2021 John Monash Scholars announced in most competitive award round to date
The 13 recipients are set to be Australia’s next generation of leaders with John Monash scholars going onto become global pioneers in their selected fields.
The General Sir John Monash Foundation has today announced the 13 recipients of its 2021 scholarships, Australia’s most prestigious postgraduate overseas study program. Among the recipients are a scientist dedicated to revolutionising cancer immunotherapy, an emergency nurse working to combat domestic abuse within humanitarian disasters, a teacher striving to close the educational gap for First Nation Australians, and a researcher focused on finding ways to manage the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
This year was the most applied awards round for the Foundation to date with over 360 Australians applying from a diverse range of disciplines, of which only 88 secured formal interviews, and only 13 offered the prestigious scholarships for 2021. The scholarship selection criteria includes demonstrated excellence in their field, leadership ability and a vision to deliver a positive impact for the benefit of Australia.
This year’s judging panels included many eminent Australians including a leading economist, a Judge, senior corporate directors, University Chancellors, exceptional philanthropists, art administrators and returned John Monash scholars.
Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, Jillian Segal AO said that this year’s award round was incredibly competitive with the calibre of applicants being exceptional.
“We’re identifying the future leaders of Australia and the globe. John Monash Scholars are outstanding in their chosen fields and are already demonstrating their value by contributing to Australia’s future as scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, lawyers and in vital areas of domestic and global policy. These are the people who have the potential to change the world and this scholarship puts the recipients on a pathway to achieve that potential,” said Ms Segal.
To date, the General Sir John Monash Foundation has awarded 215 scholarships since its inception in 2001. The Foundation’s 2021 awards included three new scholarships focused on supporting the important areas of sustainable futures, social innovation and cohesion, and cross-sectoral collaborations, thanks to funding from philanthropist Judith Neilson.
Many John Monash Scholars have gone on to global leadership roles and have won numerous awards in their fields. Most recently, 2006 John Monash Scholar, Professor Mark Dawson won the Prime Minister’s Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year for his contribution to cancer treatments.
Amongst the 2021 scholarship recipients is Melbourne medical oncology research fellow, Dr Ashray Gunjur. Dr Gunjur plans to follow in Professor Dawson’s footsteps and attend the world-leading Wellcome Sanger Institute at Cambridge University where he will complete his PhD in cancer immunotherapy: the revolution in cancer treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Army engineer officer Amrinder Singh Ghuman plans to undertake a master of engineering and a master of business administration at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Emergency nurse of 15 years Emily Ragus intends to complete a PhD in utilisation of gender empowerment theory within disasters promoting equality as a health diplomacy tool for Australia.
This year’s cohort will study at a variety of prestigious international universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia, University College of London, University of Amsterdam and more.
Annemarie Rolls, CEO of the General Sir John Monash Foundation said the scholars inspired confidence in a bright future for Australia after a challenging year for the world.
“It’s been incredible to watch many of our scholars pivot their work this year to meet the changing needs of Australia in the face of the pandemic and we have no doubt the new cohort will go on to excel in the same manner as leaders and great ambassadors for Australia,” said Ms Rolls.
General Sir John Monash was a civil engineer and an Australian military commander of the first World War. He is remembered as one of the best Allied generals of the Great War and perhaps Australia’s most famous military commander. He was also a leader outside of his military career through his many contributions to civilian life; such as being a founding member of the first Rotary Club of Australia, advocate for the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, principal organiser of annual observance of ANZAC day, first chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.