Advancing women’s leadership

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Australian Endeavour Scholarships logo

The Australia Awards —Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships support high achieving international and Australian citizens to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and overseas.

One of these awards, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, is presented to a high achieving female student who will contribute to the advancement of women’s leadership in Australia. As the inaugural recipient of this scholarship, Dr Laura Bray travelled to the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research in Dresden, Germany, to research the development of advanced cell culture technologies for growing leukaemia, breast and prostate cancer tissue.

Laura was able to collaborate with other research teams and clinicians, present her work at several European conferences, and meet high profile research leaders in her field. She also used the experience to improve her management and independent research skills.

‘I cannot speak highly enough of my Endeavour experience. The fellowship was more than a job; it was life-changing. It has shaped the person I am today, helped me secure my current research grant funding, and I am confident that my experience will shape my future career.’

‘Through my experience I have become much more resilient and adaptive to change. I also gained a truly global perspective.’

After her fellowship ended, Laura was offered a year-long contract to stay at the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research in Dresden and continue her research. In November 2015 Laura was awarded a Lush Prize Young Researcher Award in London.

Dr Laura Bray undertook cancer research in Germany as part of an Endeavour Scholarship
Image: Dr Laura Bray undertook cancer research in Germany as part of an Endeavour Scholarship.

She returned to Australia in March 2016, becoming a research fellow at the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, continuing her research into the development of more realistic cell culture models for cancer research.

‘I feel as though I am ready to meet my next challenge. In five to 10 years’ time, I would like to be a professor leading my own research group in engineered 3D culture models.’