The Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award


Applications will open in early 2019


The Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award is an annual award of up to $20,000 per awardee to assist early stage PhD students or early career researchers with their research. It provides funding support toward the costs of travel, courses or research expenses. Grants are GST exclusive.

The award is named in honour of the late Dr Maxwell Frank Cooper Day AO FAA who spent a lifetime championing entomology, conservation and forestry, as well as helping other scientists. Through sponsoring this award Dr Day is acknowledging the support that he himself received as a young researcher to travel overseas to gain his PhD at Harvard. Following Dr Day’s strong belief in the strength of a multi-disciplinary approach to research, only applicants who are able to demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach to their research will be considered for this award.


  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents at the time of application.
  • Applicants should either:
    • be accepted to undertake a PhD (or equivalent research doctorate), have completed their confirmation and be enrolled in their first or second year of research (at the time of the award closing date*)
    • have held a PhD (or equivalent) for no more than 5 years at the time of the award closing date*

Applicants must demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach to their research work and conduct their research in one or more of the biological sciences relating to one or more of the following disciplines:

  1. conservation of Australia’s flora and fauna
  2. ecologically sustainable resource use
  3. environmental protection
  4. ecosystem services (either provisioning services, or habitat and supporting services).

* Exemptions for career interruptions may be sought from the Academy. Reasons for exemption can include (but may not be limited to) illness, birth of a child or carer responsibilities. To apply for an exemption, please include a short explanation stating why an exemption is being sought and for how long your research career was interrupted.​

Selection criteria

Applicants may use the award in Australia or overseas but must demonstrate that the proposal has direct relevance to Australia in one of more of the four disciplines mentioned above.

Preference will be given to applicants who:

  • will undertake their study or research in Australia, and/or
  •  will be strongly mentored, and their research demonstrably supported, by an internationally recognised lab group.
  • are recognised for previous work which has been done in, or has made an impact on, Australia, and
  • have been recognised by one or more research institution(s), including their host institution, by the provision of a financial contribution towards their project (excluding salaries).

For PhD (or equivalent) research students, preference will be given to applicants who clearly demonstrate:

  • that they have a passion for research in their chosen area, and
  • they can fulfil and extend their research ambitions through the provision of this Fellowship,

For post-doctoral researchers (or equivalent), preference will be given to applicants who clearly demonstrate:

  • that they have taken a multi-disciplinary approach in their research to date
  • that they have achieved positive environmental outcomes in their previous research
  • that they have had prior international collaboration or international support for their proposed research.

Eligible expenses

Eligible expenses are all expenses that fall under the following areas of funding:

  • course fees
  • cost of travel to undertake research or attend relevant conferences/workshops
  • Funding may be used towards the costs of fieldwork, equipment, consumables and other research costs not covered from other sources.
  • Funding may NOT be used to cover bench fees, other overhead costs or as a top-up for personal expenses or any non-research related costs. 


Applications should include the following information (noting that applications longer than the stipulated length will not be considered):

  • A completed application form.
  • A Fellowship Proposal summarising your chosen area of study/research and why the Fellowship will be of particular benefit to you (maximum of two A4 pages using 12 font).
  • Itemised budget detailing eligible expenses with brief justification for each item, the names and details of funding already received (funding body, amount) (maximum of 1 A4 page using 12 font)
  • The applicant must show they have been recognised by one or more research institution(s), such as their host institution, by the provision of some level of direct financial contribution towards their project (excluding salaries).
  • Brief CV including qualifications, summary of any professional/research experience, publications/presentations (maximum of 2 pages A4 using 12 font)
  • For PhD students a letter (maximum of 1 page A4 using 12 font) is required from your supervisor confirming and commenting on your existing research work
  • For post-doctoral researchers, two referee reports should be attached to the application. The reports should be addressed to the Awards Committee and be no more than one page in length and indicate the referee’s knowledge of the applicant’s proposed Fellowship activities, and the potential benefits of these activities to the researcher and/or the research field.
  • Note that referee reports of more than one page will result in the application being rejected.
  • The name of applicant typed on the top right corner of each page.

Applications will open in early 2019 - Applications and referee reports must be emailed to:

Late applications will not be considered and applicants who fail to adhere to the above requirements will not be considered.

Applications are considered carefully against the selection criteria by a committee of scientists with diverse expertise. The decisions of the committee are based on the assessed competitiveness of the proposal. The Academy is not able to enter into discussion or correspondence regarding the reasons why an application is successful or not.

The successful awardee will be notified of the award by early November for a Fellowship starting up to 12 months from the date of award.

The successful awardee(s) will also be offered travel and accommodation to attend the Science at the Shine Dome event as part of their award.

The Australian Academy of Science encourages applications from female candidates and from candidates from a broad geographical distribution.

For more information contact

Award conditions

  • Applicants must commence their research within 12 months of being offered the Fellowship, after which the Fellowship offer will automatically lapse. The Fellowship may be held concurrently with awards or grants from other institutions.
  • Successful applicants must provide a progress report on their research and expenditure to the Academy one year of being awarded the Fellowship and if the project completion date is after this period also a final report at that time.

2018 awardees

Ms Melissa Houghton, University of Queensland: Invertebrate monitoring and community ecology as a measure of change in island ecosystems to inform conservation decision-making. Watch project video
Mrs Charlie Phelps, Edith Cowan University: Determining the cumulative effect of putative pathogenic microbes, increased temperature and herbivory on the ecologically important kelp, Ecklonia radiata. Watch project video

Highly commended applications

Dr Tatiana Soares Da Costa, La Trobe University: Development of New Herbicide Cocktails for Effective Weed Management
Dr Emma Camp, University of Technology Sydney: Set-Up For Survival – The Holobiont Signature Facilitating Australia’s Coral Communities In The Face Of Climate Change. 

Previous years

Download the list of previous awardees (PDF, 21 KB).


This award has been made available through generous contributions from the following individuals:

Presidents’ Circle (Donations of or valued at $100,000 – $499,000)
Dr Maxwell Frank Cooper Day AO FAA
Jon Day PSM

Science Circle (Donations of or valued at $20,000 - $99,000)
Doug Hooley PSM

Award supporters

Donations of or valued at $1,000 – $4,999
Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker AM FAA HonGSL

Donations of or valued at $500 – $999
Mr Nicholas Benson
Mr Ian Hardy
Dr Laurence Mound

Donations up to $499
Mrs Eliza Allen
Marek Cmero
Dr Peter Coyne
Dr Alana Grech
Professor Alec Lazenby AO
Dr Libby Robin
Ms Suzanna Rumon
Dr Denise Sherer

© 2018 Australian Academy of Science