A woman sits at a wooden desk surrounded by open folders and papers.
2020 National Library of Australia Fellow, Professor Vivien Johnson.  Image: Adam McGrath

Applications for 2023 National Library of Australia Fellowships are now closed. Applications for the 2024 program will open in early 2023.

2023 Guidelines

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

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. 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

Fellowships are open to individuals with 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.

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.

 As part of the residency, 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
  • copies of collection materials (within reasonable limits and according to access and copyright conditions)

Funded Fellowships will also 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.

Please note: Fellowships are awarded to an individual. Funding will be paid directly to the individual for the purposes of supporting their Fellowship. Payments are made in two installments in week 1 and week 6 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.

Fellowship categories

Up to seven funded Fellowships are available: four are for research on any subject, and three are for particular fields of research. The funded Fellowships available are:

  • Three Fellowships supported by the Stokes Family, on any subject
  • One Fellowship supported by past and present members of the National Library Council and Patrons, on any subject
  • Two Fellowships supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust specifically for research in Japan Studies. 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 Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman.  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.


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 cannot apply if:

  • you are currently undertaking a PhD thesis or Masters project
  • you have received a Fellowship at the National Library within the last 5 years
  • your research supports writing a literary work or creating an artistic work. These projects are supported through the National Library’s Creative Arts Fellowships.

Completing the application forms

Applications must be submitted using the online application form. Hardcopy or offline applications will not be considered. 

Applications close on Tuesday 26 April 2022 at 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. Late applications or support material will not be accepted. You should allow for any time difference, and internet connection or submission issues.  Results of the selection process will be made public by October 2022. 

Mandatory fields, and word and file size limits apply. You will not be able to submit your application if the mandatory fields have not been completed or limits are exceeded. You can preview the form before starting an application, which will show you where limits apply. Once started, please save your form regularly. You can save and edit the application, however, no changes are possible after you have submitted.  

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.  

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

Your application must demonstrate knowledge of the Library’s collections that are relevant to your project. This can be done using the Library catalogue, and the Library’s Ask a Librarian service may also provide some initial guidance.  Applicants who do not show investigation into how the Library’s collections will support their proposed research will not be selected. 

Applicants should also demonstrate awareness of any access or rights issues, including Indigenous cultural protocols, that may apply to access to the selected collection items.  Information about access conditions can be found the catalogue record.  

To complete the application, you will need to provide:  

  • a short biographical statement 

  • a CV (maximum two A4 pages)  

  • list of publications or, if you are not a research academic or independent scholar, equivalent professional outcomes (maximum two A4 pages) 

  • proposed start and end dates. Residencies may be scheduled between 27 February 2023 and 15 December 2023 only. Dates are indicative only and will be negotiated and confirmed with successful applicants.  

  • a project proposal including the aims, context, expected short and long term outcomes; and potential benefit to a greater public understanding or knowledge of the collections, and wider scholarship and/or professional practice. 

  • if applicable, details of other funding sources for the project and why Fellowship funding is required  

  • a list of the collection materials you wish to access, provided in the format requested

  • timeline and research plan for the residency period 

  • contact details of three referees. Provide referees with a copy of your application, which you can download or print. Referees will be contacted by the Library after applications have been shortlisted.  

Assessment process 

National Library staff read and shortlist applications against the eligibility and selection criterion. In some instances, additional information may be requested. An independent Fellowships Advisory Committee is provided with the shortlisted applications, as well as a complete list of all applications. Committee members can choose to call into consideration applications that are not on the shortlist. Honorary Fellows are selected equally on merit.  

Members of the panel include representatives from the learned Academies, relevant peak bodies, and the Director-General of the National Library. 

Decisions will be announced by October 2022. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer and have their names and the Fellowship awarded published on the Library’s website. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email and may request feedback by contacting

Selection criteria 

Applicants should ensure their application addresses 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, and 

  • capacity of the applicant to communicate research goals and outcomes to a wider public audience. 

What is expected of a Fellow?   

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.  In exceptional circumstances this may be varied slightly, with applicants able to negotiate spreading their residency over a maximum of three blocks of time, but no further financial support will be offered. 

Funding is paid directly to the individual in weeks 1 and 6 of their Fellowship. As this support may have tax implications, it is recommended Fellows seek professional financial advice. 

All intellectual property rights (including copyright) in any work produced by the Fellow during their Fellowship will vest in the Fellow on its creation. 

The copyright and access status of items in the Library’s collection varies. Before downloading, copying, adapting, publishing, distributing or otherwise reusing any of the items found in the Library’s collection, you are responsible for determining the copyright status and terms of use applicable for such items, and checking with and/or obtaining the copyright owner’s consent before using or reproducing such content. This also includes cultural clearances that might be required for collection material by or about Indigenous Australians. 

Fellows will be required to: 

  • give a live-streamed public presentation and a presentation to Library staff (as applicable) 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. 

Fellows are encouraged to inform the Library of any research outcomes of the residency, and deposit material in the Library’s collection if appropriate.  

For further or 02 6262 1099.

Privacy and confidentiality 

The Library is committed to protecting your privacy.  We are bound by and comply with our obligations under the Australia Privacy Principles outlines in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth.) 

When you submit an application for a fellowship, we may collect personal information from you such as your title, name, address, telephone number, email address, age group, name of your organisation, employment and education details, as well as any other information you include in your application. We may also collect sensitive information about you including whether you self-identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. 

We may give the personal information we collect from you to our employees, contractors, members of the relevant Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant Advisory Committee, and by any government or governmental body, authority or agency having authority over the Library, so we can: 

  • assess your application and manage the Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants programs; 

  • contact you to seek additional information about your application; 

  • where selection restrictions apply, informing assessors of the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant program of your geographic location or age group; 

  • provide you with information about future Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants programs which may be of interest (you can opt out of these updates at any time); and 

  • research, assess, monitor and analyse our fellowship programs and activities. 

Successful applicants’ names, title, position, employer, title of the fellowship project and the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant awarded may be published on our website and social media platforms. 

If you do not provide us with the above personal information, we will not be able to: 

  • consider you for any Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant you may wish to apply for; 

  • provide you with information on upcoming Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant rounds. 

We use SmartyGrants, a cloud-based grant management system, to collect and store Fellowship, Scholarship and Grant applications. In providing this service, SmartyGrants may collect personal information submitted as part of an application form. SmartyGrants uses Amazon’s cloud-based filed storage system AWS S3, which is encrypted. All files stored within AWS S3 are located on servers controlled and managed by Amazon and are physically located in Australia. 

The Library’s Privacy Policy, published on our website, contains more information about how we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information, how you can access and correct this information and how you can contact us with any questions or privacy related complaints. 

Confidential Information 

We will keep any information in connection with your application for a Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant confidential to the extent that it meets all of the three conditions below: 

  • you clearly identify the information as confidential and explain why we should treat it as confidential; 

  • the information is commercially sensitive; and 

  • revealing the information would cause unreasonable harm to you or someone else. 

We may disclose confidential information: 

  • to members of the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant Advisory Committee and the Library’s employees and contractors, to help us manage the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant programs effectively; and 

  • to employees and contractors of the Library so we can research, assess, monitor and analyse our programs and activities. 

We may also disclose confidential information if: 

  • required by law, or as required of the Library by any government or governmental body, authority or agency having authority over the Library; 

  • required in connection with legal proceedings; 

  • necessary for the proper discharge of the Library’s public accountability or reporting functions, including for the provision of information to a Minister, Parliament or a parliamentary committee; 

  • required for the purpose of conducting an audit; 

  • you agree to the information being disclosed; or 

  • someone other than us has made the confidential information public.