Grant guidelines 2017-18

The Australian National Commission for UNESCO assists projects which will further National Commission and UNESCO priorities and objectives as set out in UNESCO's approved Programme and Budget for 2014-17 (37 C/5) and Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-21 (37 C/4).

Applications for grants for up to $20,000 will be considered (note: the National Commission may decide to grant only part of the funding requested).  The Guidelines below provide further details.   Applicants are encouraged to read the Guidelines in full, and to only submit applications which comply.  Common errors include:

  • not clearly indicating which funding items the grant is for; and/or
  • unsigned or absent referee letters.

Applications for the Australian National Commission Grant Scheme 2017-18 close on Saturday 30 September 2017 at midnight (AEST)

This year applications will be accepted and processed online using the SmartyGrants website.

There is no requirement to provide hardcopies or email the application. If you experience any issues with the new process please contact the Secretariat for the National Commission for UNESCO at:


Publicising the grant scheme

  1. The opening of applications for the Australian National Commission for UNESCO grant scheme will be announced on the National Commission website and via the smartygrants and grantfinder websites.

Who can apply

  1. All members/sectors of the community are eligible to apply for grant funding.
    • Applicants, however, who were unsuccessful in applying for funding under the National Commission grant scheme 2016-17 (i.e. the latest grant scheme), need not resubmit applications for the same projects. Only applications for new projects will be considered.
  2. The National Commission and Networks can invite submission of particular projects.
  3. Subject to paragraph 5, grants will not normally be awarded to any particular applicant, or for a particular project, more than two consecutive years in a row.
  4. Projects or programs which are directly associated with UNESCO's major programs and priorities may be awarded ongoing support on an annual basis (i.e. subject to annual acquittals and assessment of annual applications), on the recommendation of the grants sub-committee.

How to apply

  1. Applications must be made online through the SmartyGrants website
  2. We expect that the outcomes of the 2017-18 grants process will be advised to applicants in mid-December 2017 with disbursement of funds anticipated early in the 2018 calendar year. Projects must be able to use the funding within one year from the date of payment by DFAT.
  3. Funding will not be provided to projects that have commenced or concluded before the applicant is advised of the outcome by the Australian National Commission for UNESCO or if the project has commenced/concluded prior to the payment of the grant for successful applicants. 
  4. Covering letters are not required or supplied to the grants sub-committee and should not contain any additional information about the project which is not included in the application.
  5. The applicant should be the owner of the bank account into which the grant (if successful) will be paid.  
    • Please note that the bank account must be an Australian bank account.  Grants will not be paid to overseas bank accounts.
  6. The owner of the bank account into which a grant is paid will be legally responsible for the proper acquittal of any funds awarded.
  7. The persons signing an application form and funding agreement must be duly authorised to do so.
  8. Applications must be accompanied by support from two referees with no direct financial interest in this project, and preferably not from the applicant’s organisation.
    • Referees must sign their letters of support and should comment on the project’s proposed objectives and the strategies to achieve them using the Referee Template.
  9. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their references are included in the SmartyGrants portal application before the closing date.
  10. Any curricula vitae (CVs) included with a grant application are strictly limited to one page.
  11. The amount applied for should be exclusive of Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST); if the applicant is registered for GST, the National Commission will add that amount to the grant if successful.
  12. Income and expenditure amounts must be the same in the project budget supplied as part of the application process.
  13. Project budgets should be as full, detailed and accurate as possible; these will form the basis of the funding agreement if a grant is awarded.
    • Applicants should ensure that the items they wish the National Commission to fund or partially fund are clearly indicated; unless the National Commission specifies otherwise, these will be the only activities for which the applicant can use any funds awarded.
  14. Applicants should note that misleading the Australian Government on financial matters may have serious legal consequences.
  15. No extensions for applications will be granted.

Criteria used for assessing grants

  1. A sub-committee of the National Commission will be responsible for recommending which projects to fund.
    • If a member of the grants sub-committee has a financial or other interest in any of the projects which are being considered for funding, they must declare that interest and not take part in the decision making process.
    • Where a member of the grants sub-committee has stepped aside from the assessment of a project in which he or she has an interest, the Chair may nominate another member of the National Commission to consider the application.
  2. Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
    • the project addresses current National Commission and UNESCO priorities as set out in UNESCO's approved Programme and Budget for 2014-17 (37 C/5) and Medium- Term Strategy for 2014-21 (37 C/4)
    • the project has outcomes reflecting UNESCO objectives and ideals as set out in the UNESCO Constitution
    • The aim of the 2017-18 grants round is to select one grant for each of the sectors below:
      • Education
      • Natural & Physical Sciences
      • Social & Human Sciences
      • Culture & Heritage
      • Communications
      • Youth
      • Indigenous
    • Should it not be possible to find a high enough quality application in any particular sector the National Commission may award more than one award in a sector of their choice
    • National Commission funding should be seed funding for the project, i.e. the application should demonstrate that the project has received, or will likely receive, part of its funding from other sources
    • the application should demonstrate a capacity for sustainable outcomes and impact beyond the project’s completion
    • the application should demonstrate a benefit for Australia and/or the Pacific sub region, in particular, and the Asia-Pacific region more generally, and
    • the project should not have previously received funding from the National Commission or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
    • The following list of activities may not be eligible for funding and the committee will consider them in light of the overall sustainability of the proposed activity and justification for inclusion put forward by the applying organisation:
      • funding to support an organisation’s on-going running costs
      • capital expenditure in real property, equipment or computer software
      • conference travel—an exception to the general rule may be made for participants in conferences when the subject of the conference is of direct relevance to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and the applicant is a leader in the field.  Applicants must also demonstrate that a substantial program of relevance to UNESCO priorities will be arranged before and/or after the conference
      • funding support to grant-giving organisations for activities mainly involving their own personnel
      • activities that are properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies (e.g. development assistance projects, activities under bilateral science and technology agreements, projects normally handled by Austrade, etc.)
      • activities that are properly the responsibility of the host institution, e.g., post graduate students applying for travel assistance to do field work as part of their thesis will not normally be considered
      • activities that are commercially viable in their own right
      • any project in which the furthering of the National Commission's and UNESCO's objectives and priorities is incidental to the main aims of the project
      • activities undertaken by schools where travel by a significant number of students is the principal element of the proposal
      • employment of research assistants, administrative staff, etc., or the payment of everyday administrative charges levied by the applicant's organisation
      • funding of completed projects, or recurrent funding of projects.
  3. Grant applications may include fees for services – short-term salaries, artists’ fees, one-off payments for translation or graphic design etc, up to a maximum of 40% of the total amount of funding applied for.
  4.  The grants sub-committee will be responsible for recommending to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade the level of funding to be provided for each project; applications may be partly funded.
  5. A call for applications does not guarantee that any grants will be made.
  6. All decisions of the grants sub-committee are final and are not subject to review.


  1. Applicants for Commission funding will be advised in writing or through the SmartyGrants portal of the outcome of their application.
  2. Successful applicants will receive a funding agreement for signature and will be advised of any additional special conditions which the National Commission may specify for their grant.

Responsibilities of successful applicants

  1. Funding recipients are responsible for all administrative costs and arrangements associated with their activities, including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance and accommodation, unless these are specifically included in the award.
  2. Funding recipients are also responsible for making their own arrangements regarding any taxation liabilities, which may arise from the award of funding.
  3. Payment will only be made after receipt of the signed funding agreement, and a tax invoice.
  4. Funding recipients who are registered, or required to be registered, for GST must include GST, separately itemised, on their tax invoice.
  5. Funding recipients who do not have an Australian Business Number (ABN) must provide the National Commission Secretariat with a completed Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Statement by a Supplier form.
  6. All funding recipients must abide by their funding agreements, otherwise funding may be withdrawn.


  1. All projects/programs funded from the grant scheme are to be acquitted through the SmartyGrants portal, including a report on outcomes and a financial statement, within 30 days of the project being completed.  Projects and acquittals are to be completed no later than one year after the grant funding was received by the applicant.
    • Acquittals for grants of $10,000 or more must be signed off by an accountant.
    • If funds are not acquitted, further funding will not be available until the particular project is acquitted.
    • Unspent grant funds must be returned to the National Commission.

Review of these guidelines

  1. These guidelines may be subject to periodic review and amendment at the discretion of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.

Last Updated: 8 August 2017