Australia Awards Fellowships—Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for an Australia Awards Fellowship?

Australian organisations from all sectors are eligible to apply for an Australia Awards Fellowship. Organisations must be legal entities with an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be able to demonstrate links with overseas counterpart organisations in eligible countries.  Examples include:

  • Australian Government departments - Federal, State/Territory and local government agencies, statutory authorities, and government business enterprises.
  • Australian organisations, institutions and businesses - 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.  The Australia Awards Fellowship grant is only available to Australian organisations and individuals cannot apply. Individuals from eligible developing countries may, however, initiate contact with an Australian organisation to explore their interest in applying for a Fellowship grant.

Can overseas organisations apply for Fellowships grants?

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

What is new in the Fellowships Round 17?

A number of changes have been made to the Australia Awards Fellowships program for Round 17 aimed at further supporting and strengthening effective partnerships between Australian organisations and overseas counterparts. 

  • General
    • The maximum cost per Fellow is now $30,000 (inclusive of cost of partner-country activities and overhead fees).
    • Australian organisations can now apply for multiyear Fellowships to run repeatedly over 3 years.
    • Australian organisations establishing new links with an overseas counterpart are eligible to apply for a Fellowship provided they can demonstrate a strong understanding of the country and context in which they propose to work.
    • Australian organisations will be required to submit a list of nominated Fellows, reserve Fellows and detailed activity table only if their application progresses to the second stage in the selection process.
    • The list of eligible countries has been updated.
    • Australian organisations are required to align their application with the Country Priority and Development Issues Matrix (Attachment 1 of the R17 Guidelines). Applications that are not aligned to the matrix will be deemed non-compliant.
    • Australian organisations can submit up to a maximum of 15 Fellowship applications. Only the first 15 compliant applications received (by date and time) will be assessed. Large organisations, as an entity, will ensure that no more than 15 applications are submitted.
  • Eligible Costs
    • Australian organisations can now claim funding for a variety of modes of delivery that are available either in Australia, on Australian offshore campuses or locations, in overseas counterpart institutions and through distance or online learning.
  • Selection
    • The selection criteria has been redesigned and will now appear in the application form for applicants to complete.

What is the earliest date that Round 17 Fellowship activities can commence?

1 September 2017.

What is the latest date that Round 17 Fellowships activities can commence?

30 June 2018.

How many Fellows can participate in an individual Fellowship?

A maximum of 15 Fellows can participate in a single Fellowship.

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.

What is multiyear funding?

Multiyear funding has been introduced to provide organisations with the opportunity to run a fellowship program for three consecutive years.
The following conditions exist for a multiyear program.

  • Objectives must remain the same for each of the three years
  • A different cohort of Fellows for each year. (ie no repeaters)
  • Funding for the second and subsequent years is subject to
    • demonstrating positive results against stated objectives and. 
    • meeting the reporting requirements. (These include Activity Completion Report (ACR) and fellows survey.)
  • Each fellowship must be at least 10 working days and must be completed within 12 months. This includes the return of the ACR and the Fellows survey.
  • A minimum of 70 per cent of activities must be in Australia face-to-face.
  • A Fellowship (in a multiyear Fellowship) Organisations opting for multiyear funding must justify the case for multiyear funding as opposed to single year funding.

The objectives and outcomes in a multiyear fellowship in Year 2 and Year 3 must remain the same. However, the counterpart organisation and the partner country/ies may change in the subsequent years.  AHO's must ensure that the country priority and development issues align in years 2 and 3.

Australian Host Organisations will need to provide details about budget breakdown, counterpart organisations including a letter of support and Fellows for Year 2 and Year 3 after successfully completing the previous year's program. AHO's will provide this additional information using a Supplementary Information Form for Year 2 and Year 3 after the completion of the previous year's activities.

What is mix mode delivery?

It means that part of the Fellowship activities can be undertaken in partner country(ies). However, the bulk (minimum 70% of the Fellowship activity days) of the program must be conducted in Australia. Partner country delivery may include activities in Australian offshore campuses or locations, in overseas counterpart institutions and through distance or online learning mechanisms.

What is the maximum intake of participants or Fellows per application?

The maximum number of Fellows per application is 15. The applicant is encouraged to nominate an adequate number of Reserve Fellows in an application, in case the Nominated Fellows are not able to participate in the Fellowship.

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

Queries regarding the program can be emailed to: fellowships@dfat.gov.au.

Australia Awards Fellowships grants program staff provide advice on strategic direction of the program, oversee the day-to-day management and administration, and provide information about the grant application process.

Where can I find country specific aid investment plans?

Information regarding country specific aid investment plans can be found at the following link:

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

The Round 17 Guidelines also provide links to relevant documents. If you need more information about country-specific or thematic aid program priorities you should contact the relevant section of DFAT via the switchboard +61 2 6261 1111.

How and where do I submit my application?

Fellowship applications must be submitted online via SmartyGrants.

Applications must be received before the closing date of each round.

Due to the large volume of users on the system on the closing date, Australian organisations are encouraged to commence and submit their application as early as possible. This will ensure that you will not be faced with any last minute technical glitches.

What happens if my application is late?

SmartyGrants will not allow you to work on your application or submit 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 service@smartygrants.com.au or call (03) 9320 6888 (9am -5pm 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 completion of the selection process. DFAT will publish the names of successful Australian organisations and the number of participating Fellows by country for Round 17 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.

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 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, in case where a Fellow has been nominated in multiple successful applications, the Australian Host Organisations should provide the Fellowships Secretariat the name of the Fellow and the relevant Fellowships application ID.  In such cases, 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.

What does the Fellowship funding cover?

Australian organisations can request funding of up to AUD 30,000 per fellow (inclusive of overhead fees and partner country activities), to fund costs associated with Fellows’ participation in the Fellowship activities. See the Australia Awards Fellowships Round 17 Guidelines for further details on eligible costs and activities.

Which countries will be eligible for participating Fellows in Round 17?

List of eligible countries in the Round 17 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 we nominate a Regional Organisation with multiple country membership as our Overseas Counterpart, are we only required to obtain one letter from the regional organisation or does the application require letters from each government?

You will need to provide a letter from each government department e.g if the regional organisation has 10 countries as members then we require 10 letters, one from each member country.

If the Fellows are undertaking some online learning before they arrive in Australia, where should I reflect the cost of this training in the budget?

This will come under (B) Course Costs in your budget.

When can online training (i.e. part of the Fellowship activities) be delivered in the partner country?

Online training can be delivered in the partner country before or after the Australian component of the Fellowship.

If in-Australia activities includes a standardised course delivered by an external provider/consultant that has a registration fee, can this be claimed?

 DFAT will not fund the cost of registration. This would need to be a co-contribution.

How do I complete the ‘Fellowship Dates’ and ‘Fellowship Duration’ part of the form if we apply for multiyear? Do we need to give start/end dates in Australia and partner countries? Should these just be for year 1 or run through to the end of the 3rd year activities? 

When applying for a multiyear application we only require the dates for the first year. If successful as a multiyear application, you will be required to provide dates for the years 2 and 3 at a later stage (i.e. after the ACR has been provided for the previous year). Please note for multiyear applications the fellowship has to be completed within 12 months.

How do we complete Section 4 in the application form where we have multiple Overseas Counterpart Organisations in the same country?

You will need to enter all counterparts, one per line. Click the add more button to add additional counterpart. You must supply a Letter of Support from each counterpart at this time.

If planning a multiyear Fellowship, how many Fellows are allowed over the three years, and do they need to be made up of the same gender mix each year?

You can have a maximum of 15 Fellows per year and you can have a different gender mix between each year. 

If we have follow up activities planned in a partner country do the Fellows need to complete two surveys?  

Yes, fellows will need to do two survey, one at the end of the Australian component and one at the end of the in country component. They will need to complete the survey in SmartyGrants in the same way as they did in Australia. However, the questions we ask are different.

Can I claim for course costs delivery in-country?

Course costs delivery by the AHO are set at a maximum of $150/hr or proportionate to in-country employment rates for locally engaged staff. Local rates will be paid for any costs associated with activities delivered in country.

Are per-diems covered for in-country programs?

Per diems are not covered in-country. This should be a co-contribution from the AHO or paid for by the counterpart organisation in-country.

Can I claim for a translator in-country?

Translation costs for in-country activities cannot be claimed.

Can I claim for local transport in-country?

Transport costs in-country can be claimed.

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 Fellows may be approved through email exchange 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 new visa title for DFAT sponsored awardees is Student Visa (subclass 500) – Foreign Affairs sponsored sector.

DFAT suggests Australian Host Organisations check the DIBP website for updates on visa matters.

Can DFAT staff assist in arranging visas?

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

Will DFAT provide a letter of support for a dependent 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 Fellowship activities in their home countries will be required to complete Part 1 of the survey in Australia and Part 2 at the end of their home country activities.

When are the unspent Fellowship funds required to be returned?

As part of the Grant Agreement, 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. Completion of this survey is a mandatory requirement of your Grant Agreement. The survey is confidential and individual responses will not be made available to the host organisation or to their employer.

The survey has two parts. Part 1 needs to be completed after completion of activities in Australia and before returning home. Fellows participating in Fellowship activities in their home country will be asked to complete the remainder (Part 2) on completion of the activities in their home country.

How can host organisations help Fellows complete their Survey?

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

Fellows should be advised that, where possible, they should provide their personal email to enable Australia Awards Alumni to stay in touch with them in the future.

Fellows can be directed to the following link: https://fellowships.smartygrants.com.au/R17fellowssurvey, which will bring up the survey page.

Where can I find more information on Australia Awards Fellowships?

If you need further clarification, you may contact Fellowships Secretariat via email: fellowships@dfat.gov.au

Last Updated: 22 March 2017