NSW universities and the State Government have jointly funded a new Fulbright scholarship for young researchers.

Premier Nathan Rees announced the scholarship at UNSW this week. The state government has invested $250,000, with matching funding contributed by NSW universities.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the ties between the government and the higher education sector in NSW at a time when governments around the world are looking increasingly to scientific research and higher learning to find solutions to our global problems," Mr Rees said.

Australian-American Fulbright Commission Board chair, Tom Pascarella, said the new scholarship, valued at $50,000 will give talented young people from NSW special opportunities to participate in the prestigious Fulbright Program. Applications will open in June.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Frederick Hilmer, Chair of the NSW Vice-Chancellors' Committee, said they were delighted with the strong government support for higher education.

"This scholarship will help drive high-level research and enhance the already rich relationship between institutions and world leading experts," Professor Hilmer said.

The Fulbright Commission has also announced the 2009 winners of its national scholarships, which include two leading researchers from UNSW.

Associate Professor John Foster, from the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to undertake research at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. His Bio/Polymer Research Group has recently developed a new surgical bioadhesive that overcomes the disadvantages associated with current surgical procedures. It is activated by laser and is able to help reconnect severed nerves.

Watch a video about John Foster's research on UNSW's YouTube Channel.

Dr Vanessa Hayes">_blank, Group Leader Cancer Genetics at the Children's Cancer Institute Australia, has won a Fulbright Professional Scholarship. She will be based at Pennsylvania State University, where she will use Next Generation Sequencing technology to examine prostate cancer genomes to map all the variations that may indicate if a person is susceptible to developing the disease.

Dr Hayes is also collaborating with her host institute to generate a whole genome sequence of the Tasmanian Devil and its facial cancer. Her research team is using it as a unique model to understand human cancer development.

Media contact: Denise Knight | 9385 8920 | d.knight@unsw.edu.au