2024 Westpac Research Fellows Headshots

Two early-career researchers from The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland have secured over $1.3 million in combined funding to support critical postdoctoral research and invest in them as leaders.


Westpac Scholars Trust has awarded Research Fellowships to accomplished academics Dr. Wing Yan Chan and Dr. Mickael Mounaix, who are committed to driving positive change through their pioneering research projects.


The Research Fellowship, the Trust’s highest value program, awards a minimum of $400,000 in flexible funding to recipients over five years. This fellowship is co-funded by the host university Their research must be aligned with one of the four key focus areas: technology and innovation, sustainability, inclusion, and fostering ties with Asia.


Dr. Wing Yan Chan is a coral reef scientist from The University of Melbourne who is looking to understand coral resilience and reef restoration in the face of climate change.


“Climate change threatens the survival of coral reefs worldwide,” said Chan. “My passion is to preserve the world’s coral reefs for our children.”


“My research aims to understand coral resilience and nutrition in the Asia-Pacific, and to design new innovative solutions to increase climate resilience and reef restoration success.”


In the face of rapid climate change and global biodiversity loss, Chan believes we need the community and industry to work together to find global solutions, something the Westpac Research Fellowship will enable her to do.


“This Fellowship is a game changer for me. For the first time, I will be able to use my heritage and trilingual ability to become a leader that brings together Australian and Asian researchers for the common goal of preserving our coral reefs,” she said.


Focusing on building Australia’s thriving tech sector is Dr. Mickael Mounaix, a researcher from The University of Queensland and physics enthusiast, who is on a mission to redefine the possibilities in optical sciences.


Born and raised in France, Mounaix is pushing the boundaries of light manipulation, collaborating with industry giants such as Nokia Bell Laboratories.


“My goal is to unlock the full potential of light for enhanced communications and biomedical imaging through places where light would not naturally travel to,” he said.


“I’m exploring ways to control light, such as bending it around obstacles, to improve how we use it in technologies such as the internet and medical imaging to make them more efficient and powerful.”


“By improving data transmission, my work contributes to the development of more robust internet infrastructure, supporting technological advancements and communication networks. Additionally, advancements in biomedical imaging can lead to improved healthcare diagnostics, benefiting the well-being of Australians.”


The Westpac Research Fellowship is a generous package that also includes a bespoke leadership 360 program to enhance each researchers’ capabilities and foster cross-sector collaboration to continue driving innovation in Australia.


Westpac Research Fellows also gain access to extensive networks to connect with senior business leaders and industry experts, as well as lifelong membership to the W100 Alumni Network, which includes over 730 Westpac Scholars, growing by 100 scholars every year.


When asked what he was looking forward now that he is a part of the Westpac Scholars program, Mounaix said “I am most looking forward to the invaluable opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and learning within the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.”


Westpac Scholars Trust awards 100 scholarships, valued up to $4M, every year to university students, early-career researchers and social entrepreneurs to help transform the future of Australia. 


To learn more about the 2024 Westpac Scholars visit the Westpac Scholars Directory.


Published 7 February 2024

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