UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program

UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program

The Scientia Fellowship program is one of the cornerstones of UNSW’s 2025 Strategy. Its aim is to attract and retain the best and brightest people, with outstanding research track records. A primary goal of the program is to enhance UNSW research performance by attracting and retaining exceptional researchers at the highest level relative to career stage.

UNSW’s 2025 Strategy states that our aspiration is to be recognised as an international exemplar in equity, diversity and inclusion and an employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. Our aim is to achieve this by embracing the diversity and cultural richness of our communities; ensuring that our staff and students can achieve their full potential in a supportive and inclusive work environment. Our diversity commitment aligns to our strong sense of social responsibility and our belief that a diverse workforce enhances our ability to deliver world class research, teaching excellence and thought leadership.

Prospective applicants should discuss their proposal and its alignment with the research and strategic goals of the University with the relevant Faculty contact before applying. Information about who to contact and how to apply is available at unsw.edu.au/Apply

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What is the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program?

UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program, established as a cornerstone of the UNSW 2025 Strategy, aims to attract and retain the highest research performers on a trajectory to being exceptional research leaders and mentors.

What is the goal of the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program?

The Program aims to enhance the culture of research excellence, mentoring, career development, leadership and community, and to have a positive impact on research output quality, impact and citations metrics and reputation results.

What are the benefits of the Fellowship?

Fellowships will provide a pathway to continuing academic appointment for appointees not already on a continuing appointment.

There will also be a development and collaboration support package of $20,000 to $40,000 per annum and access to a range of development opportunities across research, teaching and learning and leadership and engagement relevant to career stage.

Flexibility will be via options for planned exit and re-entry to the UNSW workforce for personal or professional reasons.

What are the expectations around leadership and development?

Scientia Fellows new to UNSW will participate in an introductory program to facilitate their effective transition into UNSW and its research excellence culture. They will access on average two career development and planning sessions every year throughout their Scientia tenure and follow these up with participation in relevant professional and research development provided through UNSW.

Leadership development for Scientia Fellows will also feature, with the expectation that these skills and experiences enable them to become effective mentors and coaches. Each Fellow will have a centrally supported career coach and mentor appointed at the start of the Fellowship, and Fellows will be expected to participate in mentoring as mentor and mentee.

Can the funding provided support research equipment and consumables?

No. The development and collaboration support package is not intended to provide substantive research support funding as it is expected that recipients will already hold research support from external sources. However, Fellows coming from outside Australia without research funds available may request expenditure for research purposes. It can also be used to partially support relocation costs.

Are there any other expectations of Fellows?

Fellows will be expected to engage with activities that align with Strategy 2025. These include activities under the three pillars: social engagement, global impact and academic excellence.  Examples include interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and global development.

How many Fellows will be appointed in the Scientia Fellowship Program?

The Program will appoint up to 290 researchers over the next 10 years into research intensive Fellowships. There will be 20 Fellows appointed in 2017 and 40 in 2018.

At what academic level will Scientia Fellows be appointed?

Scientia Fellowships will provide a pathway to continuing academic careers for internal and external applicants entering the program at any point from Level A to C. Appointment at Level D may be considered if there are no significant infrastructure and start-up costs in which case a SHARP application should be submitted.

Am I able to apply for promotion while in the Scheme?

Yes. Scientia Fellows apply for promotion using the same promotion process as all academic staff. On successful promotion from level A to level B, the support package will increase from $20,000 to $30,000pa. On successful promotion from level B to level C the support package will increase again to $40,000pa.

Will I be expected to teach?

Scientia Fellows will be encouraged to include teaching and learning and development in their plans. While these are research-focused Fellowships with research performance criteria for advancing through academic levels, teaching and learning is an essential and valued part of an academic career.

How long are the Fellowships?

Scientia Fellowships will support candidates throughout an academic career. Fellowships on initial appointment are 3 years (negotiable) for internal candidates and 4 years for external candidates. Second and subsequent terms will be for 4 years and will be awarded subject to continuing performance against agreed research excellence criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Applicants can be internal UNSW staff or external applicants and must hold a PhD at the time of application.

How do I apply?

A call for applications will be published in September 2016 with the application form available through the unsw.edu.au/Apply website.

What are the selection criteria?

Fellows will be selected on the basis of research excellence (relative to opportunity), fit of research proposal with priority research areas, and alignment with strategic goals. The Scientia Fellowship Program will also embed diversity in appointment practices to ensure appropriate gender representation, cultural diversity and disciplinary expertise.

When can I start?

Start dates will be negotiated directly with Faculties and are likely to be after January 1, 2017.

What are the performance criteria during the Fellowship?

If you are external to UNSW when you apply, clear performance criteria for progression to continuing employment will be developed between the Fellow and UNSW at the commencement of the appointment.

All other Fellows will negotiate performance criteria based on discipline appropriate metrics at entry to the Scientia Fellowship Program.

What if I do not meet the performance targets during the Fellowship?

Those unable to maintain their performance criteria within specified timeframes will be offered a 2-year safety net, for performance improvement or to allow time to find alternative employment if not yet on a continuing position.

Will the Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme continue?

No, the VC postdoc scheme will finish once the current appointees complete their tenures. The scheme has been replaced by the Scientia Fellowships, with appointments at level A being the equivalent.  However, the new scheme now provides a pathway to a continuing appointment.

If I am a current VC postdoc, can I apply for a Scientia fellowship?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.