Research Fellowship


Overview of the Award: 

The Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences maintains an Education and Research Fund that supports the award of a Research Fellowship on a biannual basis for applicants living and working in Australia. Applications are now invited for the AAFS Research Fellowships, for projects and/or activities that will contribute to broader aims of the Academy, which are: 

• to encourage research on the forensic sciences, improve the practice, and advance the knowledge of the forensic sciences; and 

• to support projects and activities that will widen, improve and develop the education and knowledge of those actively involved in the practice of the forensic sciences and/or the legal profession, and inform public debate and understanding of the forensic sciences. 

Each fellowship is valued at $15,000 (inclusive of tax). Up to $12,000 will be paid on receipt of invoices for approved expenditure. The final instalment of $3,000 will be withheld until a manuscript has been submitted to the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences (see below Conditions of Award for more detail). 

The due date for applications is 5th April 2024 at 23:59 AEST. 

The Academy takes a non-prescriptive approach to what are relevant projects or activities, however applicants must clearly demonstrate how their proposal will further the aims and objectives of the Academy. 

Relevant activities that the funding may be used for include: 

• direct support for a specific research project resulting in peer-reviewed publication(s); 

• support for the production of an industry or professionally focused research output, or an evidence-based educational or training resource associated with the research; 

• contributing to support for travel and other costs associated within a defined research project, which may include travel to present the research at a recognised professional or academic conference.  This could include child-care costs associated with field-work, travel or conference participation.


Applicants must be financial members of the AAFS and may come from any field of expertise, provided that their proposal is of relevance to the Academy and will further the aims and objectives of the Academy. Trans-disciplinary projects are encouraged. 

The fellowship is awarded to an individual applicant, and not to their organisation. The Fellowship will not be awarded to support ordinary personal, living costs or salary for the applicant associated with the period of the research project. However, the applicant may use the funding to provide a scholarship or research stipend to a student/member of staff intending to work on the project. In this circumstance, it is important to note that the applicant remains accountable for the whole project and its deliverables. 

The Academy encourages applications from those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Preference will be given to proposals that are not eligible for funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). 

The Fellowship will not be awarded to support education or training only, or attendance at a conference or symposium which does not include presentation of the research. 

Conditions of the Award: 

Up to $15,000 inclusive of tax will be awarded per successful applicant. Each successful applicant must undertake the project or activities for which support is sought within one calendar year from date of receipt of first payment2. Up to $12,000 will be paid on receipt of invoices for approved expenditure. Six months after receipt date of the first payment, the successful applicant is required to submit a short report (up to two pages) to the Academy to include progress made and budget spent so far and a plan and budget for the remaining 6 months.   It is not necessary for any publication or equivalent output to be published by this end date.  Submissions will be subject to the usual peer review process for the Journal. 

On completion of the one-year project, the successful applicant is then required to submit a short report (up to two pages) to the Academy, summarising how the funding was spent and the key outcomes of the project. It is also expected that a manuscript relating to the project supported by the Fellowship be submitted for publication in the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences3, no later than 18 months after the receipt date of the first payment. The final instalment of $3,000 will be withheld until a manuscript has been submitted. Successful applicants may also be invited to speak at an AAFS event to present the research conducted. 

Where a project requires ethical approval, funds will not ordinarily be released until that approval is confirmed and the Fellowship may be withdrawn if ethical approval is not secured within six months of the award of the Fellowship. 

Instructions for Application Form Completion: 

All applicants must complete and submit the application form via the AAFS website. All sections must be completed, unless otherwise indicated. It is recommended that answers to each section are prepared in advance, for example in Microsoft Word, and then copied into the application form, as the form cannot be saved and returned to later. Please note the character limits for each section. 

It is important to note that someone outside your discipline may be reviewing and assessing your application, so please ensure that you write your application in an appropriate manner, avoiding scientific jargon where possible and explaining terms where needed. 

When describing your suitability for the proposed project/activity, you should demonstrate how your background and experience is relevant to the proposal and how this will ensure that the outcomes of the proposal are met. You may include other colleagues, collaborators or students in the proposal and should, where appropriate, explain their contribution to the project/activity. You should include information on your career stage, career history, and access to appropriate infrastructure to conduct/supervise the research project. 

When describing the methodology/research plan, make sure to include how you intend to collect your data (such as through laboratory experiments, interviewing relevant participants, etc) or from where you will obtain your data (such as from case reports, relevant databases, etc). In the detailed budget, make sure to explain how you will use the award of up to $15,000 to support your proposed research project. The award may be used to complement existing research activities or grants, but if this is the case, you must clearly specify how this award will be used. Where appropriate, you should explain why you are not seeking support from the ARC, NHMRC or other competitive funding body. Please review the funding conditions outlined above and ensure that your application can meet those conditions. 

The application form also requires a signed letter of support from your supervisor to be uploaded prior to submission. 

Enquiries about eligibility, or any other matters relating to the Fellowship can be sent to: 

Submission of Application: 

Submissions can only be made via the online application form on the AAFS website; emailed applications will not be accepted. 

AAFS Research Fellowship Instructions 2024 

Assessment of Applications: 

Each application will be assessed by the AAFS Selection Committee; external reviewers may also be sought at the discretion of the AAFS Council. 

When assessing applications, the following will be considered: 

• how well the proposed research project supports the objectives of the AAFS; 

• the novelty of the proposed research project and its potential for impact; 

• how well-defined the project’s methodology is (including consideration of ethics) and whether the proposed approach can address the research aim proposed; 

• whether the funds requested are appropriately justified for the nature of the proposed project, and if the project could be funded from elsewhere; 

• whether the applicant has the appropriate experience/expertise and access to infrastructure to conduct/supervise the research project; 

• whether completion of research project is feasible within the in one-year timeframe and whether the proposed research is likely to be suitable for publication. 

It is anticipated that successful applicants will be informed in July-August 2024. 

Access the Application Form Here