Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation: The Roberta Sykes Scholarship

Roberta Sykes graduated from Harvard in 1984 as the first indigenous Australian to graduate from an American university. The Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation established The Roberta Sykes Scholarships to provide funding to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander postgraduate students who wish to undertake studies at recognised overseas universities.

Applications open

1 Oct 2022

Applications closed

17 Feb 2023

Application type

Application required
How to apply

Benefit type

General allowance
Full benefit details

Citizenship requirements

Australian / domestic student

Total value

up to $30,000

Applicable study areas

All study areas

Number of scholarships awarded

Up to 1

  • "Imagine knowing you could make a difference to your community, while also knowing you didn’t have the skills to affect that difference. Then imagine winning a scholarship that allowed you to go attend a prestigious university and get intensive academic and personal mentoring that gave you not only the skills, but the confidence and ability to use them. This is my experience of the Roberta Sykes Award. It allowed me to attend Oxford University and gain a MSc in Evidence Based Social Intervention and then go to complete a research PhD at the National Centre of Indigenous Studies at ANU. Currently, I am the inaugural Professor of Indigenous Health at the School of Medicine at WSU as well as leading a research team at Maridulu Budyari Gumal, an organisation of 14 research institutions across Sydney. I know I have made a difference to Aboriginal health and education. I know it’s because of the Scholarship I received at the University of Melbourne, and the Roberta Sykes scholarship, that allowed me to attend Oxford University. I am forever grateful."
    Read Prof. Aunty Kerrie Doyle's story
  • Eligibility & selection criteria


    To be eligible for this scholarship, you must:

    • Have an undergraduate degree with a strong academic record.
    • Be accepted into a postgraduate coursework or research degree at a recognised overseas university.
    • Be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and be accepted as such by the community in which you live or have lived.
    • Be able to demonstrate that alongside a Roberta Sykes Scholarship, you will have sufficient funds to support yourself during the course of your postgraduate degree (such as through another scholarship, private sponsorship or personal funds).
    • Be able to demonstrate that your studies will be of benefit to your community upon your return to Australia.

    Refer to the Roberta Sykes Scholarship website for further information.

    Selection criteria

    Selection of successful applicants will be based on academic merit, financial need, and the applicant’s past and future contributions to Indigenous communities and to Australia more generally.

  • Application process

    Applicants need to apply directly to the overseas academic institution first, and then to the Roberta Sykes Foundation. Your Scholarship application will only be reviewed by the Board of the Roberta Sykes Foundation if you are accepted into your chosen course. However, you should submit your application to the Foundation while you await the outcome of your university application.

    Further details are provided at the Roberta Sykes Foundation website. Enquiries can be submitted using the Foundation's contact form.

  • Variations of this award

    In addition to the “The Roberta Sykes Scholarship”, the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation also offer:
    - “Roberta Sykes Chief Executive Women Scholarship” for short programs of study at Harvard University.
    - “Roberta Sykes Executive Scholarship” at leading overseas academic institutions with a value up to $20,000.
    - “Roberta Sykes Fellowships” with a value up to $20,000 to undertake research at a leading overseas academic institution, as part of their Australian postgraduate study program.

What are the benefits?

The value of the Scholarship is up to $30,000, paid directly to the recipient in equal installments at the start of each semester or term, subject to satisfactory academic progress. Applicants may be awarded funding for a number of years or may need to reapply for the scholarship in subsequent years.

For complete listings of faculty-specific scholarships, please see individual faculty websites.

The information listed here is subject to change without notice. Where we have listed information about jointly run scholarships programs, please also see our partners' websites. Information describing the number and value of scholarships awarded is indicative.