship with a specific place and the dynamic character of that relationship but will also illuminate the different ways in which identity is shaped by our environment,” Andrew said.
Scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in the newly developed Academic Career Preparation Pathway.
This offers an academic training experience beyond the research experience to help candidates develop core competencies in university teaching.
The scholars will be exposed to learning and practice-based opportunities in conducting tutorials, lab demonstrations, effective classroom practice, learning and assessment design, and the use of transformative technologies.
Of the 45 scholarships offered in Round One, 15 were awarded to international applications.
“I am proud to see the University of Newcastle attracting global talent to our regions, as well as retaining gifted and motivated research students. By supporting these bright minds, we are helping to shape leaders of the future who will no doubt go on to do great things,” Alex said.
IMAGE | Rosey Hart, Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO and Andrew Menken