PhD and ECR: The Margaret Middleton Fund for endangered Australian native vertebrate animals

Applications for the 2022 awards will open in early 2021


This fund offers annual science grants of up to $20,000 each to support field-based, high-quality ecological research. The objective of the grant is to provide financial support for conservation-based research of Australian ecosystems (including off-shore islands and the continental shelf) that ultimately will lead to tangible outcomes for management. The scope of the research is open to terrestrial, marine and freshwater research on vertebrate animals. Grants are GST exclusive. 

The grant is open to PhD students and early-career researchers (within 3 years of completing their PhD or equivalent*). Grants are offered to successful applicants in November each year for projects to be commenced the next year. Funded activities are normally expected to have been undertaken within two years from the date of award. Awardees can apply for project variations if their award proposals are impacted by extenuating circumstance.

* 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 (or equivalent) 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.

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

For more information, contact


Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants should also either be enrolled for a PhD and hold an Australian Post-Graduate Award (APA) or university scholarship or be within 3 years of obtaining a PhD (or equivalent) and hold a postdoctoral position at a recognised institution e.g. CSIRO or University.

The research must address ecological and conservation problems in Australian systems. Preference will be given to novel research which deals with empirical field-based data and ecological community processes with possible management implications rather than pure genetic or modelling research.

The work should lead to publication in high quality ecological or conservation/management journals. Successful grant winners will be expected to present a one page progress report of their work to the Secretary after six months and a full report within three months of the termination of the grant. Conference travel is not supported.

Journal page charges up to a maximum of $2,000 may be supported.

This grant does not provide funds for bench fees, managerial, visa, insurance or infrastructure costs, or salaries.


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 and 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. A full publications list is not required. Maximum of three pages using size 12 font.
  • PhD students must submit a letter of reference from their supervisor indicating that such a research proposal can be conducted from within the department and their opinion of the proposed research, the need for award funding and potential career impact of award if funded. 
  • Post-doctoral fellows 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.

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

Award conditions

  • This grant does not provide funds for bench fees, managerial, visa, insurance, infrastructure costs, or salaries.
  • 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.