A central focus of The Ian Potter Foundation’s Science program area is support for exceptional scientists with the aim of making a long-term contribution to thinking and knowledge in Australia.

Ian Potter Biodiversity Fellow Dr Karen Rowe with a Speckled Bookbook. Photo by W. Longmore, courtesy of Museum Victoria


The Foundation has conducted a review of its Science program in 2015 and has made the decision to focus major multi-year projects (over $100K) from 2016 onwards in order to have greater impact with our grant making in this sector.

The Foundation recognises that science and research are essential to the future of this nation and thus this program aims to strengthen Australia’s research profile and capacity.

The central focus of the Foundation’s Science program is support for exceptional and visionary early career and established scientific researchers, with the aim of making a long term contribution to thinking and knowledge in Australia and scientific infrastructure.

The Foundation prioritises support for collaborative projects where there are multiple partners involved and where there is strong financial support from the applicant organisation among other funding partners (including the ARC, other philanthropics and industry).

Details of all our Science grants can be found in our Grants Database. Potential applicants should also read the sections below for more information about current funding priorities before embarking on the Apply for Grant process.

See below for details on the next open funding round for Science

Funding Objectives

The Foundation only considers grant applications over $100,000 in this program area. Applicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Open round:

  • To support high quality scientific research programs led by early career and established researchers directed at developing and strengthening Australia’s scientific research and innovation capacity.

By invitation only:

  • To encourage the development of fellowship programs and research infrastructure available to early career and established researchers through leading Australian research institutions, Universities and/or industry. 
The Ian Potter Foundation rarely awards the full amount of any project.  Please ensure that you have alternative providers of funding, and that your application clearly considers any possible grant from the Foundation in this context.  We are unlikely to fund 100% of a project cost.



All proposals submitted must be over $100k and applicants must speak with the Science Program Manager before applying.

The Ian Potter Foundation can only make grants to organisations with BOTH Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Item 1 and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status.

It is important that you check the Eligibility section to ensure your organisation meets these Australian Tax Office requirements.

Under the terms of the deed of The Ian Potter Foundation and Australian taxation laws, The Ian Potter Foundation can only make grants to organisations with BOTH Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Item 1 and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status.

Please make sure you read the funding objectives and specific exclusions for the Science program area before you apply for a grant.


Specific Exclusions

The Science program does not support:

  • Research stipends and maintenance costs for Undergraduate, Masters or Doctoral students
  • Purposes which are core to the operations of the organisation and should more appropriately be funded from institutional operating funds
  • Research projects which are purely commercial.

General Exclusions

Projects that fall into any of the following categories will not be considered for funding

• Retrospective funding – projects which are already underway or which will commence prior to the date indicated in our online application information are not eligible for consideration.
• Recurrent expenditure for which there is no future provision.
• Capital or endowment funds established to fund a chair or to provide a corpus for institutions.
• Auspicing* is not permitted – the organisation applying must be the one that will run the program or project.
• Applications for public charitable purposes outside the Commonwealth of Australia**.
• Applications for projects that have previously been declined by the Foundation cannot be resubmitted.
• Applications will not be accepted from organisations that have not successfully acquitted previous grants from the Foundation.

Auspicing refers to the practice of an ineligible organisation (one that does not have DGR and TCC status) applying to the Foundation via an eligible organisation. Auspicing arrangements are excluded under the Foundation's guidelines. The organisation applying to the Foundation must be the organisation that will run the project or program for which a grant is being sought.

** Geographical constraints on grants
The Foundation is limited to providing money, property or benefits for public charitable purposes in the Commonwealth of Australia. However, the Foundation is able to provide a grant for activities outside the Commonwealth if the grant is made for a public charitable purpose in the Commonwealth. For example, a grant might be made to an Australian university to enable it to fund an overseas study tour by an Australian researcher engaged by the university.

Outcomes & Metrics

It is the aim of the Foundation that the projects that it funds will have long-term impact beyond immediate KPIs and outputs. In your Science application, you will be asked to select up to five long-term outcomes. If only one or two apply, that is fine.

Long-term outcomes:

  • Improved financial sustainability
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Promotion/dissemination of best practice/new knowledge
  • Improved operational capacity/capability
  • Increased knowledge base
  • Increased skill base
  • Improved quality of policy dialogue and development
  • Improved service delivery/quality
  • Improved service system/sector collaboration
  • Preservation of built environment
  • Increased adoption of sustainable industry practices
  • Improved food security
  • Improved plant and wildlife conservation /management
  • Improved land/resource management
  • Increased adoption of sustainable agricultural practices
  • Climate change mitigation

In your final report, you will be asked how you progressed on your long-term outcomes. It’s helpful to select your metrics early on, so you can begin to collect information about your success as soon as your project begins. Some suggested metrics can be found in Science Outcomes & Metrics guide.


Application Process

Ready to begin?

Grant requests in Science are considered via a two-step Expression of Interest process. You can preview the EoI information you will be required to submit.

To improve your chance of success, check out : Tips & Hints, FAQs, Grants Database

Application Process

The online application can only be accessed when a funding round is open.

Step 1: Read ALL the information on this program area page to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and program area objectives before you begin.

Step 2: Select 'Apply for a Grant' tab below. This tab will only appear when applications are open.

Step 3: You will then need to login by entering your username and password or create an account by clicking New Applicant?.

Step 4: Complete the Eligibility Quiz. If you meet eligibility requirements, you will proceed to the Expression of Interest online form.

After you save and close you can re-access your Expression of Interest via the My Account Icon minilink using your username and password. 

Step 5: If your Expression of Interest is approved by the Program Manager, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Step 6: Complete your application (Stage 2). Ensure your application is submitted by 5pm EST on the closing date.

We require a hard copy including all supporting documents as well as the online application. Both must be received by the 5pm EST deadline on the closing date. Applications may be sent by courier or hand-delivered. Applications postmarked with the closing date will not be accepted.

We require a hard copy including all supporting documents as well as the online application. Both must be received by the 5.00pm EST deadline on the closing date.  Applications may be sent by courier or hand-delivered. Applications postmarked with the closing date will not be accepted.

What happens next?

All grant applications are considered by the Board of Governors at the Foundation’s board meetings, which are held three times a year in April, August & December.

You will be advised of the outcome of your application by phone or email.

Next Funding Round


Round 2, 2018

Applications open 26 March 2018

The next open Science funding round will be Round 2, 2018 pending available budget.



Expression of Interest

Open: Monday 26 March 2018
Close: Friday 20 April 2018

Feature Case Studies

  • Antarctic ice is 'core' to climate change research

    Ice cores contain an abundance of information about climate and the changes it is undergoing. The significance of this whole research area is related to environmental and climatic change and the ability to develop accurate longer-term historical data sets from sources such as ice cores. 

    University of Tasmania, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology
    Creating an Antarctic ice core record using CAP-IC and mass-spectrometry
    October 2015 - April 2016

    Read more

    ‘We were so pleased that we were able to use this grant to develop a new analytical capability to provide quantification of anions using reduced volumes from valuable ice core samples and to acquire experience to be part of the next generation of Antarctic researchers. ’

    Dr. Estrella Sanz Rodriguez
    Australian Centre for Research on Separation Scien

  • Lizard Island

    The Ian Potter Doctoral Fellowship at Lizard Island has been funded by The Ian Potter Foundation since 2006. The fellowship provides outstanding PhD students with field expenses over one to three years to undertake field-intensive coral reef research at the Lizard Island Research Station.

    Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation
    2006 onwards

    Read more

    ‘We’re delighted that The Ian Potter Foundation is continuing its support of PhD student research at Lizard Island. Each year, there is a strong pool of candidates for the Fellowship and the winners are top students who do great coral reef research.’

    Dr Anne Hoggett
    Co-Director Lizard Island Research Station


Support Australia's most innovative projects through a donation to The Ian Potter Foundation. Your donation will support projects that address areas of particular need or opportunity, managed by credible organisations with solid track records in their particular fields.

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