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Visiting Distinguished Thought Leader Scheme

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Visiting Distinguished Thought Leader Scheme


UniSA Internal Grant


The Visiting Distinguished Thought Leader (VDTL) Scheme provides monetary support to facilitate a short term visit of an internationally leading professor to UniSA to create lasting impact in local environments. A VDTL must be sponsored by a UniSA Research Leader (Level D or E academic), who will ensure that the proposed VDTL is of a suitable stature and influence to shape research at UniSA. They will be a world leading academic figure who is well connected to the international research agenda, able to actively engage in strategic fore-sighting of research directions and opportunities. They will inspire, enrich and challenge our researchers, while also extending our reach and the visibility of our research.

The dominant criterion in determining a successful VDTL application is the influence and stature of the thought leader and their potential to challenge and inspire. The VDTL must have the capacity to make a tangible, strategic contribution for the benefit of the University. Further to this, priority will be given to applications which demonstrate alignment to the Research and Innovation Strategic Plan 2016-2020, Research Strengths and Research Themes. Preference may also be given to visitors who are from Universities that we have current collaborative agreements in place, which will allow us to further strengthen these relationships and open doors.

The VDTL will be inducted into an exclusive group of UniSA Distinguished Thought Leaders and will be profiled on a dedicated UniSA webpage.


The VDTL scheme provides funding to offset the expenses associated with the visit, including visas, flights, accommodation, taxi fares, meals and incidentals. While there is no maximum limit, funding requests of around $20,000 are acceptable.

There may be other costs that the School, Institute or Division agree to contribute towards.

Key eligibility information:

  • The VDTL funds are to be used for travel costs, inclusive of visas, flights, accommodation, taxi fares, meals and incidentals.
  • The ATO Travel Allowance rulings provide a guide as to what may be incurred as reasonable expenditure on accommodation, meals and incidentals. Section 11 provides additional guidance on reasonable expenses that will be covered and/or reimbursed by the University.
  • All purchases must be made in accordance with the University's procurement procedures.
  • The Divisional Dean: Research and Innovation must provide a statement regarding how the VDTL supports the Division in realising the University's research strategy.
  • Head of School / Institute Director endorsement is required.
  • Visits will be for a minimum of two weeks, preferably longer. Shorter visits will be considered at the discretion of the DVC:R&I.
  • It is expected that the VDTL will undertake at least two of the below listed activities as a requirement of their visit. These activities will include, but are not limited to: Research collaboration with UniSA researchers, Mentoring of Early Career Researchers, Delivery of public lectures and seminars, HDR supervision, joint grant applications, Researcher training sessions and master-classes. Visitors are required to immerse themselves in the research culture at UniSA, through taking an active role in their school by attending regular meetings with colleagues and attending social events. They should also be available for media interest.
  • A ceremony to anoint the VDTL into an exclusive group of UniSA Distinguished Thought Leaders will need to be arranged by the sponsor, with guidance from the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation. This is ideally combined with the VDTL's lecture or master-class.
  • At the conclusion of the visit, the sponsor of the VDTL is required to provide a report to the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation via the Divisional Dean: Research which outlines their research and other activities while at UniSA, along with the benefits of their visit on the template provided.
  • Any unspent VDTL funds will be reclaimed from the nominated cost centre.

Key Dates:

The Visiting Distinguished Thought Leader Scheme is a rolling scheme and applications can be submitted at any time.

Application Process:

Please download the application form and complete all relevant sections.

Submit completed application form to:



A final report is required at the end of the visit

Download Report Template

Key Contacts:

Andrew.Beveridge@unisa.edu.au (ext 25761)