Australia Awards Fellowships—Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for an Australia Awards Fellowship?

Australian organisations with ongoing links to overseas counterpart organisations are eligible to apply for an Australia Awards Fellowship.  In Round 16, DFAT will also trial offering support to organisations establishing new links where they can demonstrate a strong understanding of the partner country context.

Organisations must be legal entities with an Australian Business Number.  Examples include:

  • Australian Government departments — Federal, State/Territory and local government agencies, statutory authorities, and Government Business Enterprises.
  • Australian organisations, institutions and businesses — e.g. research centres, higher education providers, vocational education and training providers, peak bodies, Australian chambers of commerce, community groups, non-government organisations, media, professional  associations and industry bodies.

Can individuals apply for a Fellowship?

No.  An individual person from an eligible country cannot apply for an Australia Awards Fellowship grant. Individuals from eligible developing countries may, however, initiate contact with an Australian organisation to explore the latter’s interest in applying for a Fellowship grant.

Individuals with no existing working relationship with an Australian organisation may wish to explore study opportunities available under the Australia Awards Scholarships program.

Can overseas organisations apply for Fellowships grants?

No.  Overseas organisations  are not eligible to apply directly. If an overseas organisation is working with an Australian counterpart organisation, they may, however, initiate contact with the Australian organisation to explore its interest in applying for a Fellowship grant.

I want to talk to someone about the program, who should I contact?

The role of Australia Awards Fellowships grants program staff includes:

  • guiding the strategic direction of the program and overseeing the day to day management and administration of the program;
  • providing information to potential applicants about the grant application process and overall goals of the program;
  • providing information and advice to the assessment committee to assist in its assessment of grant applications; and
  • administering and monitoring the program to enable a flexible, fair and efficient assessment process in the interest of both the decision-makers and applicants.

Queries regarding the program can be emailed to

Information about Australia’s aid program and country specific aid investment plans.

The Round 16 Guidelines also provide links to relevant documents. If you still require further information, queries regarding country-specific or thematic aid program priorities should be directed to the relevant section of DFAT through the DFAT switchboard +61 2 6261 1111.

When does the Australia Awards Fellowships round open?

Applications for Round 16 of the Australia Awards Fellowships will open on 1 February 2016. Applications will close on 10 March 2016 at 16:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

How do I submit my application?

Fellowship applications must be submitted online via Smartygrants, accessible only from 1 February 2015.

When should I submit my application?

Applications must be received before the closing date of each round.  For Round 16, this is 4.00pm (AEST) 10 March 2015.

Australian organisations are encouraged to commence and submit their application as early as possible due to the large volume of users on the system on the closing date.

Submitting early ensures that you will not have any last minute technical problems due to the large number of applications being submitted.

What happens if my application is late?

SmartyGrants will not allow you to work on your application after the closing date and time. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.

I’m having problems with the SmartyGrants Online System. What should I do?

For all technical issues regarding SmartGrants please email or call (03) 9320 6888 (9.00am - 5.00pm AEST, Mon-Fri).

How do I keep a copy of my application?

You can preview and print a copy of your application from SmartyGrants at any time through the ‘My Submissions’ page. 

Can I make changes once an application is submitted?

Once submitted an application cannot be changed.

Will successful and unsuccessful applicants be notified of the outcome?

Yes, DFAT will email all successful and unsuccessful applicants regarding the outcome of their applications following the selection process. DFAT will publish the names of successful Australian organisations and the number of participating Fellows by country for the Round (not by organisation) on the DFAT website.

If my application has been unsuccessful, can I be provided with information as to why?

Due to the high volume of applications received, the Department does not provide individual feedback on why an application was unsuccessful.

What is the earliest date that Round 16 Fellowship activities can commence?

1 September 2016.

What is the latest date that Round 16 Fellowships activities can commence?

30 June 2017.

How long can the Fellowship activities run for?

Fellowships must be between 10 working days and 12 months duration. Travel time to and from Australia cannot be included in the calculation of the 10 days.

Can Fellows travel to Australia more than once to undertake the Fellowship?

No. Fellowship activities must be concluded within the one visit to Australia. DFAT does not currently fund multiple trips to Australia for the same Fellow to undertake activities at several times throughout the year.

Can Fellows be nominated for more than one Fellowship in a single Round?

A Fellow may be nominated for more than one Fellowship, however, if more than one application is successful, Australian Host Organisations may be asked to select the most relevant program for the Fellow’s participation.

Can a former Fellow (alumni) be nominated in a new Fellowship?

Yes, however we expect that a reasonable period of time has passed to enable the Fellow to implement his/her return to work plan and utilise the new skills/knowledge acquired during the Fellowship for the benefit of the counterpart organisation.  The Australian Host Organisation must also be able to clearly articulate what further benefit will be gained by the Fellow participating in a new Fellowship program.

How many Fellows can participate in an individual Fellowship?

In Round 16, a maximum of 15 Fellows can participate in a single Fellowship.

What does the Fellowship funding cover?

Australian organisations can request funding of up to AUD25,000 per fellow, to a maximum of 15 Fellows, to fund costs associated with Fellows’ participation in the Fellowship activities and some of the costs associated with delivering Fellowship activities in Australia. A further AUD10,000 for bilateral Fellowships and AUD20,000 for multilateral Fellowships can be requested to support eligible follow-up activities in the partner country. See the Australia Awards Fellowships Round 16 Guidelines for further details on eligible costs and activities.

Which countries will be eligible for participating Fellows in Round 16?

List of eligible countries in the Round 16 Guidelines

What can the program overhead fee be used for?

The program overhead fee is essentially a contingency fund to cover unexpected costs such as increases in international airfares and accommodation costs not anticipated at the time of developing the budget.  Other unanticipated situations may arise from time to time such as a Fellow developing a medical condition that requires a staff member from the Australian organisation or support person to accompany a Fellow home.

If one of the nominated Fellows is no longer able to participate in the Fellowship activities can he/she be replaced?

All Fellows, including reserves, must be nominated at the time of application. In the event that nominated Fellows are unable to participate in the Fellowship, the Australian Host Organisation may only draw from the reserve Fellows list in the application and must seek prior written approval from DFAT to replace nominated Fellows with reserve Fellows.

DFAT reserves the right to not approve replacement Fellows from the reserve list if the proposed composition of participating Fellows differs substantially from the nominated Fellows at the time of application. DFAT recommends the composition of the reserve list reflect the nominated Fellows in terms of counterpart organisations, gender and country to enable ‘like for like’ replacement, wherever practical.

Can I change the Fellowship program of activities and/or the duration of the Fellowship?

Changes to the activity start and end dates may be approved through an exchange of emails between DFAT and the Australian Host Organisation. All other changes to the Agreement will only be effective if agreed to in writing and signed by both parties in the form of a Deed of Amendment.

Which visa should Fellows apply for?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently reviewing the international student visa framework. Proposed changes to student visas include a reduction in the number of sub-classes and the introduction of a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students. The review recommendations are not expected to be implemented until mid-2016 and as such, Australian Host Organisations are advised to check the DIBP website regularly for updates.

Can DFAT staff assist in arranging visas?

No. DFAT staff (in any location) are not available to assist in arranging visas, customs clearances, travel/accommodation bookings or meetings and appointments.

Will DFAT provide a letter of support for a dependant visa for the Fellows family members?

No. DFAT does not provide letters of support for the granting of visas for applicants’ family members. DFAT will, however, provide a letter of support for a carer to accompany a Fellow with disability where required.

The Fellowship activities are complete, what next?

Australian Host Organisations must submit an Activity Completion Report (ACR) to DFAT as specified in the Grant Agreement Deed/RoU within 45 days of the activity end date.

The ACR requires the Australian Host Organisation and participating Fellows to report on the outcomes of the Fellowship. The ACR includes a financial acquittal pro forma which must be used for acquitting the grant funding.

The ACR must be submitted via Smartygrants:

Fellows are also required to complete a Fellows Completion Survey prior to their departure from Australia.  Host organisations must support Fellows to complete the survey by providing access to a computer with internet connection. Fellows participating in follow-up activities in their home countries will be required to complete part of the survey in Australia and part at the end of the home country activities.

When are the unspent Fellowship funds required to be returned?

As part of the Grant Agreement Deed, any unspent Fellowship grant funds, including interest accrued, must be returned to DFAT within 30 days of receiving notification from the Fellowship Secretariat of the amount to be returned.

Information on how to transfer the unspent funds to DFAT can be found in the GST note template on the Acquittal page in SmartyGrants.

What is Fellows Completion Survey?

Fellows are required to complete a survey providing feedback on their Fellowship before departing Australia.

The Australian Host Organisation must facilitate computer access and information to assist the Fellows to complete the survey.

Fellows participating in follow-up activities in their home country will be asked to complete some of the survey at the end of the Australian activities and the remainder (Part 2) on completion of the activities in their home country.

Where can I find more information on Australia Awards Fellowships?

Australia Awards


Last Updated: 20 October 2014