National Library of Australia Fellowships

The National Library of Australia Fellowships support researchers to make intensive use of the Library’s rich and varied collections over a sustained period of three months. 

Fellowship categories

Six funded Fellowships are available for 2019, including two exciting recently established Fellowships: one for Curatorial Research supported by the Patrons and Supporters of the Libary's Treasures Gallery Access program, and a Fellowship supported by the Minerals Council of Australia for research across a wide range of fields.

The six Fellowships available are:

  • National Library of Australia Fellowship supported by the Minerals Council of Australia
  • National Library of Australia Fellowship in Japan Studies, supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust
  • National Library of Australia Fellowship for Research in Australian Literature, supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust
  • National Library of Australia Fellowship for Curatorial Research, supported by the Patrons and Supporters of the Library’s Treasures Gallery Access Program
  • National Library of Australia Fellowships (two additional Fellowships for research on any subject, supported by general donations, sponsorships and bequests)

Additional Honorary Fellowships may be awarded to support research and special access, but without financial support.

Who should apply?

Established and early-career researchers and curators from Australia and overseas, undertaking advanced research projects.

All applications are assessed on merit by the Library’s independent Fellowships Advisory Committee. 

Fellowship benefits

Recipients undertake a three month residency at the National Library, enabling a sustained period of research based on the Library’s collections. Fellows are normally expected to undertake this period of research in one block.

Funded Fellowships provide the following financial support to recipients:

  • an honorarium of AUD $1,000 per week for 12 weeks
  • accommodation support, capped at AUD $700 per week for 12 weeks if required (not payable to residents in the Canberra region)
  • travel support equivalent to one return domestic airfare to Canberra (not payable to residents in the Canberra region). International travel is capped at AUD $2,500.

Fellows may choose to extend their period of residency, but no further financial support can be offered.

All Fellows receive during their residency:

  • special and supported access to collections and staff expertise
  • 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)

Honorary Fellows, selected equally on merit, enjoy the same conditions and benefits but without financial support.

Fellows become part of the Library’s community of staff and scholars, including an alumni group of 150 eminent Harold White and National Library Fellows.

Please note: Fellowships, Scholarships and Study Grants are awarded to an individual. Funding will be paid directly to the individual for the purposes of supporting their Fellowship. Any other arrangements between the individual and their employer are the individual’s responsibility.

Research guidelines

Applicants for Library Fellowships should demonstrate:

  • an excellent research concept
  • innovative thinking or research approach
  • the need to make extensive use of the Library’s collections, and
  • proven research or professional track record.

Applicants must succinctly outline and scope their proposed Fellowship research, and demonstrate the relevance of the Library’s collections in pursuit of their research goals.

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

The intensive research enabled by the Fellowships can focus on Australian or international collections, with a view to creating publications or other public outputs, including curatorial projects or other research outcomes.

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 complete a body of work during the residency, though they are expected to demonstrate their research progress through engaging the public, staff and donors through public presentations, podcasts and communication.

The research can be at any stage of development, or form part of a larger project. However, applicants must outline in their application their anticipated progress during the Fellowship residency, as well as how relevant collections will underpin or advance their research toward publication or other research outcomes.

Research fields and named fellowships

National Library Fellowships may be awarded to researchers working in any field or discipline that the Library’s collections have appropriate depth and breadth to support.

Four of the funded Fellowships are intended for particular fields of research, related to funding sources.

  • The Fellowship supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust specifically supports research in Japan Studies.  Harold S. Williams donated his personal collection on Japan and the West to the Library in 1978 and his bequest has enabled the Library to support research using the Japanese language collections or other collections relating to Japan.
  • The Fellowship supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Matthew Trust specifically supports research in Australian Literature.  Eva Kollsman made a bequest to the Library, in honour of the Australian poet, dramatist and writer Ray Mathew (1929-2002), to support and promote Australian writing and literary research.
  • The Fellowship for Curatorial Research, supported by the Patrons and Supporters of the Library’s Treasures Gallery Access Program, is for research with a curatorial, museological or archival practice focus that will lead to enhanced public access, communication, exposure and interpretation of the Library’s collections. The research may enhance knowledge of and access to specific collections of any type, format or subject, or significant individual items. The research outcomes may encompass public access (such as exhibition, publication, events and education, digital scholarship, collection management and preservation) as well as more traditional research outcomes.
  • The Fellowship supported by the Minerals Council of Australia will be awarded to researchers whose interests relate to public policy, social research, strategic and international relations, resources, industry and the environment, or the economy. This Fellowship is suitable not only for academics and independent scholars, but also policy makers, industry specialists, social researchers, journalists or other professionals. Applicants must demonstrate their research capacity but, if more appropriate, may cite equivalent professional outcomes rather than research publications in their application.

    Note: The Minerals Council is keen to support and promote wide-ranging research that provides historical, social or contemporary context and understanding in relation to its interests and activities. Research may include such topics as the social, economic or environmental contribution of mining, public policy, infrastructure, innovation, science and technology, resource or environmental management and sustainability, Indigenous relationships, economic diplomacy, international relations, industry and trade, security, community engagement.

Applicants whose focus is in the area of one of these four fellowships should tick both the category of fellowship (funded or honorary) and the relevant research field in the application form, as well as identify specific collections relevant to their field.

In the application form, applicants who are not research academics or independent scholars, but are employed or engaged professionally, may list equivalent professional outcomes instead of research publications to establish their record of accomplishment.

What does the Library expect from Fellows?

Fellows will be required to:

  • Give presentations to the public, donors and Library staff that highlight 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
  • Deposit in and inform the Library of any research outcomes of the residency, ensuring open access conditions for future research use if material is deposited
  • Assist the Library to promote the Fellowship through media and public communications, including through contributions to social media
  • Provide a report on their Fellowship experience which will inform Council and the Fellowships Advisory Committee
  • Support the Library’s donor stewardship activities

Fellows retain copyright in any work produced as a result of the Fellowship, but are required to clear copyright in collection materials where applicable and acknowledge and cite source materials appropriately.


Applicants may be at any stage of their career, but must demonstrate their capacity for high quality research or equivalent scholarship, including a strong and relevant publication record, or equivalent record of professional outcomes and accomplishment, relative to opportunity.

Fellowships are open only to individuals and not to research teams. When  an individual is contributing to a larger collaborative project, the applicant must be able to demonstrate their own component of research at the Library.

Previous recipients of Fellowships at the National Library are not eligible to apply.

Applicants may be in receipt of funding from other sources, but must provide the details and show how the Fellowship funding will relate to other sources of income for the project.

International applicants

Applicants may be citizens of any country but must be able to demonstrate why the collections at the National Library of Australia are important to their research.  International applicants must be eligible to apply for an appropriate visa if selected.  The grant towards international travel costs is capped at AUD$2500.

Residents of the Australian Capital Territory region

Independent scholars living in Canberra or its surrounds, with normally easy access to the National Library, are eligible for funded Fellowships.  This may include independent scholars or professionals who would have to take leave without pay from other employment in order to take up the Fellowship.  Independent scholars from the Canberra region may receive the honorarium, if required, but will not receive accommodation or travel support. 

Salaried academics who reside in the Canberra region are eligible only for Honorary Fellowships. 

Honorary Fellowships

The Library may offer additional Honorary Fellowships to meritorious applicants, over and above the endowed Fellowships. Applicants may apply either for funded or Honorary Fellowships, or for both which indicates a willingness or capacity to accept an Honorary Fellowship if offered. Honorary Fellowships typically suit salaried academics in receipt of financial support from their universities for study leave or academics in receipt of other sources of funding for the same project but requiring intensive access to collections.  The merit principle applies equally in the selection of Honorary Fellows.

Selection criteria

Fellows are selected by an independent Fellowships Advisory Committee which is an appointed sub-committee of the National Library’s Council. Members of the panel include representatives from the learned Academies, relevant peak bodies, and the Director-General of the National Library.

In selecting Fellows, the panel takes into account the:

  • The quality of the applicant’s research record, relative to opportunity, demonstrated through a biographical statement, a list of best publications or equivalent public or professional outcomes, and a short CV (2 pages) with an overview of achievements
  • The strength of the applicant’s research project, and the clear articulation of research goals and expected progress during the Fellowship
  • The demonstrated relevance and value of the National Library collections to support the research, particularly where these collections are unique, rare or comprehensive
  • The capacity of the applicant to communicate research goals and outcomes to a wider public audience

Applicants are asked to describe their project with reference to the collections they anticipate using, requiring preliminary investigation of relevant collections. Library staff can assist with preliminary collection inquiries through the Library’s Ask a Librarian service. Applicants who do not show some preliminary consideration as to how the Library’s collections will support their proposed research will not be selected.

Applicants must nominate three referees, with their current contact details.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to send a copy of their application to referees.  Referees will only be contacted by the Library when the Committee has determined a short-list. Fellows will be selected and decisions announced in early September 2018.

How to apply

Applications for the 2019 National Library of Australia Fellowships are now open and close on April 30, 2018,  midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time. Please make sure you have allowed for a time difference and to submit in plenty of time in case of computer errors or exceeded word limits.

Fellows are expected to undertake and complete their residency during 2019 and should nominate preferred dates in the application, commencing any time after the Fellowships are awarded. These dates are indicative, not binding, but allow the Library to effectively manage Fellows’ access to space and resources.

Category of Fellowship: Applicants may apply for either a funded or an Honorary Fellowship, or both.

Applications can only be submitted online. Instructions are provided during the online application process. You can preview the form once you have registered. 

You can save and edit the application. However, no amendments are possible after you have submitted it. Please ensure that you write your proposal succinctly and clearly and without repitition.

 For your application you will need the following:

  • a CV (maximum two A4pages) that outlines your major professional achievements
  • a list of publications or equivalent professional outcomes (one A4 page maximum)
  • the details of three referees. Ensure referees have a copy of your application, which you can download or print from the online system.
Application date
30 Apr 2018
Up to 12 weeks
Oceania Australia
Humanities Anthropology & Ethnology Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Grants available
Award granted
AU$ 1.000/week + accommodation & travel support