Our progress towards reconciliation

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

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Disclaimer: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.


Acknowledgement of Country
The Australian Academy of Science acknowledges and pays respects to the Ngunnawal people, the Traditional Owners of the lands on which the Academy office is located. The Academy also acknowledges and pays respects to the Traditional Owners and the Elders past, present and emerging of all the lands on which the Academy operates and its Fellows live and work. They hold the memories, traditions, cultures and hopes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. 

Our vision

Our vision for reconciliation is that the traditional knowledge and cultures of Australia’s First Peoples are highly valued and respected by all Australians, and as one we contribute to creating a better nation and a better world.

Our plan for reconciliation

It is crucial that the Academy creates opportunities to work respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to address issues that impact on them and to support their contribution to scientific, policy, international and communication activities enabled by the Academy. Our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines the practical steps we are taking to support positive change and facilitate reconciliation. Responsibility for implementing the plan lies with all Fellows and staff of the Academy.

The Academy’s Reconciliation Action Plan acknowledges work already underway, including:

  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scientist award launched in 2018 to support emerging scientists
  • continued support of the Douglas and Lola Douglas Scholarship in Medical Science; awarded to a top-ranked PhD candidate in Indigenous health research
  • the Academy’s school education programs, which have provided professional learning to hundreds of teachers around Australia and have reached many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and students.

Future actions and opportunities outlined in the plan include:

  • investigating how the Academy’s national reach and influence may be able to support the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in science, though initiatives such as a professional mentoring program that involves Fellows and National Committee members
  • exploring different perspectives of science with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures
  • implementing policies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, including developing and implementing a policy to attract, develop, and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to the Academy, incorporating the Indigenous Traineeship Program.


Read our Reconciliation Action Plan

Progress towards our goals

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, Reconciliation Australia has allowed the Academy an extension to February 2021 to achieve the deliverables outlined in our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan sets out specific actions under four broad goals.


Goal: The Academy will seek out and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples based on mutual respect, with the intention of building our capacity to support and effect change through everything we do.

> Progress

  • We launched our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan on the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2019.
  • We collated a database of relationships across the Academy with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals, and are exploring the creation of an Indigenous scientists network.


Goal: The Academy will develop a deeper understanding of, and celebrate, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, history and achievements.

> Progress

  • We made the ‘Core Cultural Learning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia Foundation Course’ available to Academy Fellows and staff.
  • We produced an Acknowledgement of Country guide for Fellows, staff and others to use at events and meetings.


Goal: The Academy will identify opportunities for direct action, be a catalyst for broader change and support the actions of others to make real change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

> Progress

Governance and tracking progress

Goal: The Academy will review and measure our progress and seek feedback and involvement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to continuously improve our impact.

> Progress

  • We track progress of our Reconciliation Action Plan and provide regular updates to the Academy’s governing body, the Council.


This speech by Bradley Moggridge on the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan is the first in our series of reflections and progress on reconciliation.

Yaama ngin-daayuu
Brad Moggridge n-gaya
Kamilaroi mari n-gaya
Dhawun nhalay Ngunnawal n-gaya winangaylanha
Way yamaa wunan-gay ngiyani ganu
Gaba Nginda

Hello to you all
I am Brad Moggridge
I am a Kamilaroi man
I acknowledge this Ngunnawal Country
We will respect the elders, all of them
Thank you

External events

We encourage involvement by Fellows, staff and all Academy friends in local, regional or national events, in particular days of significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These include: 

News and updates

From the Academy

External news

Academy awards and funding: recognising achievement

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award

This 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 their research and/or the expansion and growth of their research networks and international knowledge exchange through visits to relevant international centres of research. Awards will be for up to $20,000, with additional support provided to attend the Academy's annual Science at the Shine Dome event.

Find out more about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award. Please note that no awards were made in 2021.

2024 awardees

  • Dr Justine Clark – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander precision cancer research.
  • Dr Joe Greet – Healing Water Country: developing a Traditional Owner-led billabong health assessment framework.

More about the 2024 awardees


2023 awardees

  • Ms Stephanie Beaupark – to study the colour chemistry of natural dyes from Australian native trees and using an Indigenist methodology involving yarning with other Indigenous natural dye artists and weavers.
  • Ms Michelle Hobbs – to provide new insights into the management of Australian freshwater ecosystems and freshwater mussels.


2022 awardees

  • Dr Jordan Pitt—to study the interaction between sea ice and ocean waves, in order to improve future climate models.
  • Ms Tamara Riley—a project called ‘Walu-win mayiny balugan mawang’ (Well people and animals all together) to understand how the human–animal–environment relationship impacts on Aboriginal communities’ health, and then to develop ‘One Health’ models for use in Aboriginal communities.
  • Ms Vanessa Sewell—to address the problem of vaccinating against drench-resistant sheep parasites, such as brown stomach worms and black scour worms.
  • Dr Keane Wheeler—a project that involves a co-design process with the Yarrabah Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to create a ‘Move2Smile with Culture’ program, which will combine fundamental movement skills and socio-emotional learning through embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing.
  • Mr Luke Williams—to develop evidence-based risk assessments of traditional food products in a manner that considers the stories, knowledge and interests of Aboriginal communities, while also meeting the safety data requirements set out by regulatory bodies around the world.

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, 2019

  • 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 Māori culture has incorporated Indigenous knowledge and values into their water management practice.

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

Douglas and Lola Douglas Scholarship in Medical Science

The Douglas and Lola Douglas Scholarship in Medical Science was made possible through a generous bequest made by Lola Rachel Maude Douglas, a philanthropist with a keen interest in medical research. One of her great wishes was to support young researchers and this bequest enables the Academy to help to fulfil this wish. The scholarship is offered as a ‘top up’ scholarship to PhD candidates awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship in one of the areas of Indigenous or primary health care, with preference given by the Academy to the area of Indigenous health research.

Recent awardees include:

Find out more about the Academy’s Douglas and Lola Douglas Scholarship in Medical Science.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science