The Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research

The Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research honour Australians in the early part of their career who have
achieved excellence in scholarship in one or more fields of the social sciences.

About the Awards

The Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research are named in honour of the Academy’s past president Paul Francis Bourke (1938–1999) who was a product of the History school at the University of Melbourne and went on to become one of the first Australian historians to obtain American style doctoral training.

Whilst at Flinders University, he served as Professor of American Studies and also as Pro-Vice Chancellor. From Flinders University, he went on to become the Director of the RSSS at ANU and also served as the President of ASSA (1993-1997). Amongst scholars the contribution Paul made to the field of performance measurement is considered to be invaluable.

Based on nominations from Fellows, each Panel of the Academy will select one outstanding scholar to receive one of four Paul Bourke Awards. It is the intention of the Academy that the awards are presented to social science researchers who, at the time of nomination, do not yet hold an Associate Professor or Professorial appointment. Such persons are normally within five years of receiving their doctorate, but allowances are made for career interruptions.

The awards comprise a Citation and Medallion presented to each of the four winners at the Academy Annual Dinner. With the agreement of the winners’ home university, a jointly-sponsored lecture will be delivered by each of the winners during the year following receipt of the awards. The winners will also prepare a promotional article on their research to be published by the Academy.


Nominations will be judged by the Academy’s relevant Panel Committee to determine the winners of the Paul Bourke Awards, one in each Panel (A, B, C and D).

Panel A: Anthropology, Demography, Geography, Linguistics, Sociology, Management.
Panel B: Accounting, Economics, Economic History, Marketing, Statistics.
Panel C: History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science.
Panel D: Education, Psychology, Social Medicine


  • Nominations will open in June and must be submitted to the Manager, Fellowship ( no later than 31 August to be considered for nomination in that year.
  • Panel Committees review nominations in September.
  • Each of the four winners are presented with a testamur and medallion at the Academy’s Annual Dinner (typically November).

The Nomination

The Nomination Form can be obtained from the Academy’s National Office or downloaded from the Academy’s website. The form is to be submitted and signed by two Fellows of the Academy and requires:

  • A citation of not more than 150 words setting out the case for the nominated scholar
  • Two referee reports (max 2 pages each) from scholars in the nominee’s field of study. (The referees need not be Fellows of the Academy).
  • A full CV for the nominee.

Nominators should make their nominee/s aware of the date of the Academy’s Annual Dinner to ensure they are available to receive their award should they be successful.

Selection Criteria

  1. Excellence in scholarship in the social sciences.
  2. A PhD in the social sciences, awarded normally not more than five years prior to the time of nomination, excluding time which may have been devoted exclusively to maternity/paternity leave or other carer responsibilities.
  3. A record of achievement in scholarly publication with emphasis on recent work, especially in leading international journals and/or books published by leading publishers. Additional evidence of achievement includes: prizes, grants, scholarships, presentations at leading international conferences, and/or contribution to the advancement of public policy in the social sciences.
  4. Australian citizenship or permanent resident status.
  5. The nominated scholar must not be a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences.
  6. The nominated scholar must not have previously won the Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research or an Early Career Researcher Commendation of the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Past Recipients

2019: Elise Klein, David Frazier, Rebecca Ananian-Welsh, Melissa Day

2018: Renee Zahnow, Emma Hutchison, Tamsyn Van Rheenen

2017: Elise Sargeant, Amy King, Mark Humphery-Jenner, Daniel King

2016: Muireann Irish

2015: Philip Batterham

2014: Emma Kowal

2013: Anina Rich

2012: Paul Dux

20111: Linda Graham

2010: Christy Newman

2009: Mark A Bellgrove

2008: Murat Yucel

2007:  Jason Sharman

2006:  Andrew Leigh, Jennifer Hudson

2005: Thomas Suddendorf

2004: Alex Bellamy

2003: Lisa Maher

2002: Jason B Mattingley

2001:  Robert Hill, Kaarin Anstey

2000: Andrea Whittaker

1999: Richard Bryant

1998: Chandran Kukathas

1997: Jeff Borland

1996: Tony Aspromourgos

1995: Kay J Anderson

1994: Debbie Terry

1993: John Quiggin

1992: Robert Cribb

1991: Peter Higgs

1990: Vicki Lee

1989: Gregory Whitwell

1988: Wojciech Sadurski

1987: Richard Fox