Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia)

The call for applications are currently closed

Applications for the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) 2021/22 round

Through the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia), the Academy delivers up to 4 activities and events annually to support Australia’s early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  For the purpose of this program, an EMCR is defined as a researcher up to 15 years post-PhD excluding career breaks, irrespective of their type of appointment or type of employer.

The purpose of the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) is to further scientific discovery in Australia by delivering opportunities that empower the next generation of science leaders.

In its 2021/22 round, the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) will fund interdisciplinary activities that provide research and career development opportunities for EMCRs in Australia.

Support ranges from AUD $15,000 - $50,000 per activity for direct activity costs.

Applications are open for interdisciplinary activities in the following formats:

  • Conference
  • Symposium
  • Add-on EMCR activities to existing events
  • Training workshops
  • E-learning resources

A list of activity formats and examples is available here.

If you have any questions about the eligibility of your activity or about any of the formats, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Laura Navarro, EMCR Program Manager, at or 02 6201 9400 ext 188.

Guidelines and selection criteria activity proposals

The Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) aims to provide benefits and opportunities to as many EMCRs as possible in the form of inclusive and interdisciplinary events. The Initiative aims to support activities which would otherwise not be undertaken.


  • Activities should be interdisciplinary. Single discipline activities may  be considered for funding, if found to be of high relevance for the EMCRs in that discipline.
  • Activities proposed must be designed to provide tangible benefits to Australian EMCRs. They may also include benefits to international EMCRs and/or non-EMCRs if relevant for the activity.
  • All proposals must include at least one EMCR Forum member on the organising committee. The EMCR Forum is made up of any person in Australia who self-identifies as an EMCR (typically up to 15 years post-PhD, excluding career interruptions).
  • Face-to-face activities must take place within Australia
  • Proposals for e-learning resources must focus on Australian participants.
  • If relevant to the activity, applicants are encouraged to explore digital delivery of programs to maximise reach and provide more equitable access to EMCRs in regional areas.
  • Activities must incorporate inclusivity, equity and diversity principles
  • Activities cannot benefit EMCRs in only one organisation.
  • Activities should be offered to EMCRs at an affordable cost. 

Selection criteria

The proposed activities must further scientific discovery in STEM by empowering EMCRs. This is measured using the following selection criteria:

  • Benefit to individual EMCRs and the EMCR community
  • Potential reach within the EMCR community
  • Ability to achieve inclusivity, equity and diversity
  • Potential outcomes of the activity. 

Applicants are encouraged to read the FAQ and tips for proposals document and the sample application form to help them prepare their application.

Selection Process

The EMCR Committee of the Academy’s 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. The EMCR Committee of the Academy’s Council will also consider how the activities align and contribute to the strategic goals of the Academy and the EMCR Forum as part of their decision.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome via email in 2021.

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.

What happens if my activity is selected?

Successful activities will work in conjunction with the Australian Academy of Science’s Secretariat to deliver the activity. Activities will be managed by the Academy in collaboration with the organising committee of the proposal. Successful activities will be branded as part of the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia), see examples.

Support ranges from AUD $15,000 - $50,000 per activity for direct activity costs, excluding Academy staff time. Please note, financial management of awarded funds will remain with the Academy’s Secretariat.

The Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) does not fully fund activities. All organising committees, with the guidance of the Academy Secretariat, must raise additional funds to support their activity. In-kind support is accepted.

Supporting diversity and inclusion at the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) activities

The Australian Academy of Science is committed to support diversity and inclusion in all Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) activities.

Funding to enable attendance for those participants who may not be able to attend without support, those with caring responsibilities and/or people from traditionally underrepresented demographics will be allocated to all selected activities (if relevant). The funds will be distributed among the selected activities on a needs basis and to reflect the accessibility requirements of each activity.

Proposal submission and timeframes

Activity proposals should be submitted to the Academy via the online application page.  

Please note that the application page does not have the ability to save partial applications. Download the sample application form to prepare your proposal then cut and paste your answers from the sample form into the online portal when you are ready to submit your proposal. We encourage you to review the FAQ and tips for proposals to prepare your application.

Successful applicants notified: April 2021

Granting period: Activities delivered 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022.

If you experience any problems submitting your proposal or have any questions, please contact the Academy 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 a number of 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.

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