Applications are now open for the 2015 Bendi Lango bursary, established by the Australian Psychological Society to support postgraduate psychology students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. 

Background

Since 2006 the APS has assisted eight postgraduate psychology students demonstrating financial need, initially with funds raised from the Bendi Lango series of art exhibitions organised by former President Amanda Gordon. In 2011, this initiative was formalised as a fund for tax-deductible donations. These member donations have exceeded $80,000 since 2011, providing strong endorsement for the Indigenous Education and Employment component of the APS Reconciliation Action Plan.

The establishment of the bursary is one response to the need to boost the growth in the numbers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander psychologists if we are to approach parity (2.5% of the Australian population and the profession) this century. Over the 20 years to 2007 an average of only 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists were added to the profession per year, but that rate has now begun to accelerate, bringing the current total to over 80 registered psychologists.

Eligibility

  • Applicants need not be members of the APS but must be able to demonstrate their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage by confirmation in writing by the Chairperson of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander incorporated organisation.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of their 'necessitous financial circumstances'. These are defined in the Award as 'circumstances where an applicant’s financial resources are insufficient to obtain all that is necessary for a modest standard of living, which is a standard of living greater than bare existence'.
  • Applicants must also be able to provide proof of acceptance or enrolment into an APAC-accredited postgraduate coursework degree in 2015.

Value of the bursary

Each bursary of financial assistance is valued at $15,000 per annum during the time that the applicant is in full-time study (or $7500 per part-time year), in either an APAC-accredited Masters coursework degree (MPsych) or professional Doctorate (DPsych or PsychD).
In addition, the recipient(s) will receive:

  • Complimentary APS Student membership for the period of the financial assistance provided
  • Complimentary APS membership for the first year post-graduation
  • An invitation to present at the Society’s Annual Conference in the first year post-graduation. If this invitation is accepted, the recipient(s) receives complimentary Conference registration.

Administration

Nomination process

  • Applicants must submit all documentation electronically via email to the Administrator, Science and Education, science@psychology.org.au, by the due date. In order to be considered, the completed application must include:
  • A letter from the Chairperson of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Incorporated organisation in the community in which the applicant lives or has previously lived, confirming the applicant’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Heritage (other proof of heritage may be considered at the discretion of the selection committee).
  • A personal statement addressing:
    • the applicant’s contribution to their community and the broader community to date
    • the applicant’s planned future contribution to their community and the broader community
    • what the receipt of financial assistance from the Society will mean to the applicant
  • A financial statement providing documentary evidence of the applicant’s 'necessitous financial circumstances'
  • The applicant’s education details to date, including academic transcript(s)
  • Proof of offer and acceptance, or enrolment, into an APAC-accredited postgraduate coursework degree in 2015
  • Letters from an academic referee and a community referee
  • Applications, including the completed application form, should be no longer than four A4 pages, plus supporting documentation (references, transcripts, proof of heritage and of enrolment).

Selection process

  • A selection committee reviews all applications and may conduct telephone interviews with applicants who met the eligibility criteria and submitted a properly completed application form, and all necessary supporting documentation, prior to the close of nominations.
  • The selection committee may seek additional information, in the form of external assessor or referee reports, or other independent advice to assist in selecting the bursary recipient(s).
  • The selection committee will recommend the recipient(s) to the APS Board based on merit, providing the above eligibility criteria have been met to the committee’s satisfaction.

Award presentation

  • The recipient(s) will be formally notified in writing before any public announcement is made.
  • A profile of the recipient(s) will be published on the APS website and in the Society’s bimonthly bulletin, InPsych, in June of the year the bursary is awarded.

Closing date and application form

Applications for 2015 are now open. Applications close on Friday 27 March 2015.

For further information on the Bendi Lango bursary, please contact science@psychology.org.au.