Frequently asked questions about Fellowships

1. What questions will be on the application form?

  • Personal details of the applicant (name, contact details, etc)
  • Title of the project (up to 30 words)
  • Key words (up to 5 words)
  • Project abstract (up to 200 words)
  • Detailed description of the project (up to 1000 words)
  • Does your proposal explore Australian Indigenous culture and/or history? (up to 500 words)
  • Proposed project timeline (up to 500 words)
  • Relevant research collections being utilised for the project (up to 1000 words)
  • Research outcomes and results (up to 1000 words)
  • Examples of your writing and research which demonstrates your previous use of library and archival collections (up to 1000 words)
  • Has this project been commenced?
  • Have you applied to any other funding body?
  • Referees (3)
  • How did you hear about the Fellowship?
  • Biographical note

Applications for the Ross Steele AM Fellowship are made by submitting a one page expression of interest, a curriculum vitae and details for three referees. 

2. What is meant by a project timeline?

A project timeline provides an indication of activity across the one or two year tenure of the Fellowship. A timeline will outline the research, writing and delivery phases of the project. If part of the project is to deliver a presentation or submit a publication these points of activity would also appear on the timeline.

3. Will I need to provide details of referees?

Yes. Applicants will need to provide details of three professional referees. 

4. Who should I ask to be a referee?

Nominated referees should be knowledgeable about the applicant’s research ability and publication record. The referee must be able to talk about the applicant’s research skills. 

5. Can I save my application form? 

Yes, you will be able to save your application form. It is recommended that you draft and edit your application in word processing software, then copy and paste your reponses into the online form.

6. Can I submit more than one application for a single Fellowship?

No. Applicants can only submit one application for a Fellowship each year but may submit applications for multiple Fellowships in a year. For example, you may not submit two applications for the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship (see also question 7).

7. Can I submit applications for multiple Fellowships?

Yes. Applicants will often submit applications for multiple Fellowships. For example, applicants will often submit applications for both the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship and the Merewether Fellowship. Similarly, applicants will often submit applications for both the CH Currey Memorial Fellowship and the Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship.

8. Can I put in a late application?

Late applications can be accepted in exceptional circumstances. Contact the Mitchell Librarian prior to the closing date, via email at scholarship@sl.nsw.gov.au

9. Do I need to be an Australian citizen or Australian resident?

No. Applicants do not need to be an Australian citizen or Australian resident. Applicants are, however, expected to engage with the collections at the State Library of NSW (note the exceptions of the Coral Thomas Fellowship, the Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship and the Australian Religious History Fellowship which can draw on any collection at any repository).

10.  Can a team of researchers apply for a Fellowship?

No. These Fellowships are for research projects undertaken by a single researcher.

11. I am currently enrolled in a course at a tertiary institution, am I still able to apply?

Yes. Applicants should note that the Fellowships are aimed at experienced researchers and, as they are Fellowships and not scholarships, they are not designed to facilitate the completion of a course. Completing a tertiary course will not exclude an applicant from consideration but the applicant will need to present as an experienced researcher.

12. I am not currently employed as a researcher, am I still able to apply?

Yes. Many recipients of Fellowships at the State Library of NSW have been early career researchers, independent scholars or retired academics.

13. I have already received funding for my project, am I still able to apply?

Yes. Applicants will need to indicate the source and value of other funding received for their project. Preference may be given to researchers without any other source of financial support.

14. If I receive Fellowship payments directly, do I have to pay tax ?

The library recommends that Fellows seek financial advice that takes into account their personal circumstances. 

15. If my employer (for example, my university) receives my Fellowship payments, are they able to collect an administration fee?

The Library prefers that the full payment is made available to support research project costs directly. The library provides some administrative support to Fellows (for example, with invoicing and in liaising with the library's specialist staff). We also support some of the on-costs of research by providing access to a work space for Fellows including printing facilities. 

16. How long do I have to complete the Fellowship?

Coral Thomas Fellows have the year of their appointment and the following two calendar years to complete their project.
All other Fellows have the year of their appointment and the following calendar year to complete their project.

17. When do I start my Fellowship?

Traditionally, Fellows undertake their research in the calendar year following their application. Fellows who apply and are appointed in 2015 are 2016 fellows.

18. Can I start my fellowship early?

Some Fellows will start their research shortly after they are advised that their application has been successful. The bulk of a Fellowship project will still be undertaken in the calendar year following their application and appointment (Coral Thomas Fellows have two years to complete).

19. Can I extend my fellowship?

It is expected that Fellows will complete their project in the calendar year following their application and appointment (Coral Thomas Fellows have two years to complete). In some circumstances, extensions can be granted by the Mitchell Librarian. This will depend upon a number of factors including the availability of the Fellows Room. A completion date must be agreed on as part of the granting of an extension.

20. What am I expected to deliver as a Fellow?

  • Fellows are expected to actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Fellows are expected to make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the Fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to engage with Library staff so that staff will be able to benefit from their research.
  • Any publications, outcomes or media coverage that result from the Fellowship must prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the Fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Fellows are expected to submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography or list of resources which will be published on the Library's website. 
  • Fellows will be required to acquit their Fellowship in a timely manner.

21. How much are Fellowships worth?

  • Coral Thomas Fellowship: $100,000
  • Ross Steele AM Fellowship: $12,000
  • Dr A. M. Hertzberg AO Fellowship: $20,000
  • David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship: $12,000
  • Merewether Scholarship: $12,000
  • CH Currey Fellowship: $20,000
  • Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship: $20,000
  • Australian Religious History Fellowship: $20,000
  • Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship: $1000

22. What am I able to spend Fellowship funds on?

Fellows are able to spend Fellowship funds on living expenses, travel expenses, to buy out teaching load or any other reasonable expense to facilitate the completion of the Fellowship. Fellows are required to acquit their Fellowship in a timely manner. Note that Fellows are paid in two installments, half on commencement and half at the mid-way point of the Fellowship. 

23. Can I apply for a Fellowship if my project provides a direct output for another organisation (for example, an exhibition at another institution)?
No. Fellowship outputs must support the State Library of NSW. All presentations and publications, as well as other output types, must acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW.

24. What, in addition to funding, is provided to support Fellows?

Fellows are given exclusive use of the Fellows Room at the State Library of NSW and behind-the-scenes access to Library staff. Fellows will also become part of the Fellows Alumni and invited to attend various events held at the State Library of New South Wales. 

25. What topics are most likely to be successful?

Applicants are encouraged to visit the State Library of NSW website and review the topics undertaken by previous Fellows at the Library. 

26. What outputs are most likely to be successful?

A range of outputs will be considered but applicants need to note that the Fellowships do not support projects that will only produce creative content. 

27. What outputs are most likely to be successful?

A range of outputs will be considered but applicants need to note that the Fellowships do not support projects that will only produce creative content. 

28. Who are the judges?

The judges are all experienced scholars. The Mitchell Librarian serves on all judging panels.

29. Can I apply for a Fellowship if I have already been awarded a Fellowship opportunity at the State Library of NSW?

Yes. Previous recipients of Fellowships at the State Library of NSW can apply. Proposals cannot be extensions of work already undertaken as a State Library of NSW Fellow, the proposal must seek to answer a new question. The Judges reserve the right to privilege applicants who have not been a previous recipient of a State Library of NSW Fellowship.

30. How do I apply for a State Library of NSW Fellowship?

Applications for all Fellowships are to be submitted online via the web form, except applications for the Ross Steele AM Fellowship which are to be made by submitting a one page expression of interest, a curriculum vitae and details for three referees. Please note, there are five application forms:

  • Applications for the Coral Thomas Fellowship
  • Applications for the Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship
  • Applications for the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship and/or the Merewether Fellowship
  • Applications for the CH Currey Memorial Fellowship and/or the Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship
  • Applications for the Australian Religious History Fellowship

You may apply for all Fellowships offered by the State Library of NSW as long as your application(s) meets the relevant criteria. If you require any reasonable adjustments please contact us via email at scholarship@sl.nsw.gov.au