In partnership with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, La Trobe University today announced a new life-changing opportunity for an aspiring female researcher from India to make a meaningful impact in the world.
The inaugural Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship was awarded in 2020 to Indian student Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi, who was able to travel to Australia to begin her PhD in early 2022.
As part of the prestigious four-year scholarship, Gopika is researching new techniques to protect the world’s honeybee population from viruses, pollutants and declining diversity in flora.
La Trobe University Chancellor, The Hon John Brumby AO, said he was thrilled Shah Rukh Khan had endorsed the University offering another scholarship to an aspiring female researcher from India.
“Gopika is already making a valuable contribution to La Trobe’s world-class research in agricultural sciences – a rapidly growing area at the University that aims to help address global food insecurity,” Mr Brumby said.
“We’re excited to announce another life-changing opportunity for an Indian woman to help us find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, in research areas such as environmental sustainability, health or agriculture.”
Mr Brumby said Shah Rukh Khan’s philanthropic leadership drove the decision to create a PhD scholarship in his name.
“The Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship recognises Mr Khan’s extraordinary altruism, demonstrated in his work to advocate for women’s empowerment – including through his Meer Foundation,” Mr Brumby said.
“It also reflects La Trobe’s values of inclusivity, equity and social justice.”
Gopika said when she finally arrived in Melbourne, after waiting two years to travel due to the pandemic, it was the happiest moment of her life.
“I love this country – especially the people, who are all are very warm and welcoming. My colleagues, supervisor and friends are very supportive and caring,” Gopika said.
“I encourage other women from India to apply; come out of your comfort zone, explore the beautiful world, and you might be able to take up this amazing opportunity.”
Registrations opened today for research candidates to submit an Expression of Interest for the scholarship by Friday 23 September. The successful candidate will be a female Indian national who resides in India and has completed a Masters by Research degree (or equivalent) within the past 10 years.
The candidate will be supported with a four-year research scholarship valued in excess of $225,000 (AUD) to be completed at La Trobe’s state-of-the-art facilities in Melbourne, Australia. They will undertake research supervised by the University’s leading experts in a project aligned to La Trobe’s priority research themes, which are linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals..
Appropriately, the announcement coincided with the launch of the 2022 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. La Trobe was the first Australian university to award Shah Rukh Khan with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) in 2019, in recognition of his wide-ranging humanitarian work, including establishing the Meer Foundation to support and empower women who have survived acid attacks in India.
The Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship recipient will receive benefits including:
- a four-year La Trobe University Full-Fee Research Scholarship
- a La Trobe Graduate Research Scholarship for three and a half years, with a value of $32,500 (AUD) per annum (2022 rate) to support living costs.
- visa length Overseas Student Health Cover with Medibank for a single candidate
- access to La Trobe’s world-class research facilities, suite of professional development programs and supervision by award-winning researchers
- visa application costs for a single person
- a $3,000 AUD travel allowance to cover travel costs from India to Melbourne