Future Earth Australia (FEA) recognises the importance of supporting early-career researchers and professionals (ECRPs) as the future leaders of sustainability. The Opportunities Fund is a newly formed fund by FEA to promote interdisciplinary capabilities and cross-institutional collaboration between ECRPs.
The Opportunities Fund has two levels of support available:
Seizing Opportunities grants: small bursary grants (A$200 – $1,000) to harness an existing opportunity
Creating Opportunities grants: medium sized competitive grants (A$1,000 – $5,000) to generate or build an opportunity for collaboration.
All applications will be assessed by the FEA Secretariat and/or FEA Steering Committee members, including the ECRP representatives. This program has been generously supported by the Granders Trust.
At the time of submission, an applicant must be employed in or volunteering in the sustainability or environment sector (including creative arts) as a researcher or professional. This includes Honours and Masters students or PhD candidates, government or not-for-profit employees, and community group or private sector employees. Early-career is defined as the first 15 years of career, not including any career breaks taken.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, or other First Nations peoples working in the broader environment sector are encouraged to apply. Indigenous Knowledges are valuable, rich, and rigorous, and particularly applicable here.
Creating Opportunities applicants must include an ECRP Principal Investigator/team leader from one of the following institutions: Australian National University, Griffith University, RMIT, University of the Sunshine Coast, Monash University, University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, or CSIRO. Other collaborators may come from anywhere, as long as they fit the above eligibility.
How to apply
1. Seizing Opportunities
For Seizing Opportunities grants, please apply through SmartyGrants. Applications will require:
your CV as an attachment
the amount of funds sought (A$200 – $1,000)
the purpose and use of the funds (what the funds will be used for)
how it will benefit your skills, career development, research prospects, or knowledge in your field(s)
how it aligns with FEA’s mission to establish an interconnected platform of expertise and innovation capable of forming solutions to the sustainability challenges, especially those facing Australia and our region.
Please note, Seizing Opportunities grants do not need to be tied to a research outcome. Examples of use include: travel or registration to a conference or professional event; skills development, e.g. media training, mangrove monitoring, SCUBA course; or publishing or production costs of an artwork communicating sustainability solutions.
Applications will be assessed on how well they demonstrate the value of the bursary to their professional development and if it meets the FEA mission.
2. Creating Opportunities
The Creating Opportunities grant round can be applied for through SmartyGrants, and must be tied to the outcomes or recommendations found within one of FEA’s three decadal plans:
Collaborations are highly favoured—across disciplines, institutions, cultures, experiences, and knowledges. At least one of the project collaborators must come from an FEA member (see Eligibility).
Applications will be assessed using the following selection criteria:
- alignment with one or more of FEA’s National Strategies (Just Adaptation, Oceans and Coasts, Urban Sustainability)
- ability to demonstrate cross-institutional or transdisciplinary collaboration
- team lead from an FEA member institution
- potential outcomes of the activity.
30 August 2023 | Applications open
Applications will be assessed as they are received. There are no application time limits or end dates for acceptance of applications.
These bursaries will continue to be funded for as long as resources allow.
Creating Opportunities Grants – Round 1
30 August 2023 | Applications open
13 October 2023 | Applications close
17 November 2023 | Applicants are notified of the outcome of their proposal.
Successful applicants will be required to submit a brief report detailing the outcomes of their activity within 12 months of being granted funds. It is a requirement that any publication or communications resulting from the activities funded by this program mentions Future Earth Australia and Granders Trust.
For more information, please contact us at Futureearthaustralia@science.org.au.
1. Do I have to be a current university student or staff member to apply?
No. These grants are open to anyone who is studying, working, or volunteering in natural or social sciences, sustainability, conservation, climate change, or a community development role—formal or informal. You can work for government, private industry, a community organisation, or be self-employed.
2. Can I apply more than once, or for both funding streams?
Applicants can apply for both Seizing Opportunities and Creating Opportunities streams, and should make a separate application for each funding round. Applicants may not apply more than once to each stream.
3. For Seizing Opportunities: If successful, will I receive the full amount of funds requested in my application?
The application panel will determine how much of the available funds (A$200 – $1,000) will be given to the awardee. Generally, if the opportunity is more than A$1,000, the maximum available amount (A$1000) requested will be granted. If the cost of the opportunity is less than A$1000, the full cost will be covered but no more.
4. Who will assess my application/s?
Your application will be assessed by a panel of FEA representatives, including the FEA Secretariat, ECRP Representatives, and FEA Steering Committee Members.
5. What kinds of projects can be funded under the Creating Opportunities grants?
FEA is interested in funding projects that encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations, such as research projects, creative outputs, symposia, workshop events, or published materials. These funds can be starter funds to leverage other sources of funding, or augment an existing collaborative program.