The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is proud to manage the Wilhelm, Martha and Otto Rechnitz Memorial Fund. This fund supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars in the social sciences, and supports knowledge and understanding of the society, languages and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Applications for funding in 2024 are now open and will close on Monday 13 May. Outcomes will be announced during Social Sciences Week (9-15 September 2024).

Read more about the 2023 grant recipients.

This research funding program is intended to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop their careers as researchers across the social sciences.

The program has a particular focus on supporting researchers from the Torres Strait, or those of Torres Strait Islander heritage where possible.

1.   Funding

Grants available through this program are for a maximum of $20,000 AUD (excl GST). Funded activities must be completed within two years of the award, unless a request for extension or variation is approved by the Academy.

Funded research projects must be led by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander early- or mid-career researcher as lead applicant. However, applicants may choose to include non-Indigenous people on the grant application as partner investigators or supporters; for example, in a supervisory or advisory capacity.

These grants may be used by successful applicants to support research projects in a variety of ways, including:

  • engagement of project staff (for example, research assistants)
  • research-related travel and conference expenses
  • remuneration of time of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander knowledge holders participating in or contributing to the project
  • publication costs
  • purchase of minor equipment or consumables
  • development of or access to research tools
  • other direct costs of research.

The funds may not be used to support the applicant’s salary, scholarship/stipend (for student applicants) or their employer’s overhead or management costs. Funding may however be used to buy-out teaching time as relevant to the project.

2.   Eligibility

Applicants must identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, and must be working or studying in a field of social science research (eligible Field of Research codes here).

Applicants must also:

  • be working or studying in an Australian university or other research organisation in a role that allows them to undertake the proposed project as a core part of their duties,
  • be either
    • an early- or mid-career researcher within 15 years of their most recent research qualification, accounting for any relevant career disruptions
    • a higher-degree social science research student enrolled at an Australian university.

Applicants are not required to have a PhD or formal research qualification, but must have sufficient relevant research experience, expertise and employer/supervisor support to be able to lead and complete the proposed project.

Current social science PhD or research Masters students are welcome to apply, provided the proposed project can be completed within the context of their program of study. Projects associated with study in honours or bachelor-level programs are not eligible for funding.

All applicants must include a letter from their supervisor (for students) or school/department head confirming organisational support for the proposed project.

3. Timeframes

  • Grant applications open in early March and close in mid-May each year. (Monday 13 May 2024, 5pm AEST)
  • Assessment of eligible applications takes place in June.
  • Notification of application outcomes in July.
  • Announcement of successful applicants in September.

4. Assessment of applications

Eligible applications received by the closing date will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous scholars from a range of social science research disciplines.

Criteria used to assess applications include applicants’ research track record relative to opportunity, budget suitability and justification, and the strength and merit of the proposed research.

5. Conditions of award

  • Successful applicants will be required to arrange for their university or employing organisation to sign a funding agreement with the Academy (this will generally simply involve forwarding the draft agreement to research office staff to finalise), and to issue a tax invoice for payment of the grant amount.
  • Successful applicants will be required to acknowledge support of the Academy and the Wilhelm, Martha and Otto Rechnitz Memorial Fund in project reports, presentations and other relevant materials.
  • Following completion of the project, successful applicants will be required to submit a final report and acquittal of funds to the Academy (required within three months of completion).
  • For projects over 12 months in duration, successful applicants will also be required to submit a brief progress report to the Academy.
  • Successful applicants will also be asked to provide information and images to the Academy’s communications team for purposes of promoting the award through newsletters, traditional and social media. Successful applicants may also be invited to attend or speak at an Academy event about their work (any travel associated with such events will be covered by the Academy separate from project funds).

6.   Contact

Chris Hatherly
P: +61 2 6249 1788

7. Application Form

Download the 2024 Application Form here

Applications must be submitted to by 5pm AEST Monday 13 May, 2024.