Los Angeles-based Australians In Film (AiF) has launched the Australians In Film Heath Ledger Scholarship.

The scholarship will be awarded to an emerging Australian actor for up to US $10,000 plus a return airfare from Australia to pursue their career in the US. Applications will be accepted from October 1-November 28 and the first beneficiary will be announced by mid-February 2009.

'We as a family are pleased with the establishment and progress of the AiF scholarship award named in honour of our much loved and generous son, Heath,' Ledger's father Kim said. 'As a result of this scholarship, a talented Australian actor will gain valuable assistance to support their personal goals, and an opportunity for recognition in the very tough US film industry.'

Gregor Jordan, who directed Senator's upcoming release The Informers as well as Ned Kelly starring Ledger, will join the five-person judging panel. Further judges and a list of benefactors will be announced in December.

Application forms and scholarship guidelines are available on www.australiansinfilm.org/hlsf.