Sustainable - Environment


To support ambitious and transformative environmental initiatives including:

  • Support for the environment sector
  • Applied environmental science research projects
  • On ground conservation of natural environment projects.

Round Information

Expression of Interest

Monday 14 March 2022
Thursday 7 April 2022

Grants Announced

late October 2022

Plantings on a farm in New South Wales, part of the ANU Sustainable Farms Initiative. Photo by Chris MacGregor.

Funding objectives

A sustainable natural environment is fundamental to a healthy and prosperous society. Continuing and expanding on thirty years of science, environmental and conservation funding, the Sustainable pillar responds to the global focus on urgent issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.  The Foundation recognises that a thriving environmental sector, underpinned by a well-resourced scientific research community, is essential for a healthy natural environment. Through the Sustainable pillar, the Foundation is committed to investing in Australia’s research and innovation capacity and in community-driven environmental initiatives.

The Environment funding area supports ambitious and transformative environmental initiatives, including applied research.  Those initiatives should seek to manage better our natural resources and preserve threatened biodiversity and ecosystems in the face of challenges such as land degradation, limited water resources, invasive species, and climate change. The Foundation is interested in applications that are strategically important, nationally significant, and collaborative.

This funding area considers large grants ($100,000+ and multi-year) within and across multiple environmental areas including land, freshwater, marine, and coastal.  We welcome applications from environmental not-for-profits, universities, and other research institutions.

We prioritise projects that employ several of the following approaches:

  • Work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders.
  • Enhance the capacity of the environment sector.
  • Take an ecosystem or landscape-scale approach.
  • Adopt a community-based approach, where relevant.
  • Develop or incorporate a strong scientific evidence base.
  • Develop translational frameworks and/or strategies that can be adapted and implemented widely.
  • Promote sustainable resource management.
  • For research projects, preference will be given to projects that engage early or mid-career researchers.  Such projects to be strongly supported by their host organisation and be strategically aligned to the institution’s mission.


Important to know

  • You must speak with the Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be considered eligible to apply.  Schedule a phone call
  • Prior to applying, please ensure that you have identified other potential funders. The Foundation is unlikely to fund 100% of a project cost.
  • The Foundation only considers multi-year grant applications in excess of $100,000 in this program area.
  • The Foundation prioritises applications with evidence of collaboration, plans for leverage, and transformative potential.
  • Full applications will need to be accompanied by a letter from the requesting organisation's Chief Executive Officer or equivalent person (e.g. Director of Institute, University Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research) attesting to the value of the application to the organisation.
  • A maximum of three applications may be submitted by a university in each grant round.


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 Environment funding area before applying.


Specific Exclusions

The Foundation does not fund pure research in this area.

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.

Application Process

Two-stage applications process

Grant requests are considered via a two-stage process. The first stage is an Expression of Interest (EOI).  All EOIs are reviewed and selected applicants are then invited to proceed to the second stage and submit a full application.

You can preview the EOI and Full Application forms. To improve your chance of success, we suggest you also check out: Tips & Hints, FAQs, Grants Database.

The online application system can only be accessed from this page when a funding round is open for this funding area.

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: Speak with the relevant Program Manager before preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Step 3: Select 'Apply for a Grant' tab below. This tab will only appear when applications are open.

Step 4: You will then need to login by entering your username and password or create an account by clicking New Applicant?

Step 5: 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 link using your username and password. 

Step 6: If your Expression of Interest is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Step 7: Complete your full application (Stage 2) online. We require all supporting documents to be submitted as part of the online application by 5:00 pm AEST deadline on the closing date. 

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, September & December.

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


Not Currently Open for Applications

Feature Case Studies

  • The Good Scrub Guide

    With a booming cosmetics industry and some of the most biodiversity-rich seas in the world, Australia is an obvious candidate for innovative marine pollution reduction measures. One such measure is FFI Australia's Good Scrub Guide for Australian products enabling consumers to identify products that have zero microbeads.

    Fauna & Flora International Australia
    Reducing marine microplastic pollution through 'The Good Scrub Guide'
    September 2014 - June 2015

    Read more

    ‘We have relished the opportunity to drive change on the use of plastics in cosmetics in Australia. Through partnership working, developing product data and playing a role in legislative discussions, we have contributed to a strong platform for reducing microplastic pollution in Australia’

    Abigail Entwistle
    Conservation Director, FFI

  • Seagrass vs Zombies: Community volunteers help restore seagrass meadows

    Though often out-of-sight out-of-mind, seagrass filters our waste, traps our carbon, supports our fisheries and provides food for dugongs and turtles. Seagrass in Port Curtis Bay has declined over 50 per cent in the last decade and restoration is needed.  This project engaged the community with science, creating community ‘seagrass ambassadors’ and training volunteers to assist in restoring local seagrass meadows.

    Central Queensland University: School of Medicine and Applied Sciences
    Seagrass restoration and education in a disturbed subtropical environment
    May 2015 - July 2016

    Read more

    ‘The 'Seagrass vs Zombies’ game teaches you what seagrasses grow where, what kills them and what they cope with, it's really fun.’

    Year 3 student
    Gladstone Central State School


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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