Talented Students Program

The Talented Students Program (TSP) introduces high performing students entering selected Science degrees to cutting-edge, world-class research in UNSW Science.

We want to give you research experiences as early as possible in a safe and engaging manner to develop and nurture the passion for research that UNSW scientists all share. With the wide-ranging and brilliant research conducted within UNSW Science, we inspire you to tackle challenges that will shape the world.

Our previous TSP students have written research papers, attended conferences, integrated into research groups, developed peer groups and much more. All these opportunities exist from Year 1 of your science or science-related degree.

Eligibility

Depending on your entrance mark or performance in the early stages of your degree, the Dean of Science will invite you into the Talented Students Program. You can accept this offer online and provide some basic information which enables us to gauge your interests.

Program Outline

The TSP is an avenue to engage your scientific research from the onset of your degree program. It does not have associated course credit. For first-year students, there are events planned throughout Term 1 facilitated by higher year TSP students.

Calendar of Events

Term 1

  • Week 1: Welcome Lunch
  • Weeks 3, 5, 7: TSP Gatherings
  • Week 9: TSP Research Poster Evening and End of Term celebration- posters from  academic mentors who would like to host students in their groups and presentations by higher year students who have been through the program 

Terms 2 & 3

  • Research placements

Term 3

  • Week 8: The UNSW Talented Students Program Symposium – this is an opportunity for you to present your work, typically as posters, to your fellow TSP students and to the scientists who have mentored you.

These events are designed for you to meet TSP students in all years, engage with UNSW Science staff in various schools, and begin to choose Schools and research projects you may be interested in for the second term of your first year and beyond. 

In Term 2 of your first year, you will choose a research project or research group in one of the Schools of UNSW Science or UNSW Medicine.  

What you do in the research project or group depends entirely on you and your conversations with the researcher. It can be as simple as attending research group meetings every week, or as complex as performing laboratory experiments that no one in the world has ever done before. In each term of your degree, you can participate in a different research group, expanding your horizons and experiences.

TSP Research Areas

The research booklet has a list of TSP contacts each school and the type of projects available. To organise a project in that area or field, please get in touch with the designated TSP contact or with the TSP Director, Dr Neeraj Sharma.

Download Booklet

From Term 2 onwards in your degree program, you will be offered the opportunity to undertake research projects every term. We encourage you to explore the variety on offer at UNSW across the different UNSW Science schools. These experiences will allow you to make an informed decision about the research direction you wish to pursue honours or further studies.  

Over the course of your degree program it is expected that you will undertake at least 3 TSP projects. An official record of participation in the TSP program will be included on your secondary transcript when you graduate.

Student Profiles

I began studying at UNSW in 2017 and was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of the Talented Students Program (TSP).

For the longest time now I’ve been interested in dementia because of its debilitating effects which have widespread implications. I’m also extremely passionate about working to help people who are disadvantaged, particularly those who come from low SES and/or indigenous backgrounds. I want to help them achieve the best they can and have the same opportunities as those from more fortunate backgrounds.

With this in mind, I went online to the UNSW Medicine website to search for a project that aligned with what I was interested in – dementia in disadvantaged populations. I found a research team at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) that was studying dementia in Aboriginal Australians and sent their details to TSP Director Dr Neeraj Sharma and Trevor Lewis in the School of Medical Science.

Thanks to their help and connections, I was soon speaking with the NeuRA research team, who were more than happy to have me experience their work with them for some time. I felt very lucky because taking part in a research project that wasn’t included in the TSP booklet was not guaranteed and the experience would be at the complete discretion of the researchers themselves.

I went on to spend 3 months at NeuRA, which gave me many new insights and ways of thinking about the health of the population in general. In addition to this, the incidental lessons I learnt by asking questions and inquiring about the experiences of the researchers (including a neurologist who had published hundreds of scientific papers and journal articles) were equally valuable as the actual experience of the research itself.

My approach to volunteering with disadvantaged people after being at NeuRA has become far more enthusiastic and my basic understanding of the indigenous population of Australia has been enhanced. I believe that working at NeuRA has definitely been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

I encourage all TSP students to take the opportunities available to them with both hands and to realise the perks that come with studying at a university that takes so much pride in its research.

I loved being able to go to the 2019 RACI Physical Chemistry Conference in Perth. Over the four days, I heard speakers from Denmark, Germany, England and Canada talking about their ground-breaking research. I also found out about some of the amazing scientific work that was happening all over Australia, expanding my understanding of what Physical Chemistry encompasses.

The conference gave me an opportunity to present a poster of the work I had completed over the summer and TSP projects with the Kable group. During the poster evening, I explained the results of my research to the academics and PhD students who attended. My group helped me with the design and editing of the poster, and also prepared me to answer any hard questions other researchers may have had about my work.

It was also a great way to meet and talk to other students and academics from different universities, establishing useful connections for the future before I had even started Honours. Everyone was very welcoming which resulted in a fun, lively atmosphere. By the conference banquet at the end of the week, I felt that I had truly integrated with this amazing community.