Two PhD students from The University of Western Australia with stellar aspirations have been awarded Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships to complete research projects.
“I have always wanted to bring the future of computing forward to help solve our grandest challenges.”
Westpac Scholar Nicholas Pritchard
The prestigious scholarships provide up to $120,000 of financial assistance and leadership development for students at Australia’s leading universities.
Nicholas Pritchard, 25, of South Perth, who is studying at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, will use the funds to support his research applying artificial intelligence to radio frequency interference detection.
“I will investigate the flexible learning capabilities of spiking neural networks (computing systems that work much like neurons in the human brain) and their energy-efficient hardware platforms to overcome radio frequency interference detection, an increasing challenge facing the Square Kilometre Array and radio astronomy generally,” Mr Pritchard said.
“I have always wanted to bring the future of computing forward to help solve our grandest challenges, a journey that starts one problem at a time.”
Elliott Fourie, 21, of Kalamunda, is from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences and is dedicated to creating gene circuits in plants to improve crop yields and environmental resilience.
He is also working with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space to develop edible plants for space travel.
Mr Fourie said the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship was “life-changing”.
“It offers incredible opportunities and opens countless doors, whether that be the direct connections to like-minded experts or the ability to travel and network with industry leaders at conferences,” he said.