UNSW student leaders win 2020 Westpac awards

6 Apr 2020


$1.8 million in scholarships awarded to 15 bright young Australians investigating solutions to global challenges.


Next generation solar technology, futureproofing farmers’ crops from climate change, and better understanding the genetics behind Autism Spectrum Disorder are just three of 15 research projects a group of outstanding postgraduate students will be undertaking with the support of Westpac Scholars Trust.

Today the Trust announced its 2020 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars, recognising 15 ambitious young Australians who are investigating solutions to some of our most pressing global problems. Each recipient will receive up to $120,000, covering their postgraduate studies, a nine-month bespoke leadership development program and the opportunity to study abroad.

Amongst this year’s recipients is two exceptional UNSW Students Oscar Osborne of UNSW Business School and Scott Watts of UNSW Edngineering.

According to Westpac Scholars Trust CEO, Susan Bannigan, “The Future Leaders Scholarship program gives some of Australia’s brightest and most ambitious students the chance to pursue their big ideas. Partnering with Australia’s leading universities to invest in this innovative thinking is something we need now more than ever.”

Beyond the financial investment of the scholarship, every Westpac Future Leaders Scholar gains lifelong access to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network. Growing by 100 scholars a year across the Westpac Scholars Trust’s five scholarship programs, the network connects a community of people from all walks of life with the ideas and drive to help shape a better future for all Australians.

The Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship is offered in partnership with The University of Adelaide, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, The University of Tasmania and University of Western Australia.

The UNSW winners are: 

Scott Watts: Scott is passionate about improving the sustainability, affordability and reliability of Australia’s electricity supply and aims to be at the forefront of innovation in the Australian electricity industry. "I want to leverage the data availability and networking capabilities of electrical equipment to create novel solutions to the problems we face both nationally and internationally in shifting towards renewable electricity supply".

His PhD in electrical engineering will focus on managing the increased decentralisation of energy resources. He intends on developing improved planning and operational strategies for the integration of distributed energy resources within existing and possible future regulatory and market frameworks.

“The best advice I've been given is ‘that you can never realise your visions alone, you need to take others on your journey'."

Oscar Osborne: Oscar is a founding member of Educating The Future, an organisation building pre-schools in Timor-Leste. He has an optimistic mindset and is passionate about the sustainable evolution of desolate regions and is committed to assisting nations with disparate living conditions. His PhD project will focus on how innovation ecosystems emerge and the role they have in assisting the sustainable growth of developing economies around the world. "My research unpacks the intricacies of economic growth by asking how innovation ecosystems emerge, and the role they have in aiding the development of poverty-stricken regions. Ultimately, I aim to establish a novel perspective targeting sustainable economic growth through innovation"

"The Westpac Scholars Network provides a fantastic opportunity to learn from and collaborate with extremely talented individuals from incredible backgrounds."

For a full list of 2020 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars and to learn more about their studies, visit the

Westpac Scholars Trust website.