The Academy launched The John Mulvaney Fellowship in 2019. This award honours the outstanding contribution to Humanities scholarship, the Academy and the cultural life of the nation of one of our longest serving Fellows and former Academy Secretary John Mulvaney AO CMG FBA FSA FRAI FAHA.

Fondly known as the “father of Australian Archaeology”, John Mulvaney was an acknowledged world-leader in the field of hunter-gatherer archaeology and a passionate defender of Australia’s heritage and the rights of its Indigenous peoples. He not only introduced Australian prehistory into the tertiary teaching curriculum, but also fundamentally changed the way archaeological fieldwork was practised in Australia.

In keeping with Professor Mulvaney’s deep commitment to Indigenous people and cultures, The John Mulvaney Fellowship is an award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early career researchers and PhD students working in any area of the humanities. The recipient of the John Mulvaney Fellowship will receive $4000 towards undertaking research or fieldwork in Australia or overseas, including accessing archives and other research materials and connecting with researchers and networks.

This Fellowship will be tied to the literal return of our ancestors’ skeletal remains, along with strong community-based consultations. I’m sure that the late Professor Mulvaney as a historian and conservationist would support such a project to detail the history of our repatriation narrative but also for our cultural heritage and spiritual restoration.Harry van Issum, inaugural recipient


Recognising the considerable disruptions to work and personal life caused by COVID-19 we have extended the deadline for our 2020  grants and awards to 5.00pm AEST Friday 5 June.

Please review the rules of the award prior to submitting your application via our online system.


  1. Applicants must be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
  2. The Fellowship is open to early career researchers (ECRs) and PhD students currently enrolled in an Australian institution.
  3. Applicants must be Citizens or Permanent Residents of the Commonwealth of Australia, whose principal place of residence is Australia.
  4. Applicants must be working in the Humanities, defined as those discipline areas by which the Academy is structured – Archaeology; Asian Studies; Classical Studies; English; European Languages and Cultures; History; Linguistics; Philosophy and the History of Ideas; Religion; Cultural and Communication Studies; and The Arts. Applicants working on projects in Indigenous Studies; Digital Humanities; and Environmental Humanities will also be eligible to apply.
  5. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged, provided that it includes a substantial proportion of work in the Humanities.
  6. Applications will be accepted from independent scholars holding a PhD as well as those working in institutional settings.
  7. Early Career Researcher applicants must be in the early stages of their careers, which will be determined, inter alia, by how recently a PhD was conferred. In normal circumstances it should have been conferred no more than five years prior to the closing date for applications.
  8. Recipients of a Humanities Travelling Fellowship offered by this Academy are ineligible.
  9. Applicants must submit a complete application in order to be assessed for eligibility.
  10. The decision of the Awards Committee upon the eligibility of an application is final.

Selection criteria

  • Rigour and significance of the research.
  • Likely impact within a specialist field.
  • Potential to engage and/or benefit the wider community.
  • Relevance of the project to their career development and be able to show evidence of this through either traditional or non-traditional research outputs.

    Further information

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