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K-State Today

May 14, 2020

New Australia Fulbright opportunity targeted toward rural and agricultural research and outreach

Submitted by John Leslie

Fulbright Australia announced a new senior, faculty-level, scholar position with a focus on rural and agricultural issues available for the next cycle of Fulbright competitions, available July 2021.

Fulbright Australia has partnered with the Regional Universities Network, or RUN, for this new senior scholar opportunity. The successful scholar would be based at one of the RUN institutions while in Australia and encouraged to visit one or more of the seven RUN universities while holding the Fulbright scholar position. The RUN universities are unusual in Australia in that they are not centrally located in one of the large coastal Australian cities and usually draw students and significant community support from the nearby rural towns.

K-State has partnered with Fulbright Australia to sponsor Australian Fulbrighters for four to six months as senior scholars or distinguished chairs in Manhattan for the last seven years. Many departments in all colleges also have hosted Australian scholars through the Oz-to-Oz program that provides faculty-level Australian Fulbrighters the opportunity to spend several days to a week on campus interacting with K-State faculty, staff and students. Thus, many faculty already have had some contact with their Australian counterparts — and potential Fulbright hosts. K-State faculty would be at an advantage applying for the RUN Fulbright Scholar position as the interests of the RUN institutions generally match well with K-State's research and outreach missions to agriculture and to rural communities in the state. Many problems we study and outreach programs we help implement also are important in Australia. Extension practitioners and others with applied research interests who might not be as competitive for some of the more conventional Fulbright offerings would find their skills particularly valued by this program and these universities.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission offers a range of scholar opportunities across all academic disciplines — agriculture, arts, humanities, natural and social sciences, architecture and engineering — for extended research opportunities in Australia. Different awards are available for graduate students, postdocs, associate or full professors, and full professors.

Graduate student, postdoc and faculty applications are processed and evaluated separately. A single application can be used to apply for multiple faculty-level awards. The new Kinghorn Foundation Fulbright awards have significantly increased the number of possibilities for U.S. academics to spend time in Australia. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the general awards as well as any of the more specialized awards for which they might be qualified. Faculty awards are usually for three to four months, although some may last for up to six months. The date on which studies in Australia commence is up to the faculty recipient and their Australian host, and can be easily customized to coincide with a sabbatical leave or the summer break between semesters.

Applications for all Australian Fulbright Scholar Awards can be submitted from now until Sept. 15. Applicants must be U.S. citizens — U.S. permanent residents are not eligible for this, or any other, Fulbright program. The process requires an application through the EMBARK system, three reference letters that are submitted directly to the EMBARK system by the referees, and an invitation letter from the Australian host. Successful applicants can begin their program as early as July 1, 2021 and must begin no later than June 30, 2022.

John Leslie has served as K-State's contact with Fulbright Australia and can be contacted at jfl@k-state.edu if there are questions about the RUN Fulbright Scholar or any of the other Fulbright awards offered through the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.