Griffith University researchers Professor Haig Patapan and Dr Heidi Muenchberger were among 31 Australians to receive 2014 Australian Fulbright Scholarships at a presentation dinner in Brisbane last night (Thurs). Griffith graduate Dr Vinay Rane was also among the prestigious group.

The Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind and is worth up to $45,000 for each scholar.

Recipients will study in the United States during the next year, and therapeutic environments for the critically injured, the provision of obstetric services to disadvantaged women’s groups and the American presidency are the research areas to be covered by Griffith scholars.

Professor Haig Patapan, Director of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, winner of a prestigious Fulbright Senior Scholarship, said his research will focus on the role of the American president as a moral leader.

“It is a great honour and a wonderful opportunity to meet fascinating people while pursuing new research at some of the world’s foremost centres of scholarship,” he said.

“My research will be especially important for Australia because it will provide a useful contrast to the office of the prime minister; address the current debates that suggest Australian politics is becoming presidentialised; and inform the continuing republican debate in Australia.”

Heidi Muenchberger - Griffith Health InstituteHow a building can improve healing after injury or illness will be the focusof study for Griffith Health Institute researcher Associate Professor Heidi Muenchberger (left), who said the research will represent a seminal international collaborationwith world experts in this area.

“An immediate impact will be applying the latest design innovations to Australianoutpatient environments and this will have broader relevance to the way we thinkabout health environments for other illness and injury groups such as aged careand paediatric services.”

Dr Vinay Rane graduated with a Masters in Health Management from Griffith University in 2008. Now a Queensland-based forensic physician, lawyer and obstetric doctor, he will investigate the provision of obstetric services to disadvantaged women’s groups during his Fulbright endeavours in New York.

“By examining interventions that American centres have undertaken, we can improve health outcomes in Australia,” he said.

Awarded by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, the Fulbright Scholarships give Australian researchers an opportunity to gain an international perspective on their research, and to develop international networks.

Created by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946, and now operating between the between the U.S. and 155 countries, the Fulbright Scholarship aims to promote mutual understanding through educational exchange.

Griffith University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ned Pankhurst congratulated the scholars.

“On behalf of the Griffith community, I wish to congratulate all three 2014 Scholars. The Fulbright program represents an incredibly high level of achievement.”

Applications for 2015 Fulbright Scholarships open in May 2014. Information about eligibility, application processes and key dates is available at