Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia)


Applications for the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) are currently closed.


Through the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia), the Academy conducts 3-6 activities and events annually to support Australia’s early- and mid-career researcher (EMCR) community. The purpose of these activities is to provide tangible benefits to EMCRs to support their careers and ultimately further scientific discovery.

Activities can be held anywhere in Australia and may take any format (meetings or conferences, training opportunities, incentives or mechanisms to engage EMCRs in existing activities or events, etc). Previous project examples can be viewed in the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) event page, however please note that proposed projects are not restricted to those activity formats.

Projects can be proposed by any eligible group or person and assessment and selection is undertaken by the EMCR Committee of Council. Successful projects will be branded as part of the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia).

Successful projects are granted the support of, and are managed by, the EMCR Unit of the Academy, who will work with the organising committee to deliver the project goals. In addition, some funding for the activity will also be provided through the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund (support ranges from AUD 5,000-60,000 per activity). Additional funds must also be raised to contribute to the cost of the activity. It is expected that all committee members will be actively involved in seeking additional funding to support the activity. Funds from the Theo Murphy (Australia) will not fully fund any activities.

Guidelines for activity proposals

Please consider the following goals of the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) in the preparation of your proposal. The Initiative aims to provide benefits and opportunities to as many EMCRs as possible. Innovative ways to reach broad audiences are encouraged. Where activities include the delivery of a physical event, we aim to hold these in different locations around the country and different times throughout the year. Activities should be offered to EMCRs at low cost or free. The Initiative aims to support activities which would otherwise not be undertaken. Full funding for activities is not offered; all organising committees, with the guidance of the EMCR unit, must raise additional funds to support their activity.

Consideration will be given to activities that are similar to previous activities if they have been examined to be of exceptionally high value to EMCRs nationally. We encourage proposals using previously funded Theo Murphy formats such as the ‘High Flyers Think Tanks’, ‘Frontiers of Science’ and hackathons  provided their themes are dissimilar to previous events.


  • Activities proposed must be designed to provide tangible benefits to Australian EMCRs, however they may also include benefits to international EMCRs and/or non-EMCRs.
  • The Academy defines EMCRs as researchers up to 15 years post-PhD excluding career breaks, irrespective of their type of appointment or type of employer.
  • All proposals must include at least one EMCR Forum member on the organising committee. It is free and easy to become a member by completing the online membership form.
  • Activities can be one-off or recurring but should be completed within the granting period of the current round, the 2019/20 financial year, starting on 1 July 2019 and ending 30 June 2020.
  • Activities must take place within Australia, or if online/virtual, must focus on Australian participants. Applicants are encouraged to explore digital delivery of programs to maximise reach and provide more equitable access to EMCRs in regional areas.
  • Activities cannot benefit only one organisation.
  • Organising committees must commit to raising additional funds to support their activity. Funds from the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) will not fully fund any activities.

Selection criteria

Activity proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Ability to further scientific discovery in the fields of medicine, science, technology and engineering
  • Benefit and provide opportunities to individual EMCRs and the EMCR community
  • Potential reach within the EMCR community
  • Ability to achieve inclusivity, equity and diversity
  • Capacity to raise additional funding to support the activity
  • Degree of interdisciplinarity
  • Alignment with the strategic goals of the Academy and the EMCR Forum.

Selection Process

The EMCR Committee of Council will assess all eligible applications using the selection criteria and make a recommendation for funding to the Executive Committee of the Academy and the Royal Society (Australia) Board.

Final decisions will be based upon alignment with the selection criteria, and the Academy’s capacity to deliver the activity within the timeframe. Applicants will be notified of the outcome via email.

Where activities are highly ranked on selection criteria but are not able to be delivered within the timeframe of the current round, the Academy may choose to work with the committee to deliver the activity in the subsequent round.

Proposal submission and timeframes

Please note that the online portal does not have the ability to save partial applications. Download the template application form to prepare your proposal then cut and paste your answers from the template form into the online portal when you are ready to submit your proposal. The template application form also includes FAQ and tips for successful proposals.

Proposals due: Sunday, 11 November 2018

Successful applicants notified: April 2019

Granting period: Activities delivered July 2019 – June 2020.

If you experience any problems submitting your proposal or have any questions, please contact the Academy’s EMCR unit as early as possible at or 02 6201 9488.


The Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund was established with the purpose of furthering scientific discovery in the fields of medicine, science, technology and engineering. The fund is made available by the Royal Society of London.

The Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund supports 3-6 activities annually which provide tangible benefits to Australia’s early- and mid-career researcher (EMCR) community.

Academy events support and promote diversity, equity of participation, intellectual freedom and excellence. Events supported by the Theo Murphy (Australia) fund follow the same guidelines as Australian Academy of Science events. As a condition of participating in an event all delegates, speakers and committee members accept the terms and conditions in the guidelines.

© 2019 Australian Academy of Science