Research Scholarship

Opening doors for students from Australia and other countries to the world of Swiss academia.


ThinkSwiss Research Scholarships is a programme that opens doors for students, from Australia and other countries to the world of Swiss academia. It combines high quality curriculum with innovative thinking.

The scholarship accepts students who have completed their 2nd year of under graduation or are currently enrolled in a post-graduation (Master’s) programme. The students need to be enrolled with an Australian university. Please note that PhD students are not eligible to apply.

Applications for ThinkSwiss Research Scholarships are now open:

More information

Download a ThinkSwiss poster to display in your university or workplace:

For all inquiries, contact:

Hear from past ThinkSwiss scholars

Using Twitter to find illegal weapons in war zones: new tool from Ryan’s Swiss study

Ryan Harvey

“We developed a new way to track illegal weapons through analysing images from Twitter,” Ryan Harvey said. “Our model may prove useful in real-life combat zones, such as the Russo-Ukranian war.”

As a ThinkSwiss scholar, Ryan completed 10 weeks of his Master’s degree at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne or EPFL) applying machine learning to identify weapons using image recognition.

Situated on the shore of Lake Geneva, EPFL is a key player in research and innovation in Switzerland and one of Europe’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan science and technology institutions.

“This work is an example of socially-motivated research, where we use AI techniques to learn something about the world,” Ryan said. “This project showed me I have the ability to do good work, that I can create something useful.”

Ryan’s new approach is unique as it identifies guns in photos of varying quality, even those with poor lighting and that feature numerous people and miscellaneous other items – which are typical of social media uploads.

With his new skill set in hand, Ryan is completing a thesis and working as a data scientist in banking. “I published my first journal paper thanks to my time in Switzerland, and that was key in helping my employer see what I am capable of,” Ryan said. “The scholarship was an important foot-in-the-door moment for me, as it opened up both my academic and my professional opportunities.”

Tracking sleep to save lives: Thomas’ Swiss research to help high-risk teens

Thomas Nguyen

Dr Thomas Nguyen got the positive experience of working and living in Switzerland while researching a very serious topic – self-harm in young people.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide in young people, but it can be difficult to identify and support children at highest risk.

Thomas, a clinician and ThinkSwiss scholar, said he felt very fortunate to join a child and adolescent psychiatry research team at the University of Bern and work on improving care for teenagers likely to self-harm.

“Doctors should assess sleep in young adults at risk of self-harm,” said Thomas. “Our study found high-risk teenagers who experienced poor quality sleep were more likely to later attempt suicide.”

“We’ve published our sleep study, and are continuing to work together on other research to identify risk factors for suicidal behaviours,” Thomas said. “Early detection and prevention of risk-taking and self-harm can be life-changing for young people and their families.”

Thomas undertook his 3-month scholarship as a final year medical student.

“I’d had done a little bit of research up until that point, but this was my first on an international scale,” he said. “My experience has reinforced my desire to pursue a career in psychiatry.” 

ThinkSwiss Research Scholarships is a programme that opens doors for students from Australia to the world of Swiss academia. The scholarship accepts students who have completed their 2nd year of graduation or post-graduation, while still enrolled at an Australian university. “I definitely recommend this programme to medical students,” said Thomas.

From Australia to Lausanne to tackle antibiotics resistance

Taehan Lim

Spending 83 unforgettable days in Switzerland over the summer of 2023-24 was an enriching experience that left an indelible mark on me. Based at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in the University of Lausanne, with the majestic Alps and serene Lac Leman as my backdrop, each day was filled with excitement, dynamism and challenges.

Exciting: Being immersed in a world-class health research hub was truly exhilarating. The thrill of delving into cutting-edge research was palpable every morning when I commuted to the lab along the picturesque banks of Lac Leman. Fuelled by Swiss chocolate from the local Migros/Denner, and equipped with the lab’s state-of-the-art technologies, you could say I was in Swiss bliss. With access to powerful technologies and expert guidance, my research project accelerated tremendously and made huge strides forward.

Dynamic: Switzerland, nestled in the heart of Europe, proved to be a melting pot of ideas and cultures from all over the world. Engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds in various activities broadened my horizons.

Whether it be throwing myself into Lindy hop, embracing calisthenics or savouring Rivella, every interaction was an opportunity for growth. But what was even more memorable was the conversations I had and the connections I formed. Listening to other peoples’ stories gave me an appreciation of the vastness of our world and the diversity that fills it.

Challenging. Every day in the lab presented fresh challenges that propelled me towards personal and scientific growth. Amidst these trials that really tested my mettle, I felt supported because I was fortunate to be a part of a group that valued both the individual and scientific excellence. As you can imagine, living halfway across the world for an extended period of time also presented its own challenges. However, it also unearthed untapped potential within myself that I never knew existed.

From taking a funicular up to Rochers de Nayes and exploring the Alps, to scaling a steep learning curve and using innovative technologies to find solutions for the global challenge of antibiotic resistance, my experience embodied the spirit of thinking big. It is a testament to the transformative power of embracing challenges, forming meaningful connections with people, and boldly venturing into the unknown.

See other programmes on Head Start Swiss.