ACSPRI Fellowship Program

PhD candidates at ACSPRI Member Institutions are invited to apply for the 2025-26 ACSPRI Fellowship Program.

Valued at $25,000, the fellowship will help PhD students to achieve their career goals, by providing direct financial support and professional development opportunities.

Fellowship holders will receive an annual bursary for two years and financial support to participate in ACSPRI courses and events.

The deadline for the Scholarship is September 30



Applicants to the ACSPRI Fellowship Program must be enrolled in a PhD program of an ACSPRI member institution, (in either Australia or New Zealand), and must be confirmed candidates, (or near completing the requirements of confirmation). Applicants from the full spectrum of social science disciplines and cogent fields are welcome to apply. This includes the traditional social sciences (e.g., anthropology, economics, demography, psychology, political science, sociology, etc.), the emerging field of computational social sciences/social data science, and applied disciplines aligned with the social sciences (e.g., business, education, public health, social work, etc.).


Value of the Fellowship:

  • $10,000 bursary payment per year for each of 2 years ($20,000 in total);
  • a fee waiver for the attendance at an ACSPRI course in each year of the Fellowship (2 courses in total);
  • financial support to attend the ACSPRI Biennial Conference.

Total Value approx. $25,000.


Scholarship application requirements:

  1. Have not previously received the named scholarship
  2. Current full-time or part-time student at an ACSPRI member institution
  3. Applicants must supply:
    1. A current curriculum vitae
    2. A letter of recommendation from your supervisor
    3. A maximum 2 page document outlining how participation in the fellowship will contribute and improve the quality of your social science research, addressing all elements of the selection criteria below. Letters exceeding 2 pages will not be assessed. The letter must address all criteria and will be the primary focus of assessment.
    4. A maximum 5 minute video presentation articulating your research question (s) and the method(s) you propose to address this. Videos exceeding 5 minutes will not be assessed. The video may be used as part of the assessment for the criteria of presentation and communication only.


The ACSPRI Executive Committee will judge the application and the ACSPRI Fellowship will be awarded to the successful candidate.

Successful candidates will be asked to give a short presentation about their research question at the Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference. ACSPRI will arrange for the candidates to attend as part of their award. The successful videos will be played at the Conference and published on the main ACSPRI and Conference websites.


Apply for the ACSPRI Fellowship Program here (applications open in April 2024 for the 2025/2026 Fellowship)




Selection Criteria:

The following five criteria will be used in the selection of ACSPRI Fellowship holders.


1.    Ability to motivate research (importance/significance)
2.    Potential for academic impact
3.    Potential for policy impact
4.    Innovation in method
5.    Presentation ability/communication



Each of these criteria are briefly defined and developed below.


1. The ability to motivate their research refers to the capacity or power to inspire and encourage scientific or scholarly investigation in a particular field or topic.  It suggests the potential to generate enthusiasm, curiosity, and interest among researchers or scientists, spurring them to explore new ideas, conduct experiments, gather data, and seek solutions to unanswered questions or problems.  A candidate can possess this ability by presenting compelling or significant challenges, offering a credible pathway through to addressing them, demonstrating the potential benefits or implications of their research, and promoting a sense of purpose and excitement in pursuing their program of study.


2. Potential for academic impact refers to the likelihood or capacity of a particular piece of research or program of study to make a significant contribution or influence within the academic community. It suggests generating important and valuable outcomes that can advance knowledge, theories, or practical applications within a specific field.  Reviewers should consider various factors in assessing academic impact.  These may include the novelty or originality of the research, the depth, and rigor of the investigation, the potential to address gaps or challenges in existing knowledge, the potential to generate new insights or perspectives, the applicability or relevance to real-world issues or problems, and the potential to influence or shape future research, policies, or practices in the field.


3. The potential for policy impact relates to the capacity or likelihood of a study or research program to influence or shape public policies, decision-making processes, and governmental actions.  It suggests generating findings, insights, or recommendations to inform and guide policy development, implementation, or evaluation.  When assessing the potential for policy impact, several factors come into play.  These may include the relevance or significance of the research findings to policy issues or challenges, the credibility and robustness of the evidence or data presented, the alignment with policy goals or priorities, the feasibility and practicality of the proposed policy recommendations, and the accessibility or communicability of the research to policymakers or stakeholders.  Further, the impact on policy can manifest in various ways.  It can involve influencing the formulation of new policies, shaping amendments to existing policies, contributing to the design or implementation of specific programs or interventions, informing policy debates or discussions, providing evidence-based guidance to decision-makers, or raising awareness of important policy issues among the public or relevant stakeholders.


4. Innovation in method captures the development, introduction, and application of new and improved approaches, techniques, and methods (“methodologies”) in research or problem-solving. It indicates a departure from traditional methods and signifies the introduction of novel, creative, or more effective ways of conducting investigations or achieving desired outcomes.  Innovation in methods involves exploring alternative ways of gathering data, analysing information, conducting experiments, or approaching research questions. Innovation in methods can lead to advancements in knowledge, facilitate breakthrough discoveries, improve the reproducibility of research results, expand research capabilities, and open-up new avenues for investigation. It often requires creativity, critical thinking, and a willingness to challenge established practices or paradigms to push the boundaries of knowledge and achieve better research outcomes.  The innovation could include the following:
•    The adoption of new technologies.
•    The integration of interdisciplinary approaches.
•    The modification or adaptation of existing methods.


5. Presentation ability and communication refers to the skills and aptitude for effectively conveying information, ideas, or findings to an audience.  It encompasses the capability to deliver presentations and written word in a clear, organised, engaging, and persuasive manner.  Presentation ability involves various aspects, including:
•    Clarity
•    Organisation
•    Engagement
•    Persuasiveness
•    Adaptability
Practical presentation and communication skills are essential in academic contexts.  They enable researchers to share their work, collaborate with others, disseminate knowledge, engage with stakeholders, and make a lasting impact in their expertise.


ACSPRI Fellow 2024/2025 - Laura Butler (University of Wollongong)

Laura Butler, PhD Candidate at the University of Wollongong was selected from over 160 applicants as the ACSPRI Fellowship Recipient for 2024/2025. Laura’s research aims to understand the relationship between peri-urban horticulture and weeds in the Northern Territory, and the insights this relationship may offer for how people and invasive plants can more effectively co-exist in the anthropocene.

Laura's application video is available to view below:



Highly commended runners up - Fellowship 2024/2025

The Executive Committee of ACSPRI wishes to highly commend the following two runner up applicants:

Ashleigh Shipton (PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne / Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Topic: To provide robust, Australian evidence to examine the yet unknown potential benefits and harms on pregnancy, birth, and infancy in Victoria, translating findings into predictions of current and long-term needs of the ‘COVID-19 generation’. 

Kane Koh (PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne)

Topic: Strategies to moderate toxic behaviours online.