Australian students between 15-17 years old as of 1 July 2023 are eligible to apply for the third Rise Scholarship, valued at up to $500,000 over their lifetime. 100 Global Winners receive the scholarship each year.
But students need to get busy and complete the application by 25th January 2023.
Rise is an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, and is the anchor programme of a $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to find and support global talent.
While the Rise scholarship is well established in America, Australian students are just starting to find out about it.
Applicants will be guided to develop a project by the January 25 deadline. Possible projects could be a movie, a business, software, a social movement, a piece of music, a new product (digital or physical) or a performance.
Students are asked to identify a topic, research it, design a plan, execute that plan, and reflect on their work. They will be asked to record updates on their work to share progress. The project should be ambitious, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. The project can be part of a larger initiative, but it must be something that students start and end within the Entry Period - October 22 to January 25 - and must be work they’ve specifically prepared for their Rise application.
500 finalists are selected in June and 100 Global Winners chosen in October. Benefits for the 100 Global Winners include a fully-funded, three-week residential summit held in a rotating location globally each year, a four-year scholarship at accredited universities (needs-based) and the opportunity to make their project idea a reality.
“Give it a try! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!”
That’s what the first Australian Rise Global Winner, 17-year-old Louisa Balechion, tells her friends at St Maroun’s College in Dulwich Hill, Sydney. Louisa was the first Australian to be one of 100 Global Winners in the inaugural RISE programme in 2021.
“It felt a bit lonely,” she says, “so I was glad when three more Australians won in 2022.”
Rahul Kumar, 16, from Brisbane Grammar and originally from the UK, was a winner in 2022 and agrees that there’s nothing to lose by participating.
“Give it a go! If you don’t get it it’s not the end of the world. Just participating means you’re committed to something and want to improve on something, and that’s really admirable.”
Students of any age can join the Rise community and benefit from connecting with teens from around the world who are inspired to make the world a better place via Discord. 150,000 students have joined Rise’s Discord community since the scholarship launched two years ago, where they also receive free online courses and are alerted to other opportunities.
As yet, no Australian winners have come from the public education system. The Public Education Foundation is a partner of Rise – and is especially keen to make access to this program available to public school students with vision who need opportunity and support for their ideas. However, the search for outstanding students extends across all students.
“Public Education Foundation is thrilled to continue growing our partnership with Rise as we work together to find and support the next generation of young problem-solvers looking to build a better world,” says Paul Somers, COO of Public Education Foundation.
The selection process has four stages:
Students needn’t be daunted by the short time left to complete applications - Rahul found out about Rise three days before the first stage of the application was due and believes students who get busy now can complete a great application by January 25 2023.
Rise is looking at students’ potential, not just what they’ve achieved so far.
Louisa’s project was to create an organisation and an app that would link women in STEM with job possibilities.
As the only girl in her STEM classes, she’s very aware that more women could do STEM with the right encouragement.
“I learnt you can’t solve a problem that’s not close to you. You need to have some experience of it. No matter how insignificant you think your idea is, it could be of help to someone.”
Rahul's project was inspired by his grandfather, who wasn’t able to call Emergency Services if he needed to from his phone due to the small, inaccessible buttons on most keypads.
Rahul developed his project to combat the lack of information provided to marginalised groups across Australia on how to contact emergency services. He improved on an existing government-run app, Emergency Plus, to create his own EmSafe app, that allows for users to automatically contact Emergency Services in 249 regions and territories around the world. The app also provides a CPR guide, directions to nearby hospitals, support for wearable devices like Apple Watches, and has been translated into seven languages. It’s now available free on the Apple App Store and has been downloaded more than 3,000 times.
“My version caters for the groups that weren’t thought about in the design process for Emergency Plus: people with disabilities; the elderly; people who don’t speak English and tourists. Mine has multi language support, it works internationally and it has more information on it.”
After the closing date of 25 January 2023, students have until 31 January to complete the peer review portion of the application (reviewing three other applicants).
The 3-week Residential Summit is at a different overseas location each year, where Global Winners connect, attend lectures and participate in activities like snorkelling.
“I’ve made 99 new friends from around the world and been exposed to the issues they are interested in,” Louisa says.
The 2022 Residential Summit Louisa attended was in Cape Town, South Africa.
“We met Nelson Mandela’s grandson, did workshops with the South African NBA, learnt about social enterprises and toured Nelson Mandela’s jail cell.”
Rahul will hear in January where his Residential Summit will be. He’s looking forward to travelling by himself for the first time and meeting other Global Winners.
Winners also get a foot in the door to finish high school in another country through United World College, have their university fees paid for (assessed on a need-basis) or do a postgraduate degree at Oxford University through Schmidt Science Fellows.
“My friend from Venezuela chose to finish high school in Japan, and now she’s learning Japanese!” says Louisa.
The process gives you confidence that your ideas will be listened to,” she says.
Rahul is looking forward to the internships and career opportunities that Rise offers in his chosen field of Computer Science.
“It worthwhile to join Rise now because you’ll be at the forefront as the programme develops,” he says.
Rise wants to hear from everyone regardless of their background or academic experience. Every student who registers is given the opportunity to grow, whether they are interested in science, innovation, technology, art, policy, community organising, or any other project that helps others.
If you know students between 15-17 at 1 July 2023 who would relish this opportunity, encourage them to apply here.