Six of UNSW’s best and brightest students have secured prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarships to study in the Indo-Pacific next year, with two selected as Fellows for their host countries

Sixty-nine scholarships, worth $67,000 each and comprising the most elite component of the plan, were announced at an awards dinner in Canberra by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Ms Bishop said the recipients, who will spend up to one year in their host country, had demonstrated academic excellence, a strong commitment to engaging with the region and the character to represent Australia with distinction.

UNSW is in the top three GO8 universities receiving the most New Colombo Plan scholarships for 2015.

UNSW International executive director Aleksandr Voninski said students are benefiting enormously from the Australian Government's renewed focus and funding of overseas study.

“The scholarship winners are the 'cream of the crop' and we're immensely proud of their ambition and potential. The New Colombo Plan will form a cornerstone of their future opportunities within the Asia-Pacific-focused 21st Century,” he said.

Tyce Barton and Rose Vassel have both been selected as Fellows for their host countries. New Colombo Plan Fellow's are the top-ranked candiates who are invited to play a strong role in promoting the the program while overseas. The students are given an extra $1,000 to purchase study or learning materials during their scholarship.

Barton, a Renewable Energy Engineering/Commerce student, will study at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur next year. He said Malaysia is the perfect place to foster innovative ideas for renewable energy projects.

“Malaysia has commenced an energy diversification plan, which will see many renewable energy sources feeding electricity into the grid. 

“I’m looking forward  to experiencing great ideas like this and bringing them back to Australia to help build a more sustainable future,” said Barton, who is planning an internship with Malaysia-based solar cell giant AUO SunPower.

 Vassel is an International Studies/Law who will study at the National Taiwan University, and undertake the International Chinese Language Program, an intensive year-long Mandarin program.

She believes language holds the key to education, tolerance and understanding, and is sound preparation for a career in foreign policy.

“I’m hoping my time in Taiwan will increase my appreciation of the complexity of other cultures and languages, and provide me with the experience to thrive in challenging international settings,” said Vassel.

In addition to the six new scholarships, five UNSW students are currently supported by the inaugural 2014 New Colombo Plan scholarships which were limited to study in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

UNSW has also secured an additional $434,000 in funding from the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program. The grants are awarded to Australian universities to support students undertaking study, practicums, clinical placements or internships in the Indo-Pacific.

An estimated 3173 Australian undergraduates will be funded to travel on mobility grants next year to 30-plus Indo-Pacific countries.

Ms Bishop said she hopes the Plan becomes a ‘rite of passage’ for Australian undergraduate students.

The Australian Government has committed $100 million in new funding over five years to implement the New Colombo Plan.

UNSW scholarship winners and host institutions


Tyce Barton – University of Malaya

Sonia Parulekar – University of Malaya

Jotham Young  - University of Malaya

South Korea:

Jun-Yi Lau: Postech


Rose Vassel – National Taiwan University


Ming-En Chin: Tsinghua University

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070



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New Colombo Plan scholars: L-R Jun-Yi Lau, Ming-En Chin,Tyce Barton, Jotham Young, Aleksandr Voninski (UNSW International) and Rose Parulekar. (Absent: Rose Vassel)

3 TyceBarton and Foreign Minister Bishop 1