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2021 NLA Fellow Prof Anne Pender.
2021 National Library of Australia Fellow for Research in Australian Literature, Professor Anne Pender.  Image: Adam McGrath.

Applications for the 2024 National Library of Australia Fellowships are now closed.  Applications for the 2025 Fellowships program will open on 12 March 2024.

The National Library is undertaking a review of its Fellowships and Scholarships Program to ensure it meets the needs of researchers, PhD students and creators. This review may result in changes to some of the opportunities offered beyond 2024.

Please also read Information for Applicants.

Be inspired by the work of previous National Library of Australia Fellows.

Guidelines for the 2024 National Library of Australia Fellowships

Supported by generous donors and bequests

The National Library of Australia Fellowships program offers researchers an opportunity to undertake a 12-week residency at the Library.  Applicants may work in any field or discipline where the Library's collections have appropriate depth and breadth to support the desired outcomes.

National Library of Australia Fellowships will:

  • contribute to a greater public understanding or knowledge of the Library’s collections.
  • promote discussion through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.
  • enhance the national and international reputation of the National Library as an institution of major research significance.
  • actively promote the research experience and outcomes.

What Fellowships are offered in 2024?

Up to six funded Fellowships are available in the 2024 round. Three are for research on any subject, and three are for a particular fields of research. The funded Fellowships available are:

  • Three Fellowships on any subject, supported by the Stokes Family
  • Two Fellowships for research in Japan Studies, supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust. Harold S Williams donated his personal collection on Japan and the West to the Library in 1979 and his bequest has enabled the Library to support research using the Japanese language collections or other collections relating to Japan.
  • One Fellowship for research in Australian Literature, supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust. A bequest was made to the Library by Eva Kollsman in honour of the Australian poet, dramatist and writer Ray Mathew (1929-2002) to support and promote Australian literary research and writing.

Honorary Fellowships, which do not include financial support, may be offered to meritorious applicants.

What do National Library of Australia Fellows receive?

Fellowships are available to researchers who require onsite access to the Library’s uniquely held or extensive collections to advance their research towards publication or other public outcomes.

All Fellows will benefit from:

  • a sustained period of research based on the Library’s collections.
  • special and supported access to collections.
  • access to the Fellows room, with full office facilities and a personal workstation.
  • high resolution digital copies of collection materials if required for publication or other public uses (within set limits and according to access and copyright conditions).

Funded Fellowships receive the following financial support:

  • an honorarium of AUD $1,000 per week for 12 weeks.
  • accommodation support of AUD $700 per week for 12 weeks if required (not payable to residents in the Canberra region).
  • reimbursement of travel costs equivalent to one return domestic airfare to Canberra (not payable to residents in the Canberra region), subject to substantiation of the expenditure. Reimbursement of international travel is capped at AUD $2,500, and limited to one return flight.

Who can apply?

National Library of Australia Fellowships are open to individuals for research at any stage of development, as well as those undertaking research which forms part of a larger project. When an individual is contributing to a collaborative project, they must demonstrate their own research component.

National Library of Australia Fellowships are open to:

  • Australian residents, including individuals living in Canberra or within easy access to the Library, noting that:
    • Independent scholars from the Canberra region will receive the honorarium but will not receive accommodation or travel support.
    • Salaried academics from the Canberra region are eligible only for Honorary Fellowships. 
  • International residents providing they are eligible to apply for a visa. International residents will be responsible for securing their own visas.

You may apply for either a funded or an Honorary Fellowship, or both. Ticking the 'both' option means you are willing to accept an Honorary Fellowship if offered.

You cannot apply if:

  • you are currently undertaking a PhD thesis or Masters project.
  • you have received a Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant at the National Library within the last five years, ie funding was received in one of the Library’s 2019-2023 program rounds.
  • your research supports writing a literary work or creating an artistic work. These projects are supported through the National Library’s Creative Arts Fellowships.

If your research is in one of the Fellowship categories, tick both the type of Fellowship (funded or honorary) and the research field (Japan Studies or Australian Literature).  You may nominate for more than one category.

At its discretion, the Fellowships Advisory Committee may decide not to award a Fellowship in any given category or year.

Please note: Fellowships are awarded to an individual. Funding will be paid directly to the individual only for the purposes of supporting their Fellowship. Payments are made in two instalments in week 1 and week 7 of the Fellowship. Any other arrangements between the individual and their employer are the individual’s responsibility. As Fellowship support may have tax implications, it is recommended Fellows seek professional financial advice.

What are the selection criteria?

Your application should address the following criteria:

  • an excellent research concept and an innovative approach.
  • a capacity for high quality research or scholarship, including a relevant record of publication or professional outcomes.
  • the relevance and value of the National Library’s unique, rare or comprehensive collections to support the research outcomes.
  • the project’s potential for increasing public knowledge of the National Library’s collections.

In assessing against the criteria above, the Fellowships Advisory Committee will consider the:

  • quality of the applicant’s research record, relative to opportunity.
  • strength of the research project.
  • demonstrated need to make extensive use of, and requiring onsite access to, the National Library’s collections. Please note that collection items that have been digitised and are available online will generally not meet this criteria.
  • feasibility of access to collections based on rights in, and condition of, materials.
  • protocols surrounding the use of Indigenous cultural material.
  • clear explanation of research goals and expected progress during the Fellowship.
  • potential benefit to wider scholarship and/or professional practice.
  • capacity of the applicant to communicate research goals and outcomes to a wider public audience.

What is expected of a Fellow?

Fellows will be required to:

  • give one public presentation, which may be live-streamed or pre-recorded at the discretion of the Library and in consultation with the Fellow, that highlights the work undertaken during the Fellowship and research-in-progress.
  • acknowledge the support of the National Library and the Fellowship donors in forums, presentations and publications resulting from the Fellowship.
  • assist the Library to promote the Fellowship through media and public communications, including through contributions to social media.
  • provide a report within one month of the agreed end date of their Fellowship outlining their experience, which will inform Council and the Fellowships Advisory Committee.
  • support the Library's donor relations activities.

The period of Fellowship research may lead to longer-term outcomes, rather than immediate publication or public outcomes. The Library does not expect Fellows to compete a body of work during the residency. Fellows are encouraged to inform the Library of any research outcomes of the residency, and deposit material in the Library’s collection if appropriate.

Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer along with a Conditions of Appointment agreement that must be signed and returned. These documents outline the terms and conditions under which the Fellowship will proceed.

The Library will negotiate and confirm the residency dates with Fellows. The duration of the residency is expected to be 12 consecutive weeks, however we recognise that this may not always be possible. Successful applicants may negotiate to spreading their residency over a maximum of three blocks of time, but no further financial support will be offered.

For further information: fellowships@nla.gov.au or +61 2 6262 1099.