Dr Lorinda Cramer reading in the Special Collections Reading Room
2023 National Library of Australia Fellow Dr Lorinda Cramer in the Special Collections Reading Room. 

Thank you for your interest in the National Library’s Fellowship, Scholarship and Grant programs. 

If the information below and on the program specific pages does not answer your questions, please contact us at or by phone on +61 2 6262 1099.

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

What research programs does the Library offer?

The National Library of Australia offers a range of Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants for researchers, writers and artists, and PhD students, which aim to stimulate scholarly, literary and artistic use of our collections, and engage the community.

These programs are supported by generous philanthropic donors and bequests.

Who can apply?

Eligibility requirements are specific to the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant you are applying for. You can find details on the relevant information page (see links above).

When do applications close?

Closing dates are specific to the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant you are applying for. You can find details on the relevant information page.

Can I submit a late application?

Late applications or support material will not be accepted. You should allow for any time difference, and internet connection or submission issues. 

How do I apply?

Applications to the National Library of Australia’s Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant programs must be submitted through SmartyGrants, using the relevant online application form. Hardcopy or offline applications will not be considered.  

You can preview the form before starting an application. Once started, please save your form regularly. You can save and edit the application, however, no changes are possible after you have submitted.

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.

If you have difficulty with SmartyGrants, please contact us at

Do I have to use National Library collection material?

Yes. The Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants are provided to enable you to have the time to undertake deep research into the Library’s collections.

Your application should demonstrate knowledge of the National Library’s collections that are relevant to your project. Before you begin your application, research the Library's collections to identify the primary collections and supplementary collections that you will access at the Library. This can be done using the Library catalogue. The Library’s Ask a Librarian service may also provide some guidance to finding material on the catalogue if required. While your list is unlikely to be definitive at this point in the project, applicants who do not show how the Library’s collections will support their proposed research will not be successful.

Your application should focus on how the Library's unique collections, accessible only on-site, can contribute to your project outcomes.  Applications listing collection items that are published works and held by multiple libraries across the country, or collection items that are digitised and readily available online, are not likely to be successful. 

Applicants should also demonstrate awareness of any access or rights issues that may apply to the selected special collection items.  Information about access conditions can be found in the catalogue record, and the Ask a Librarian service can be used if further assistance is required.  

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocol

The National Library’s Australian Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocol was released in 2023. It demonstrates the Library’s commitment to deepening engagement with Australian First Nations people, to develop inclusive collections, services and relationships, and ensure First Nations perspectives are reflected throughout.  Successful applicants will be expected to follow the Library’s ICIP Protocol and advice will be provided as part of the Fellows/Scholars Library induction.

Applicants should demonstrate awareness of any access or rights issues that may apply to the selected collection items, including Indigenous cultural and intellectual property and protocols.  Information about access conditions can be found in the catalogue record, and the Ask a Librarian service can be used if further assistance is required. 

Applicants planning to use collection material by or about Australian First Nations people should be familiar with the Library's ICIP Protocol. The AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research may also be useful.  If relevant to your project, a letter of support providing evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities and Elders would strengthen your application.

In your application, you should demonstrate awareness of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property and protocols.  Information about access conditions can be found in the catalogue record, and the Ask a Librarian service can be used if further assistance is required. 

What type of applications have been successful in the past?

Be inspired by the projects of our former Fellows and Scholars.  Details of successful applicants from previous years, including links to public presentations and blog posts, are available online at: 

What supporting material do I need to provide?  

Each of the Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant programs have slightly different requirements for support material. Only provide the support material requested in the application form, and which is relevant to your project.

If the project is in an early development or conceptual stage, examples of previous work that shows your ability to achieve your outcomes can be used. 

The application form limits individual file attachments to 25MB. Label attachments clearly, for example, ‘CV’ not ‘Document 1’. 

Upload audio and/or video files to a file streaming site such as Vimeo or YouTube. Do not use Dropbox.

If you have a website or material online, provide the link to the material you want viewed. The relevant page/s must remain static until the assessment process is complete.

Support material must be accessible to the assessors. We recommend you prepare and attach it in advance of the closing date.

Your application will also need to include:

  • a short, biographical statement.
  • a CV (maximum two A4 pages).
  • proposed start and end dates for your research at the National Library. Residencies may be scheduled between 13 January 2025 and 12 December 2025. Dates are indicative only and will be negotiated and confirmed with successful applicants. 
  • a project proposal and expected outcomes.
  • a list of the collection materials you wish to access, provided in the format requested.
  • contact details of referees preferably those that can speak to your area of research or creative practice and put the proposed project into context. Applicants are responsible for providing a copy of their application to their referees.  These can be downloaded or printed from SmartyGrants. Referees will be contacted by the Library after applications have been shortlisted.  

Managing intellectual property rights

The copyright and access 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. This also includes cultural clearances that might be required for collection material by or about Indigenous Australians. Ask a Librarian can help get you started with this.

You must clear copyright of collection materials used if applicable, and acknowledge and cite source materials appropriately.

If planning to re-purpose in-copyright collection items within a new artwork, you must show evidence of the copyright owner’s consent, or that it is covered by a copyright exemption supported by advice from a recognised organisation (such as the National Association for the Visual Arts or the Arts Law Centre).

All intellectual property rights (including Indigenous cultural intellectual property and copyright) in any work you during a residency will vest in you on its creation. 

At the start of a residency, successful applicants will meet with the Library’s Rights Management team who can provide advice on many of these matters. 

How are applications assessed?

National Library staff read and shortlist applications against the eligibility criterion. An independent assessment committee for each program is provided with the shortlisted applications as well as a complete list of all applications. Committee members can call into consideration applications that are not on the shortlist. Honorary Fellows are selected equally on merit. 

Applications to the NLA Fellowships and NLA Scholarships programs are assessed by members of the Library’s Fellowships Advisory Committee (FAC).  The FAC is comprised of the Library’s Director-General (or her delegate) and a representative from each of the following bodies:

  • Academy of the Humanities.
  • Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
  • Asian Studies Association of Australia.
  • Australian Academy of Science.
  • Australian Society of Authors.
  • Independent Scholars Association of Australia.
  • National Library of Australia Council.
  • National Library of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research and Education Reference Group.

Applications for the Creative Arts Fellowships, National Folk Fellowship and Asia Study Grants are assessed by separate sub-committees, each chaired by a member of the FAC, and comprised of representatives from relevant academic or cultural organisations as well as a senior Library staff member. 

Priority will be given to applicants with a demonstrated need to access the Library's unique, rare or comprehensive collections and who do not have such collections in their own region or institution.

When will successful applications be announced?

Applicants to the NLA Fellowships, Creative Arts Fellowships and National Folk Fellowship will be advised of the outcome of their application by early October 2024.  NLA Scholarship and Asia Study Grant applicants will be advised by mid November 2024.

Successful applicants receive a Letter of Offer and have their names published on the National Library’s website. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email and can seek feedback by contacting

Protecting your 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, Scholarship or Grant, 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).
  • 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.

Managing confidential Information

The Library 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.
  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.
  • 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.
  • someone other than us has made the confidential information public.