Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship of $225,000 (AUD), awarded to New Delhi Student

Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship of $225,000 (AUD), awarded to New Delhi Student

New Delhi,20th March 2024 The second prestigious Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship was today presented to a New Delhi student with a passion to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities, to study in Australia.
During a Gala Dinner in Delhi, La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell presented Sumaira Khan with the 2024 Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship, valued at more than $225,000 (AUD).

Sumaira was selected from a competitive field of applicants from across India for the four-year scholarship, which recognises the humanitarian and social justice achievements of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK). The PhD scholarship was made possible through La Trobe’s long-standing partnership with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
Designed to support aspiring female Indian researchers who want to make a meaningful impact in the world, the scholarship enables Sumaira to undertake research at La Trobe’s state-of-the-art facilities in Melbourne, Australia.

Sumaira will work with medical anthropologists Dr Tarryn Phillips and Dr Catherine Trundle to identify ways to improve healthcare for South Asian migrant women in Australia with an elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes. The study seeks to understand the factors that shape and constrain the ability to practice self-care, and inform improved healthcare design, access and equity for healthcare programs in Australia and India.
“I’m very grateful to receive the Shah Rukh Khan scholarship. It’s life-changing for me and my family, and I’m excited to interact with La Trobe’s global community of researchers. It really is my proudest achievement,” Sumaira said.

Shah Rukh Khan said he was delighted to support the development of Indian women to pursue solutions to challenges affecting not just Indian communities, but global issues.
“Sumaira’s passion to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities is inspiring, and her journey is a wonderful lesson to other Indian women who want to improve lives through scientific study,” Mr Khan said.

“I am pleased to be able to support Sumaira’s ongoing development and education with this scholarship at La Trobe University in Melbourne.”
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell, said the University was proud to continue the Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship to a student, whose goal is to support some of the most vulnerable in our community.
“This ongoing scholarship is testament to the strong relationship and shared vision La Trobe has with Mr Khan to inspire positive change through education and find solutions for some of the most challenging issues facing the world,” Professor Farrell said.
“We are delighted to welcome Sumaira to La Trobe.”
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Director Mitu Bhowmick thanked La Trobe for its ongoing support for furthering the educational opportunities for Indian women.

“I am delighted our festival has been able to bring together SRK and La Trobe University for this scholarship, which provides life-changing opportunities for young Indian female students and inspires future generations,” she said.

Sumaira’s passion for public health grew from her own family’s experiences accessing care for her younger brother when he was diagnosed with severe autism.
In 2022, Sumaira graduated with a Master of Public Health from Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), where she received the academic prize for best first year student for achieving the highest grades in her cohort.
She has since completed an internship with Save the Children and Sangath, investigated women’s experiences of open defecation in Delhi and explored the research area of early childhood development in India. Sumaira has also worked with a social development research organization in India exploring the domains of primary health care system strengthening and vaccine hesitancy.

“I’m amazed that I have this opportunity to do research in Australia, I hope my story can connect with young girls across India to inspire them to achieve more, to believe that it’s possible for young women to follow their dreams,” she said.
The first recipient of the Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship, Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi, has completed the first year of her PhD into a field-deployable diagnostic test for honeybee viruses, and with the aim of developing therapies to aid honeybee health.

La Trobe was the first Australian university to award Shah Rukh Khan with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) during a ceremony at the University’s Melbourne campus in 2019. In recognition of SRK’s wide- ranging humanitarian work, including establishing the Meer Foundation to support and empower women who have survived acid attacks in India.


  • La Trobe University is a founding partner, supporting the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) since 2010, as the festival’s exclusive University and Learning Partner. Providing a tangible demonstration and differentiation of La Trobe’s support for Indian culture
  • La Trobe is one of two Australian universities to teach Hindi
  • Since La Trobe University’s inception in 1964 more than 11,000 students from the Indian subcontinent have graduated from the University
  • La Trobe University is ranked in the top one percent of universities worldwide (Times Higher Education, 2021) Media Release Media Release: Tuesday 19 March 2024 3:3
  • Dignitaries that La Trobe University has hosted from the Indian subcontinent include, Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi, Shah Rukh Khan, Kapil Dev, Malaika Arora Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi
  • In 2005, La Trobe’s Melbourne campus in Bundoora was featured in the first major Bollywood blockbuster film to be made entirely in Australia. Salaam Namaste, the film, collected close to $10million US at the box office.
  • The La Trobe Library collection houses more than 38,000 volumes of monographs, journals, magazines and government publications from India, one of the largest collections in Australia.
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