Future leaders tackling the challenges of tomorrow
United by a shared goal to help create a stronger Australia, exceptional members of our University community have been awarded Westpac Future Leader and Social Impact scholarships.
Every year, the Westpac Scholars Trust awards 100 new scholarships to students, early-career researchers and social entrepreneurs who possess the passion and ambition to drive positive change.
Eight University of Sydney students have been recognised in this cohort, sharing in part of the $4 million awarded.
Each scholar is pursuing a career in one of four key focus areas, which are at the heart of the nation’s future prosperity: sustainability, technology and innovation, social change, and ties with Asia.
Zubin Bilimoria, Alexander Frisina and Stuart Nicholls each received a Westpac Future Leaders scholarship, valued at $120,000, to support their postgraduate studies.
Determined to make Australia’s energy resources more secure and available, Alexander Frisina’s PhD focuses on leading the development of commercially viable technologies to turn waste into sustainable energy and resources.
“My research aims to facilitate the commercially viable production of H2 from methane, a greenhouse gas emitted at landfills and sewage treatment sites. If this can be achieved, Australia can produce sustainable H2 (rather than using fossil natural gas as is the status quo), which is available across the country in proximity to landfill and sewage treatment sites. This in turn improves Australia's sustainability, energy access and energy security in a clean energy future,” he said.
Highlighting the multi-disciplinary approach needed for a sustainable future, Zubin Bilimoria’s PhD project centres on analysing international legal and policy developments within the hydrogen sector and their applicability to Australia.
“In 2019, I led a team that raised US$100,000 for SolarBuddy, a charity that aims to reduce energy poverty in developing countries. The funds were used for the distribution of innovative, portable solar lights, enabling children to study after dark and in a safe environment,” Zubin said.
“I was able to leverage the skills developed during my university years and experience in the finance industry for social good, and this experience was a major turning point for the type of work that I want to pursue.”
Stuart Nicholls’ research will underpin a thriving quantum tech sector in Australia by developing novel quantum algorithms which will form the basis for software applications on the first intermediate-scale quantum computers, expected to be realised within five years.
Seung-hyun Pan, Holly Trikilis, Abigail Russell, Leo Barry and Emily Liao also received an Asian Exchange Scholarships. These scholars offer an international experience in Asia to help develop their cross-cultural thinking and provide them with access to networking opportunities with thought leaders.
Senior Project Officer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Corey Tutt OAM started the DeadlyScience initiative in 2018. The program provides remote schools with scientific resources and connects young Indigenous people with mentors to encourage their participation in STEMM subjects.
In the last five years, DeadlyScience has shipped over 25,000 books, 700 telescopes, 10,000 Lego kits and other STEM resources to more than 180 communities.
"Science is deadly! It is how we make sense of the world. As a nation and at DeadlyScience, we have a cultural responsibility to our first and future scientists," Corey said.
“The Westpac Social Change Fellowship means everything to me. I’m excited to invest in my own professional development so I can be better at investing in others. I’m also really looking forward to giving myself the best chance to impact my people in a positive way.”
You can read more about our scholars' journeys and career goals on the Westpac Scholars website.