The Talented Students Program (TSP) introduces high performing students entering selected Science degrees to cutting-edge, world-class research in UNSW Science.

We want to give you research experiences as early as possible in a safe and engaging manner to develop and nurture the passion for research that UNSW scientists all share. With the wide-ranging and brilliant research conducted within UNSW Science, we inspire you to tackle challenges that will shape the world.

Our previous TSP students have written research papers, attended conferences, integrated into research groups, developed peer groups and much more. All these opportunities exist from Year 1 of your science or science-related degree.


Depending on your entrance mark or performance in the early stages of your degree, the Dean of Science will invite you into the Talented Students Program. You can accept this offer online and provide some basic information that enables us to gauge your interests.

Program outline

The TSP is an avenue to engage your scientific research from the onset of your degree program. It doesn't have associated course credit. For first-year students, there are events planned throughout Term 1 facilitated by higher year TSP students.

  • Term 1
    • Early Term 1: Welcome Event
    • Throughout Term 1: TSP gatherings and research information sessions.
    Terms 2 & 3
    • Research placements
    Term 3
    • Week 8: The UNSW Talented Students Program Symposium – this is an opportunity for you to present your work, typically as posters, to your fellow TSP students and to the scientists who have mentored you.

    These events are designed for you to meet TSP students in all years, engage with UNSW Science staff in various schools, and begin to choose schools and research projects you may be interested in for the second term of your first year and beyond. 

    In Term 2 of your first year, you'll choose a research project or research group in one of the schools of UNSW Science or UNSW Medicine.  

    What you do in the research project or group depends entirely on you and your conversations with the researcher. It can be as simple as attending research group meetings every week or as complex as performing laboratory experiments that no one in the world has ever done before. In each term of your degree, you can participate in a different research group, expanding your horizons and experiences.

TSP research areas

The research booklet has a list of TSP contacts for each school and the type of projects available. To organise a project in that area or field, please get in touch with the designated TSP contact or with the TSP Director, Dr Neeraj Sharma.

From Term 2 onwards in your degree program, you'll be offered the opportunity to undertake research projects every term. We encourage you to explore the variety on offer at UNSW across the different UNSW Science schools. These experiences will allow you to make an informed decision about the research direction you wish to pursue honours or further studies.  

Over the course of your degree program, it's expected that you'll undertake at least three TSP projects. An official record of participation in the TSP program will be included on your secondary transcript when you graduate.

TSP Student Ambassadors

  • I began at UNSW in 2023 studying Chemical Product Engineering and Mathematics, and have now been part of the Talented Student Program for about a year.

    I started university without any idea of where I really wanted my studies to lead, other than that I wanted to apply my knowledge in the field of sustainability to work towards a secure and equitable future. In light of this, I chose to work with the Lessio group on a plastic upcycling project using computational methods to model chemical processes. I found it integrated both the mathematics and chemistry parts of my coursework nicely, and I enjoyed seeing the real world applications of what I was studying.

    The most rewarding part of this experience for me was putting together a scientific poster presentation for the end of year conference, where I was able to see all my work come together and communicate this to the other TSP students. Connecting with like-minded people with a passion for research was both informative and inspiring, and I look forward to seeing what everyone achieves in the coming years.

    With that, I strongly encourage TSP students to take full advantage of the opportunities available to get the most out of the program.  

  • As part of my TSP placements, I joined the Pearson Lab in 2022 and the McNally Lab in 2023, and had the opportunity to be involved in some of the fascinating research being conducted in UNSW’s School of Psychology.

    As an incoming first-year student who had absolutely no idea what research was like, the TSP was a great introduction to research and academia. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be involved in research projects surrounding the neural mechanisms of attention, the relationship between mental imagery and maladaptive daydreaming, and the effect of pharmacological agents (FGF-21) on alcohol consumption. This allowed me to gain exposure to the big unanswered questions in psychology and neuroscience, and to the cutting-edge techniques that are currently being used to answer these questions. It was also a great opportunity to build my wet lab skills, build skills in statistical analysis, report writing and delivering scientific presentations, and gain valuable mentorship from the warm and welcoming PhD students and academics in the lab.

    Over my two years in the program, I’ve been able to gain research experience in the various fields of psychology that fascinate me, allowing me to hone in on my specific research interests, and really deepening my curiosity around the human mind, behaviour and brain. The TSP has also springboarded me into a plethora of other riveting research opportunities, from assisting clinical trials at the University of Sydney, to investigating human-AI workflows at the CSIRO, and for that I’m eternally grateful!

  • Hello! I’m Auguste and I’ve been a TSP ambassador since the start of 2023! I started at UNSW at the beginning of 2022 in an Advanced Science degree and I major in chemistry while minoring in mathematics (for the fun of it).

    I love the Talented Students Program because it has given me the opportunity to engage in varying research with different academics in the school of chemistry. This has allowed me to practice my lab skills, perfect for helping me in my chemistry labs, and teaching me skills they can’t in labs either due to time or cost. The program has also given me connections and experiences to different fields of research to help me decide with which academic and what field I’d want to do my honours year with.

    While I have not found a niche of research I’d want to follow, the program has told me that I want to follow research. Through TSP and similar programs, I’ve gained experience with nanoparticle chemistry, electrochemistry with batteries, some polymer chemistry experience and organo-physical chemistry with kinetics.

    Finally, the program has also been a great way to find likeminded individuals who are also interested in research!

Contact us:

Get in touch if you have any questions about the Talented Students Program.