Westpac Scholars Trust demonstrates long-term impact to Australia

Westpac Asian Exchange Scholars in Singapore

New research provides key insights about the economic and social output of Westpac Scholars, eight years since the inception of Westpac Scholars Trust.


Westpac Scholars Trust recently commissioned market research agency, Pollinate, to develop an impact evaluation framework to assess the value of the organisation to society and derive its overall contributions to Australia, eight years since its inception.  


In this six-stage iterative research project, long-term impact was measured based on scholar output and achievements. This includes their appointment into positions of leadership and their involvement in new initiatives which in turn creates employment opportunities, generates funding, and influences changes to policy.  


The results of the evaluation were overwhelmingly positive and indicate that Westpac Scholars Trust is delivering on its mission to create a stronger Australia by building future leaders that contribute significantly to the economic and social success of our country across our four key focus areas.


Since 2015, Westpac Scholars Trust has invested $35 million in 640+ scholars. The evaluation has revealed the following long-term insights about this cohort:  


  • At least 1 in 3 scholars hold a position of leadership in business or community organisations.  
  • 1 in 5 scholars have launched one or more organisations. 
  • 72% of these organisations have generated new jobs in Australia.  
  • 1 in 4 scholars are receiving financial investment to support their work. 
  • At least half of these scholars are receiving $500,000 or more and 10% are receiving over $5 million. 
  • 7% of scholars have had their research commercialised.  

Westpac Scholars range from undergraduates just at the start of their career to postgraduates, social entrepreneurs and post-doctoral researchers. Each scholar is unique, carving their own path in areas of innovation, environmental sustainability and social change - all critical to Australia's future prosperity.


Westpac Research Fellow Professor Elizabeth New is one such scholar. Awarded a Fellowship in 2016, Professor New designs chemical sensors that detect the presence of molecules in medical and environmental samples. Her work has been used widely in the study of cancer, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. They've also been useful in testing water quality in remote communities to reduce the prevalence of related illnesses.


Professor New has received over $12 million in grant funding to support this research and is making inroads towards commercialisation. She was also recently appointed Interim Head of School at the University of Sydney School of Chemistry, a testament to her strong leadership skills which are so critical in addition to important research.


Looking at scholarship outcomes like leadership development and networking support, the impact evaluation also showed Westpac Scholars Trust is delivering impact in the short and medium term. 


Further results from the research discovered:  


  • 91% of Westpac Scholars are more confident in their ability to positively contribute to the prosperity of Australia after participating in the program. 
  • 94% of Westpac Scholars now have access to networks which are valuable to their career. 
  • 2 in 3 Westpac Scholars are actively helping to create the next generation of leaders.  
  • 74% of survey participants agree that Westpac Scholars are influential thought leaders, bringing focus on issues of significance.  

This is the first time a study of this magnitude has been conducted. Surveys, workshops and in-depth interviews were completed by scholars and stakeholders to evaluate these outcomes.  


Given the program is still in its infancy, Westpac Scholars Trust will continue to conduct this impact evaluation every five years to track scholars as they advance in their career and deliver even greater impact.  

Long-Term Impact Evaluation PDF

Read our Long-Term Impact Evaluation to discover the economic and social output of Westpac Scholars, eight years since the inception of Westpac Scholars Trust.

View our Long-Term Impact Evaluation

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