Typically the APSF provides project grants up to A$15,000 per year for up to three years. Grants are awarded to institutions within Australia or other countries of the South West Pacific region for activities within those countries or within the region.

Applications from students as project leaders are not accepted.

Grants are made in annual instalments, and payments are dependent upon the receipt of satisfactory annual reports and financial statements. An additional progress report is required six months after the start of the project. Salaries of technicians and research assistants may be supported, but grants do not cover the salaries of scientific research staff or stipends of students. Administrative overheads are not funded.

Application forms may be obtained from the Executive Secretary of the Research Committee, or downloaded here (Adobe Acrobat document). This form was modified in 2016. Please do not use the old version of the Microsoft Word form, or earlier versions of the Adobe form. To avoid any problems in completing and saving your application, please ensure you use the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (v. XI) or the 2015 version of Acrobat Reader DC. These may be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Project leaders may submit only one application to each round.

The next round of applications will close at 5.00pm on Friday March 9, 2018 for new grants beginning in July 2018.

Selection Criteria

When assessing applications, the Research Committee considers the following criteria:


Conformity with the Foundation's guidelines as presented on this web site (see above), including that the project will be undertaken within Australia or other countries of the South West Pacific region under the umbrella of a university or other appropriate institution within those countries; that funding will be limited to no more than three years and A$15,000 annually, and that salaries for research scientists and stipends for students are available from other sources.

The project forms an identifiable element of work that would not be undertaken without the support of the Foundation. If the project is a sub-project of a larger investigation it must be sufficiently discrete for the outputs and outcomes to be independently evaluated. (Projects that may be seminal to subsequent larger grants from other sources are attractive to the Foundation.)

The project is in the biological or biophysical sciences or has application in those areas, as exemplified in projects described on this web site, and is not medical research.

The components of the project budget for which funds are sought from the Foundation must be justified — both travel and equipment for which funding is sought must be essential for this project.

The Foundation does not fund costs associated with attendance at conferences, either domestic or international. Publlication costs levied by scientific journals are not supported by the Foundation.


Competition for new grants remains high. This is reflected in the continually improving quality of applications and in the number of applications received. The following table details total applications, grants awarded and the success rate over the past 5 years:

2013 65 8 12
2014 54 9 17
2015 75 6 8
2016 56 6 11
2017 57 9 16

The efforts made by applicants are greatly appreciated and the Foundation is acutely aware of the time taken in the preparation of applications. Therefore, in order to minimize time lost in preparing applications that are not likely to be successful in an extremely competitive research environment prospective applicants are reminded of the criteria to which the Research Committee gives priority:

  • The scientific merit of the application and its likelihood of cost-effective delivery against the stated objectives and outcomes remain paramount. Scientific merit is judged by peer review of the quality of the background information, the logic of the proposal and the experimental design. Applications may be improved in these respects if they have been critiqued by professional colleagues prior to submission.
  • The likelihood of a successful outcome is assessed against the relevance of the application, the quality of science on which it is based and the qualifications and track-record of the principal investigator(s). In assessing track-record the Research Committee gives full recognition to applicants who may be comparatively new to research but who have relatively impressive performances in publishing in quality journals and/or who have demonstrably superior applied outputs and outcomes for the time they have been researchers.
  • The need to encourage capacity building is also acknowledged. For the APSF capacity building in developing countries within the Pacific region is a particular priority which may necessitate greater weight being given to the input of students.

When formulating its recommendations for the Trustees, the Research Committee particularly favours activities that seem likely to lead to improved systems of managing land, water, plants and animals in ways which will enhance the productivity and quality of food, fisheries, plants and forests, while simultaneously conserving the natural environment, preserving biodiversity, avoiding pollution of soils and water, and enhancing human welfare.


The effects of salinity on freshwater sharks in the Kimberley region of WA is being studied in the APSF-funded research. Click here to read more.