Students awarded prestigious Forrest Scholarships

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Thursday, 25 January 2018


Six students will fly in from around the world to accept prestigious 2018 Forrest Scholarships at The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University, made possible by the generosity of the Forrest Research Foundation.

The students come from a broad range of academic backgrounds and will research everything from how to reduce the cost of developing drugs to treat illnesses, how to remove contaminants from wastewater, to ways of using nuclear physics to make developments in cancer treatments available.

In addition, a post-doctoral researcher studying the genetics of wheat to find drought and salt resistant genes in ancient wheat varieties will take up a 2018 Forrest Research Foundation Fellowship. A scholarship recipient studying renewable energy who started at UWA in late 2017 will also join the team.

The Forrest Research Foundation aims to attract the brightest minds to conduct postgraduate research in Western Australia, and provides support to international and domestic students to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at one of the State’s universities. The Foundation also supports leading researchers who are at the start of their career by providing post-doctoral fellowships.

The scholarships and fellowships started in 2013 when Andrew and Nicola Forrest made what was believed to be the largest single philanthropic donation in Australian history – $65 million to attract the best minds to Western Australia.

The donation included $50 million for the establishment of the Forrest Research Foundation to fund scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships across all five WA universities. A further $15 million went towards the creation of Forrest Hall, a soon to be opened, state-of-the-art accommodation facility in Crawley for scholars and rising research leaders. The 2018 scholars will be among the first people to occupy this facility.

Andrew and Nicola Forrest said they were delighted to welcome seven new Forrest Scholars, including the first Scholar to undertake research at Edith Cowan University and a third Forrest Fellow, Dr Philipp Bayer.

The Forrest Research community has been further strengthened by these appointments and we look forward to following their research progress across numerous fields,” Andrew and Nicola Forrest said.

Warden of the Forrest Research Foundation, Professor Paul Johnson said the Forrest Scholarships and Fellowships supported outstanding Australian students.

“The scholarships are bringing to WA the brightest young researchers from around the world to help build Perth into a research and innovation hub of global significance,” Professor Johnson said.

A full list of recipients is below.


Asja Kroeger – UWA

Asja from Germany is studying chemistry and will be researching how to improve reliability and reduce the cost of developing new drugs.

Quote:  “The Forrest Scholarship makes it possible for students to stay together in a residential college.  These friendships will allow me to see different perspectives and make me a more open-minded person.”

Xuyen Le – UWA

Xuyen from Vietnam will be researching the molecular process by which plants create fuel for mitochondria – the ‘engine’ of plant growth - to address global food security and supply issues.

Quote:  “The Forrest Research Foundation is a contributing factor for why I chose Western Australia to be my future second home. The establishment of the Foundation proves that there is an appreciation of scientists who want to make a difference to the world. The biggest reward of all is to spend time living with exceptional student cohorts coming from different cultures and fields of expertise and to be able to meet with Mr. and Ms. Forrest who care for the future development of Western Australia and the world.”

Sarah Leeson – UWA

Sarah from Mandurah will look at genetic variation and environmental adaptability in dung beetles to help improve performance of Australian pastoral sector and develop improved understanding of species translocation.

Quote: “I have cycled along Mounts Bay Road to UWA almost every day during my Honours year. As I rode by, I watched the foundations of the Forrest Hall being built. I spent the better part of that year pondering the unique experience that a Forrest Scholarship would offer. What excites me is the opportunity to be a part of a community of bright and motivated individuals, with the potential to spark new collaborations and innovations.”

Masnun Naher – UWA

Masnun from Bangladesh will research molecular electronics to help develop the next generation of technology in electronics.

Quote: “Imagine a world in which electronic technology can be made available not only to the advanced nations, but to all people. Imagine a world where electronics is freed from current constraints. The basic science in this area is advancing at great pace, but less is being done to migrate the science to achievable device structures. As a student from a developing country, the Forrest Scholarship will help me to contribute to the economic development of my country and above all my achievements will play a significant role in national development as well.”

Liam Scarlett – Curtin University

Liam from Fremantle will be undertaking a PhD with the Theoretical Physics Group at Curtin, using supercomputers and quantum mechanics to study atomic and molecular collisions.

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