A group of people smile at the camera. They are standing on the outside podium of the National Library of Australia. White columns can be seen in the background.
2022 Summer Scholars: Tess Scholfield-Peters, Anita Gowers, Austin Tseng and Suzannah Henty.  Photo: Adam McGrath

Applications for 2023 Summer Scholarships are now closed. Applications for the 2024 program will open 1st May 2023.

2023 Guidelines

The National Library of Australia Summer Scholarships program supports PhD students who require access to the Library’s collections to assist their postgraduate research.

These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour AO, Carol Moya Mills (former Charles Sturt University Librarian), Professor Robert and Josephine Shanks, and a generous Library Patron.

Four scholarships are available:

  • The Seymour Scholarship for biographical research
  • The Carol Moya Mills Scholarship, for research on any subject, for a scholar from regional or rural Australia
  • The Professor Robert and Josephine Shanks Scholarship, for research on any subject
  • The National Library of Australia Scholarship, for research on any subject, with preference given to Indigenous scholars

Summer Scholars spend six weeks at the Library, from 9 January to 17 February 2023. Consideration will be given to applicants who wish to undertake their scholarship from 17 July to 25 August 2023. Scholars receive:

  • $6000 for use as a stipend, travel and accommodation support
  • special and supported access to collections
  • access to the Fellows room, with full office facilities and a personal workstation


The scholarships are open to students who:

  • have commenced PhD study, and
  • are Australian citizens or permanent residents.

In addition to the above:

  • applicants for the Seymour Scholarship must be under the age of 35 at 31 December in the year of their application.  This age limit is a condition requested by the donors.
  • applicants for the Carol Moya Mills Scholarship must be from regional or remote Australia, but no age limits apply.
  • the National Library of Australia Scholarship is open to applicants of any age but preference is given to Indigenous scholars.

No age, subject or geographic conditions apply for the Professor Robert and Josephine Shanks Scholarship 

Preference for all scholarships is given to applicants who would otherwise find it difficult to access the Library’s collections.

Completing the application form

Applications must be submitted online. Hardcopy or offline applications will not be considered.

Applications close at 5pm (AEST), Tuesday 26 April 2022. Late applications or support material will not be accepted. You should allow for any time difference, and internet connection or submission issues.  

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.

Your application should demonstrate knowledge of the Library’s collections that are relevant to your project. This can be done using the Library catalogue. The Library’s Ask a Librarian service may also provide some guidance if required.  Applicants should also demonstrate awareness of any access or rights issues that may apply 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 transcript of your academic record
  • a recently completed piece of research writing, such as a thesis chapter
  • project description
  • a list of the collection materials you wish to access
  • contact details of two referees. Applicants should provide referees with a copy of their application, which can be downloaded or printed. Referees of shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the Library. 

 How are applications assessed?

Applications are assessed initially by Library staff, with the final assessment and decision made by the Fellowships Advisory Committee against the following criteria:

  • the applicant’s academic potential and capacity for research
  • the value and quality of the proposed research at the Library
  • the relevance and value of the National Library's unique, rare or comprehensive collections to the proposed research

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

  • the 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
  • whether a clear explanation of research goals and expected progress during the Scholarship has been provided
  • the feasibility of access to collection based on rights and access conditions, and the physical condition of materials
  • the protocols surrounding the use of Indigenous cultural material.  

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

Results of the selection process will be publically announced by November 2022. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer and have their names published on the Library’s website. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email and may request feedback by contacting

What is expected of a Summer Scholar?

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 Scholarship will proceed.

Funding is paid directly to the individual in weeks 1 and 3 of their residency. As this support may have tax implications, it is recommended Scholars seek professional financial advice

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

Summer Scholars are expected to:

  • give a presentation to Library staff and invited guests on the progress of their research
  • acknowledge the donors and assist the Library to promote the scholarships through communications and media
  • provide a report within one month of finishing their residency outlining their experience, which will inform the Library and the Fellowships Advisory Committee

The copyright 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.

Get inspired: read more about the work of our previous Summer Scholars

For further information or assistance: 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:

  1. you clearly identify the information as confidential and explain why we should treat it as confidential;
  2. the information is commercially sensitive; and
  3. 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