Thomas Davies Research Grant for Marine, Soil and Plant Biology

The call for applications are currently closed

Applications for the 2022 awards will open in early 2021


The Thomas Davies Research Grant for marine, soil and plant biology is funded through a generous philanthropic bequest from the estate of the late Thomas Lewis Davies to the Australian Academy of Science.

The Fund offers annual Science Grants of up to $20,000 each to Early-and Mid-Career Researchers in the field of Marine, Soil and Plant Biology. Grants are GST exclusive.

For this grant Early-and Mid-Career Researchers are classified as scientists with up to 15 years post PhD experience*.

* 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.


  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Applicants should have held a PhD (or equivalent) for no more than 15 years at the time of the award closing date*.
  • Funding may be used towards the costs of research assistant salaries, equipment and other costs not covered from other sources. Funding may not cover bench fees, managerial costs, insurance or visa costs or primary researcher salaries.
  • Grants should be spent within 24 months from the date of award.
  • The work should lead to publication in high quality scientific journals.
  • Successful grant winners will be expected to present annual progress reports starting 12 months from when the award is made using the Academy's grant reporting template. A full report is also required within 3 months of the termination of the research project.
  • 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.


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

Applications must include the following:

  • A research proposal structured under the following headings; aims & background, significance of the research, methodology, management implications of the project. Maximum of two pages using size 12 font.
  • Itemised budget with brief justification for each item, the names and details of research funding already received (project title, funding body, amount). Maximum of one page using size 12 font.
  • Brief CV including qualifications, summary of professional/research experience and publications/presentations. Maximum of three pages using size 12 font.
  • Applicants must submit two referee reports with the application. The reports should be addressed to the Awards Committee and indicate the referee’s knowledge of the applicant’s research and their ability to carry out the project successfully. Maximum of one page using size 12 font for each report.

Late applications will not be considered.

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.
  • Supporting institutes and awardees are required to ensure that any research they undertake that is funded by the Australian Academy of Science adheres to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of research, severe breach of these codes may result in the withdrawal of current and refusal of future funding support. Research involving Indigenous Australians must  comply with the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies.

Applications are assessed  by a committee of scientists with diverse expertise 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. 

Grants are offered to successful applicants by November each year for projects to be carried out in the next year.

This award is open to nominations for candidates from all genders.

For more information contact



  • Dr Jennifer Lavers, University of Tasmania: Seabirds as a vector for nutrients and pollutants on islands
  • Dr Fiona Walsh, Consultant ethno-ecologist: What’s in and beyond the ‘fairy circles’? Investigation of patterns of pavements amongst desert spinifex grasslands
  • Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd, The University of Newcastle: Unlocking pre-instrumental climate secrets from the wood anatomy and isotopic composition of Avicennia marina
  • Dr Edwin Lampugnani, The University of Melbourne: Marchantia; a simple model to study cellulose biosynthesis
  • Dr Mark Waters, University of Western Australia: Interactions between light and smoke signals in plant development
  • Dr Elisabeth Strain, The University of Melbourne: Assessing the role of restored and natural kelp forests in protecting against coastal erosion and ocean acidification
  • Dr Simon Williams, The Australian National University: Establishing a synthetic biology platform for engineering plant innate immunity receptors

More information on the 2020 Thomas Davies Research Grant for Marine, Soil and Plant Biology awardees can be found here.

Previous years

Download the list of previous awardees.

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science