2023 NLA Scholar Yvetter Grant sitting in Library reading room examining old dance photos.

Applications for the 2025 National Library of Australia Scholarships program are now closed.

The National Library is undertaking a review of its Fellowships and Scholarships Program to ensure it meets the needs of researchers, PhD students and creators. This review may result in changes to some of the opportunities offered beyond 2025.

Please also read Information for Applicants.

Be inspired by the work of previous National Library of Australia Scholars.

Guidelines for the 2025 National Library of Australia Scholarships

The National Library of Australia Scholarships program (formerly known as the Summer Scholarships) provides six-week residences for PhD students who require access to the Library’s collections to assist their postgraduate research.

What Scholarships are offered in 2025?

These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of many National Library patrons and donors.  Nine scholarships are available in 2025:

For research on any subject:

  • The Professor Robert and Josephine Shanks Scholarship
  • The Morag Fraser Scholarship
  • The Carol Moya Mills Scholarship - for a scholar from regional or rural Australia

For First Nations scholars:

  • The National Library of Australia First Nations Scholarship, supported by Irene Kaspar and Peter Boege – for Australian First Nations scholars only, for research on any subject
  • The National Library of Australia Scholarship, supported by a generous donor - for research on any subject, with preference given to Australian First Nations scholars

For specialist research topics:

  • The National Library of Australia Scholarship  in Asian Studies, supported in memory of Cheng King Law – for research in Asian Studies
  • The Seymour Scholarship, supported by Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour AO - for biographical research
  • The Dr Michael Martin and Ms Elizabeth Popovski Scholarship - for research relating to travel, exploration or the natural world in Australia or the Pacific, during the 18th, 19th or early 20th centuries. Explore the Library's collections relating to the Pacific.
  • The Dr Bennie Ng Scholarship - for research using the National Library’s collection of over 1 million maps, from early European charts to current mapping of Australia, in print and digital form

What do National Library of Australia Scholars receive?

Scholarships are available to researchers who require onsite access to the Library’s uniquely held or extensive collections to advance their PhD research.

Scholars will receive:

  • $6000 to support a six-week residency at the National Library of Australia in Canberra 
  • supported access to collections
  • a personal workstation and full office facilities
  • high resolution digital copies of collection materials if required for publication or other public uses (within set limits and according to access and copyright conditions).

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

Who can apply?

The scholarships are open to students who:

  • have commenced PhD study
  • are Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • have not received a Grant, Fellowship or Scholarship from the Library in the past five years.

In addition to the above:

  • applicants for the Seymour Scholarship must be under the age of 35 at 31 December 2024. This age limit is a condition requested by the donors.
  • the National Library of Australia First Nations Scholarship, supported by Irene Kaspar and Peter Boege, is open only to Australian First Nations scholars
  • the National Library of Australia Scholarship, supported by a generous donor, is open to applicants of any age but preference is given to Australian First Nations scholars. If no suitable First Nations applications are received, this Scholarship maybe awarded to a non-Indigenous scholar.

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

What are the selection criteria?

The Fellowships Advisory Committee will assess Scholarship applications 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 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.

What is expected of a Scholar?

Scholars will be required to:

  • give a presentation to Library staff and invited guests at the end of their Scholarship on the progress of their research
  • acknowledge the support of the National Library and their Scholarship donor in forums, presentations and publications resulting from the Scholarship
  • assist the Library to promote the Scholarship program through media and public communications, including through contributions to social media
  • provide a report within one month of the agreed end date of their Scholarship outlining their experience, which will inform Council and the Fellowships Advisory Committee.

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.

The Library will negotiate and confirm the residency dates with Scholars. The duration of the residency is expected to be six consecutive weeks, however we recognise that this may  not always be possible.  Successful applicants may negotiate to spread their residency over a maximum period of three blocks of time, but no additional financial support will be offered.

The timing of residencies may also be impacted by the Library's program of building activities.  Access to some collections will be impacted at different times.  To find out what collection are impacted and when, please visit our temporary changes to collection access page. 

Contact the Fellowships Team  

For more information or to discuss your application, contact:  

Fellowships Program Team 
+61 2 6262 1099