Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Travelling Research Award

The call for applications are currently closed

Applications for the 2022 awards will open in early 2021


The award recognises research in the physical and biological sciences, allowing interdisciplinary and sociocultural research that could straddle the social sciences and humanities, by outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD students and early- and mid-career scientists. It aims to support the expansion and growth of their research networks and international knowledge exchange through visits to relevant international centres of research. Two annual awards of $5500 are planned, with additional support provided to attend the Academy's Annual Science at the Shine Dome event.



Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents at the time of application. Applicants should also either be enrolled for a PhD or be within 15 years of obtaining a PhD*.

The proposed travel must be for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of three months duration.

A Sash Gwion panel painted over early art and hand stencils.
Photo credit: Kimberley Foundation Australia, Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation by Mark Jones.

Applicants must provide a letter from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community or Organisation where they identify and are accepted. This may come from one of, but not limited to, the following:

  • Land Council
  • Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) or Native Title Group
  • Natural Resources Management Board (NRM Board)
  • Traditional Owner group
  • Elders group
  • A Universities Indigenous department

Successful grant winners will be expected to present a full report within 3 months of the termination of the international travel. Attendance at relevant conferences is welcomed but must be in addition to a 14 day minimum visit.

University or research institutional on-costs are not supported.

Grants are offered to successful applicants in early November each year. Funded activities are normally expected to have been undertaken within two years from the date of award. Awardees may apply for extensions due to extenuating circumstances or to apply for variations to remove or adapt to barriers encountered to their planned research or travel.

* The Australian Academy of Science is committed to ensuring that all eligible researchers can be considered for awards and collects career interruption information to assess their opportunity to demonstrate scientific excellence. Accordingly, extensions to the post PhD eligibility requirements for Early and Mid-Career awards will be provided for qualifying career disruptions.

A career disruption involves prolonged interruption to a nominee’s capacity to conduct Full Time Equivalent (FTE) high-level research, either due to part-time employment or absence (for periods of one month or greater) and/or long-term partial return to work, to accommodate carer’s responsibilities, illness or other interruption.

The career disruptions here must have occurred post the date of the letter advising that the PhD thesis was passed and resulted in significantly reduced research productivity or nil research output. Career disruption periods will be taken into account for those who would otherwise be beyond the Post PhD Career Eligibility requirements.

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

For more information, contact awards@science.org.au.


Applications are to be completed through an online form found here.

Applications must include the following:

  • Letter indicating acceptance by the Aboriginal or Torres strait Islander Community
  • Host researcher correspondence of support
  • One referee report
  • Itemised Budget. File must be a maximum of 1A4 page of size 12 font. Successful applicants may receive from the Academy a grant-in-aid of up to $5500 for travel and living allowance for a minimum Fellowship of 14 days. 
  • Support from your department/division head supporting both your research and this application
  • Brief CV including qualifications, summary of professional/research experience and publications/presentations. A full publications list is not required. Maximum of three pages using size 12 font.
  • (If applicable) Career disruption information 

Award conditions

  • Applicants can only receive funding from the same research or travelling research award once in a three calendar year period.
  • Applicants may apply for more than one award but can only receive one Academy travelling or research award per calendar year.

Grants are offered to successful applicants in early November each year for projects/travel to be carried out in the following year.

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

2020 awardees

  • Mr Frank Loban – to visit New Zealand to discuss and learn from fisheries management organisations how they are managing their fisheries, governance framework and indigenous interests.
  • Dr Michael-Shawn Fletcher - to visit Udayana University in Bali to establish a research collaboration and to collect paleoclimatic data that will act as pilot data for another larger research grant proposal in 2020.

Inaugural awardees


Image of the Shine Dome in the above video by Stuart LindenmayerCC BY-SA 4.0

  • Mr Tui Nolan, University of Technology Sydney - To visit the Alan Turing Institute in London to study computational methods that have applications in public health and education.
  • Ms Amy Searle, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute - To attend the Science at the Shine Dome Event in 2019, the annual signature event of the Australian Academy of Science.
  • Mr Bradley Moggridge, University of Canberra - To visit New Zealand to learn how Maori culture has incorporated Indigenous knowledge and values into their water management practice.


© 2020 Australian Academy of Science