University and ABC seek next generation research talent

10 April 2018
A greater appreciation and understanding of Australian humanities research will result from a partnership between the ABC and the University of Sydney to support researchers with a flair and passion for communicating their vital work.

UPDATE - 27 JUNE 2018: The winners of the inaugural Top 5 Humanities program have been announced. Read the full announcement.

Top 5 logo with words

Applications open today nationwide for the ABC’s Top 5 media residency, adding an important humanities focus to the program. It builds on the success of the science communicators’ residency, now in its fourth year in partnership with the University of NSW.

Providing an in-house incubator based at ABC Radio National (RN), the program is designed to nurture the communication skills and media awareness of dynamic emerging thinkers to help them share their knowledge and expertise with content-hungry audiences seeking expert information and debate.

As ‘Researchers in Residence’, the Top 5 winners will spend two weeks at the ABC working alongside some of the country’s best journalists and broadcasters to train in the craft of radio and TV interviews and develop content across ABC platforms.

“The University of Sydney has embraced, and excelled at, the humanities throughout its history. So this opportunity to further the understanding of their value and significance to the Australian community and beyond was irresistible,” said Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). 

"In a world of ‘post-truth’, #MeToo, artificial intelligence, and the ‘roboapocalypse’, we need the humanities, as never before, to help us understand and address some of the most challenging issues of our times. It’s vital that our finest humanities scholars are fine-tuning their communication skills and engaging with the world. Being part of this inaugural ABC Top 5 media residency program will help them to achieve that."

Professor Ivison is one of four high-profile ambassadors supporting the humanities Top 5 program, together with Patricia Karvelas, host of ABC RN’s Drive program, ABC TV presenter Kumi Taguchi and Dr Matthew Beard, The Ethics Centre and ABC's Short & Curly podcast.

“This partnership is a perfect fit for the University to showcase the country’s many talented early-career researchers across a comprehensive range of traditional and new humanities disciplines,” said Professor Annamarie Jagose, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and a judge of the Top 5. “Their cutting-edge ideas deserve to reach wider audiences and Top 5 opens up an ideal training ground for them in an era of research engagement and impact.”

Judith Whelan, another of the program’s judges and ABC’s Head of Specialist Content, said, “The ABC is proud of the Top 5 program’s success so far in discovering some of Australia’s brightest emerging thinkers. It’s exciting to see the program expand this year so our audiences can hear from more fresh, new voices, not just in science but now across the humanities as well.”

“I thank UNSW and the University of Sydney for partnering with the ABC to provide a national media residency scheme for the next generation of research talent.”


  •         Humanities: for PhD-qualified early career researchers in humanities and social sciences (HASS). New in 2018, the two-week media residency will be hosted by the ABC in September, supported by the University of Sydney.
  •        Science: for PhD-qualified early career researchers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medical research (STEMM). The two-week media residency will be hosted by the ABC in July, supported by UNSW. The Top 5 will be among ABC’s programming for National Science Week in August.

UPDATE: The winners of this year's humanities and scientists initiatives were announced in June 2018. For more information and the full list of winners, visit the ABC website.

Applications open: Tuesday 10 April 2018

Applications close: Wednesday 9 May 2018

Science media residency: 2–13 July 2018

Humanities media residency: 17–28 September 2018

Who can apply for the Top 5 programs?

Top 5 is open to early career researchers with a PhD working in Australian universities and research organisations across STEMM and HASS disciplines. See the Top 5 website for the full entry criteria and application forms.


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