Participation Support

The Australian Academy of Science invites applications from Australian early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) to access participation support grants valued at up to A$5,000 each, funded by the Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia). It is expected that 5-10 participation support grants will be awarded in this round. 

Participation support grants provide funding to offset the cost of caring, accessibility and mobility needs to enable EMCRs to attend an event or activity that will support career development, such as a conference or training workshop. A participation support grant should enable access where an EMCR would otherwise not have been able to engage in the event or activity due to travel costs, accessibility needs or caring responsibilities.  

Funding can be used to pay for travel costs to attend an event or to cover expenses associated with caring responsibilities, such as childcare. Funding can also be used to support travel costs for a carer to accompany the EMCR to provide support to the EMCR or their dependents.  

Applications should be for confirmed activities occurring within 12 months following the date of application. After the project submission deadline, the Academy will perform an eligibility check and use a computerized random draw generator to select application numbers based on available funding and proposed budget amounts. 


To be eligible to receive a participation support grant, applicants must:

  • be less than 15 years post PhD, excluding career disruption or barrier* 
  • be employed at an eligible Australian research organisation as outlined below. 
  • be a member of an Australian EMCR group, such as the Australian Academy of Science’s EMCR forum  
  • be currently residing in Australia and be either an Australian citizen or hold a valid Australian visa  
  • not have received a participation support grant in the 12 months prior to the application date.

Eligible applications must: 

  • be able to outline the need for additional support to attend an event or activity. 
  • outline the funding requested in accordance with the funding limitations outlined in the ‘Terms of award’ section. 
  • provide supporting documentation outlining the confirmed event or activity as specified in the application form. 

Eligible research organisations: 

  • Australian tertiary education institutions (as per the Higher Education Support Act 2003). 
  • Australian cooperative research centres. 
  • Publicly funded research agencies. 
  • Australian state and territory funded research organisations. 
  • Australian public research companies. 
  • Australian private research companies. 
  • Australian not-for-profit research organisations. 
  • Other Australian incorporated entities. 

*Career disruption or barrier: A career disruption or barrier is an interruption that has caused prolonged impact on a researcher’s capacity to conduct high-level research in the period since the conferral of their first PhD.  An additional 6 months (pro rata) can be applied for each year of eligible career disruption to account for the time it takes to reestablish research after a period of extended leave.  

It may be due to reduced opportunities for research which may be due one or more of the following: prolonged absences due to unemployment, childbirth, carers’ responsibilities, limited or no access to facilities and resources, disaster management and recovery, medical conditions, disability or accessibility needs, community obligations, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural practices and protocols. 

An additional 6 months (pro rata) can be applied for each year of eligible career disruption to account for the time it takes to reestablish research after a period of extended leave.  

Fields of research 

Applications are welcome from EMCRs in all fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Terms of award 

Successful applications may receive an offer of funding from the Academy towards the cost of attending an event or activity that will support career development or provide professional training, where otherwise the EMCR would not have been able to engage in the event or activity.  

Terms and conditions of the grant are below and the acceptance of these conditions is required at time of application submission.  

  • Funding can only be used to cover eligible expenses as approved in the application.  
  • Awardees must notify the Academy immediately if there is a change in circumstances that will prevent them from attending and/or engaging in the event.  
  • Wherever possible, steps should be taken to mitigate the risk of loss of funds through cancelled arrangements and any unspent funds must be returned to the Academy. 
  • Unless otherwise approved by the Academy, a limit of one (1) accompanying carer is permitted, per application. 

The below expenses are eligible: 

  • Direct travel costs within the below limits per each expense type: 
    • Airfare – up to $1,500 per person* on domestic or international flights 
    • Accommodation – up to $250 per room, per night, for a maximum of five (5) nights 
    • Other direct travel costs approved by the Academy, such as: train and bus fares, taxis, ride share or other local transport – up to $50 per adult, per day, for a maximum of six (6) days. Please note: this item limit does not apply to additional transport costs associated with accessibility needs.  
  • Childcare expenses, such as: child centre fees, out of school hours care fees, private childcare expenses, or other direct childcare costs. Please note: this item is only valid for expenses charged by a business or sole trader; funding from this expense type cannot be claimed for informal care providers 
  • Accessibility need expenses, such as: travel costs for an accompanying carer (travel item limits apply to all accompanying carers), costs associated with specific or additional transport needs, or other expenses to directly support accessibility needs approved by the Academy. 

*This limit applies to 75% fare, or full fare paying travellers. If an accompanying minor is entitled to a free flight, or a reduced airfare of 10% of the full airfare, a limit of $200 per accompanying dependant will apply. 

The following expenses are ineligible: 

  • Event registration fees, such as conference registration fees, workshop or training enrolment expenses and other event or activity associated fees 
  • Food, medical and other personal expenses 
  • Research expenses 
  • Salaries 
  • Institute overheads, managerial and administrative costs. 

How to apply 

Submit an online application on the Academy’s grant portal, and attach the following documents: 

  1. Applicant’s CV. 
  2. Confirmed activity supporting documentation (such as, an event brochure or registration website).

Assessment criteria  

Proposals will be assessed for eligibility by the Academy. Eligible applications will be selected for funding by a computerised random selection generator based on proposed budget and available funding.   

Reporting requirements 

Successful applicants will be required to submit a report one month after attending the event or activity to provide feedback on how the grant enabled their engagement and participation.   

Acknowledgement and use of assets  

It is a requirement that any publication or media release resulting from the activities funded by this program mention the support of the Australian Academy of Science and the Theo Murphy Initiative. 

Notification of outcome  

Applications closes on 5 pm (AEDT) of 6th November 2023 and the outcomes are expected in mid-December 2023

For further information contact 

Fellowship and Awards  
Australian Academy of Science 
GPO Box 783 
Canberra ACT 2601 

Phone: +61 2 6201 9433 


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