Apply for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship

Lachlan Holder_Westpac Future Leaders Scholar 2022

Applications for the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship are now open.

Read on to learn more about this scholarship from Lachlan Holden, a 2022 Westpac Future Leader Scholar from the University of Adelaide.


Applying for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship will help you think bigger

Lachlan Holden, University of Adelaide - 2022 Westpac Future Leader Scholar

In seeking advice while preparing my initial written application for the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, a common theme that came through was that regardless of the outcome, the process of preparing an application served as an excellent reflective exercise to start to determine personal motivations and goals for higher study. This is definitely congruent with my experience, and writing the application was a key part of fully understanding and verbalising why my proposed PhD is the direction that I wanted to take with my professional life for the next few years.

Thinking about the ‘why’ in many ways really started before the Westpac Scholars Trust application began. Even in the early stages of talking with potential supervisors to determine my topic, I was conscious of some of the knock-on effects that this would have. I knew that I wanted to be working in space, and that I wanted to make the most of my broad undergraduate studies by having a project that would draw on various elements of the computer science and mechatronics disciplines. These decisions were made with the future in mind – with my current plans to re-enter industry after my PhD (which could definitely change over the course of the next few years), I wanted to use my PhD as the opportunity to develop as broad a range of relevant and transferrable skills across different disciplines, while still making the most of the fact that it is, by its nature, a very specialised degree.

The scholarship application process, then, really served as an opportunity to think beyond just myself. My natural instincts for planning had led me to a project area that would serve me well, but the reflection that went into answering some of the application questions encouraged me to further consider the potential impacts of me and my work on other Westpac Scholars, as well as to Australia and society at large. Linking my project to the Trust’s priority areas of technology & innovation and enabling social impact helped me to not just verbalise why I thought I deserved the scholarship, but also why I was even deciding to pursue a PhD at all.

I think that this is the key essential message for those looking to apply to the scholarship in the future: the scholarship application process serves dual purposes of both applying to the scholarship and providing the opportunity to reflect on and clarify your aims, motivations, and dreams for your further course of study at large – which ultimately will feed back into writing a stronger, better justified application.


For more information, to nominate or apply for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, visit the Westpac Scholars Trust website.

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