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Sydney Horizon Fellowships

Dream big, take risks and drive change
These fellowships are intended to empower up to 40 of the world's best and brightest emerging academics to undertake innovative research that will build our understanding of, and resilience to, climate change; improve health outcomes; and create a more sustainable world.

Applications for cohort 1 our Sydney Horizon Fellowships are now closed.

Fellowship benefits

Each successful applicant will receive:

  • a continuing position (subject to confirmation) that starts with a five-year research-focused fellowship, which includes training and mentorship to develop academic leadership skills and up to AUD$100,000 per annum in research funding, 
  • a competitive salary, ranging from AUD$113,000-$160,000, + 17% superannuation (pension fund).

Fellows will be supported to achieve their ambitions by an integrated and diverse ecosystem of researchers, spanning our many faculties, schools and dedicated research centres.

For further information on benefits, please refer to the Sydney Horizon Fellowships application page.

Research challenges

Climate change, health, and sustainability are three of our most pressing contemporary challenges. Drawing on and developing their disciplinary and multidisciplinary skills, Fellows will address these challenges and advance potential solutions. The latter may include the development of novel technologies, biomedical, legal, business, design, policy, and political instruments.

Fellows will be supported to join existing Centres and form new communities of practice across the schools and faculties of the University, working together to address the three grand challenges.

Climate change

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today. A changing climatic system is already having impacts on societal and environmental health and  on economic stability and sustainability.

We're dedicated to addressing climate change through mechanisms such as emissions reduction, community resilience and adaptation, climate transition strategies, and decarbonisation strategies.

Our Sydney Horizon Fellowship scheme aims to address these and related critical areas by recruiting outstanding early and mid-career researchers who are passionate about tackling climate change.

Fellows will have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research, including the development of new technologies to mitigate climate change, the design of a beyond-zero energy future, and the understanding of climate impacts on the environment, business, human health, and society.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to work on issues such as climate adaptation and disaster response, including risk assessment and recovery, to build more sustainable and resilient communities.


Our Sydney Horizon Fellowship scheme also focuses on the challenge of creating and maintaining healthy societies in an increasingly complex and connected world.  

This thematic area encompasses topics such as healthy sustainable local and global food systems to address nutrition, food security; novel technologies to solve complex health problems; decoding the brain and behaviour to improve health and wellbeing across the human lifespan, and the role of interspecies, environmental and cultural relations in addressing health and disadvantage.

Fellows will work to develop new approaches to promote health and wellbeing, while also addressing the complex social and environmental factors that contribute to health outcomes as well as to possible solutions.

They will explore issues such as the impact of environmental factors, cultural loss, economic structures and widening inequalities on health, the role of technology in promoting healthy behaviours, and the development of new treatments and therapies for a range of diseases as well as the unintended consequences of such treatments.


Sustainability is another critical area of focus for our Sydney Horizon Fellowship scheme, where we aim to address and impact the broad range of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Fellows will work to create innovative solutions that promote sustainable development and address the pressing environmental, social, cultural and economic challenges facing the world today.

They will develop new technologies, policies and strategies to promote sustainability in areas such as agriculture, architecture, cultural practices, energy, finance, waste management, water, and transportation, while also working to ensure that these solutions are socially and economically viable.

Fellows will work to design and future-proof policy and socio-cultural, economic and business models for the management of emerging technologies and global stability.

We seek those dedicated to the innovation and impact necessary for truly sustainable economies and societies.


Applicants must:

  • be less than ten years since the award of their PhD (or equivalent) at the closing date of the application, relative to opportunity,
  • commit to working on the Fellowship from the agreed start date of the award,
  • obtain and maintain the right to work in Australia, 
  • apply via the Sydney Horizon Fellowships application page - applications, including attachments and questionnaire responses will not be accepted via other methods.

Applicants will be asked to provide their ORCID iD (where available) in their application to assist with the assessment process.

The Sydney Horizon Fellowships are open to all disciplines. Applicants must propose research that addresses at least one of the challenges of climate change, health or sustainability.

Application deadline

Applications are now closed.

Applicants will be informed of their outcome by October 2023. Successful applicants will commence their role with us in 2024. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The Sydney Horizon Fellowship Scheme is open to international researchers who meet the eligibility criteria, as detailed on this webpage and in the Guidelines.

Successful applicants who do not have an Australian work right may be sponsored for a work visa by the University. To be sponsored for a work visa, applicants must have a valid or current passport.

For more information on visa sponsorship and relocation to Sydney, please refer to Work Rights and Visas and Moving to Sydney.

To be eligible for the Sydney Horizon Fellowships, applicants will need to have been awarded (conferred) their PhD by the application close date (5 July 2023).

Applicants who hold an existing externally-funded fellowship with salary support will be eligible to apply for the Sydney Horizon Fellowships.

If successful, the Horizon Fellow will receive the research support component of the Sydney Horizon Fellowship and all other benefits from the researcher development and mentoring program.

In the instance where the externally-funded fellowship completes during the first five years of the Sydney Horizon Fellowship, the relevant salary component for the years remaining of the five years will be provided in addition to the research support component and the researcher development and mentoring program.

Applicants do not currently need to be at Level B/C to be considered for a Sydney Horizon Fellowship. The Fellowships are open to all candidates provided that they meet the eligibility criteria, as detailed on this webpage and in the Guidelines.

While the research proposal template may be amended to suit different disciplines, we advise that you refrain from amending the format of the templates.

The CV and research proposal must be a maximum of 2 pages (not including references for the research proposal).

The nominated host Faculty/School will initially assess and interview applicants before progressing applications to a Central Selection Committee with representation across all disciplines.

Salaried clinician researchers, who meet the eligibility criteria, will be able to apply for the Sydney Horizon Fellowships.

Successful applicants who hold salaried roles as clinicians will be permitted to undertake the Sydney Horizon Fellowship on a part-time basis, with adjustment of their workload allocation to allow them to meet their clinical requirements.

Assessing achievements relative to opportunity involves taking into account the overall time available for a given period and considers the performance of applicants in light of that time. 

Applications will be assessed relative to opportunity, taking into consideration clinical responsibilities in recognition of its impact on research opportunity and productivity.

Applicants will also be able to extend the eligibility dates for the Fellowship beyond the 10 years post-PhD award (or equivalent) limit, commensurate with the time spent in clinical practice setting.

The character limits for the prepared statements of your application include spaces.

In addition to questionnaire responses, your application must consist of:

1. A two-page CV, using the template link provided.

2. A prepared statement outlining how your proposed research aligns with the objectives of the Horizon Fellowship program, would be synergistic with current activity in your nominated host Faculty, is multidisciplinary, and aligns with the University of Sydney's 2032 Strategy (5,000 character limit, maximum two A4 pages)

3. A prepared statement describing your research achievements, relative to opportunity, in accordance with the Australian Research Council's Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence guidelines (5,000 character limit, maximum two A4 pages)

4. A research proposal, using the template link provided and uploaded as a PDF (maximum two A4 pages, not including references)

5. Your ORCID iD (where available). This may be used to assist with the assessment process.

6. Three potential mentors/collaborators at the University of Sydney (and their Faculty / School and area of research focus) in one or more of your nominated areas of research focus. It is not a requirement to contact potential mentors/collaborators prior to submitting the application. Find a researcher by their name or Faculty here.

Please refer to the Guidelines for key information about the Scheme.

For the Sydney Horizon Fellowships, affiliates will need to apply via the External Career Site. A link to the external application form can be found on this webpage.

Horizon fellows will be appointed at academic Level B or Level C. Salaries within the Level B/C range will be determined commensurate to the Horizon Fellow’s skills, experience, and knowledge. 

Horizon Fellows are expected to be based at one of the University of Sydney’s campus locations, where appropriate and suitable for the proposed research, teaching as well as collaboration. 

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We've been producing the leaders of tomorrow for more than 170 years. We are proud to support the next generation of research stars to serve our communities at every level.

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