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 Environment program supports ambitious and transformative environmental initiatives, including:

  • Strengthening the environment sector
  • Applied environmental science research
  • On ground conservation of natural resources and preservation of threatened biodiversity and ecosystems.

Environment program closed until 2024

The Environment program will re-open for Expressions of Interest in Round 2, 2024.

Louise Arkles, Senior Program Manager - Environment,  is currently taking up an amazing opportunity to attend Cambridge University to complete a Masters of Conservation Leadership.

For any enquiries regarding existing Environment grants, please contact Elena Mogilevski, who is assisting the Foundation in a part-time capacity to manage all current grants in the Environment program area.



Three children sitting in a paddock. One is holdign a seedling. People are planting seedlings in the background.
Rainforest Rescue volunteers helping to replant damaged Daintree rainforest at the 2022 Annual Tree Planting Day. Image: Silvia Di Domenicantonia.

Funding Guidelines

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 program area supports ambitious and transformative environmental initiatives, including:

  • Strengthening the environment sector
  • Applied environmental science research
  • On ground conservation of natural resources and preservation of threatened biodiversity and ecosystems.

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.


Important to Know

  • Applicants must speak with the Program Manager before preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI). Calls can be booked approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the funding round opening.
  • University applicants should contact their Advancement/Research Office prior to submitting an EOI or Application. See specific instructions for applications from universities or research institutes.
  • Please note that existing projects may not be eligible. Occasionally the Foundation will support a development or innovation to an existing project but please contact the relevant program manager before proceeding.
  • Applications for each program area are open once a year for consideration by the Board of Governors.
  • In general, the recommended minimum grant amount for institutions and organisations is $100,000 per year and grants are usually multi-year.
  • We encourage all organisations to apply regardless of their size; in the case of smaller organisations, the award can be for smaller amounts over multiple years.
  • Proposals that are collaborative and/or share knowledge with the broader sector are encouraged.
  • The 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.  
  • Please also refer to our Funding Principles for further information.

Specific Exclusions

The Foundation does not fund pure research in the Environment program area.

We are currently not funding:

  • school education or engagement projects
  • projects or research relating to renewable energies or sustainable materials, or capital works.

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.
  • Research for undergraduate, masters or doctoral students
  • 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.
  • We do not directly support schools.

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.

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 (2-stage)

Grant requests for this program area are considered via a two-stage Expression of Interest process.  

Please note there are specific instructions you need to follow if you are from a research institution.

  1. Check your organisation’s Eligibility 
  2. Read ALL the information on this program area page to ensure your project meets the program area objectives and to see when applications are open.
  3. Attend the Information Session held prior to the funding round.
  4. Speak with the relevant Program Manager before preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI).
  5. Hit 'Apply Now' at the bottom of this program area page. This link will only appear when a Funding Round is open for this program area.
  6. You then need to log in to our grant management system by either entering your username and password (if you have applied for a grant previously) or creating an account by clicking New Applicant?.
  7. Complete the Expression of Interest online form (Stage 1). After you save and close the online form, you can re-access your Expression of Interest via the Login link (see header or footer) using your username and password. 
  8. If your Expression of Interest is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application. 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 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 line with the Funding Rounds.

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

Prepare to apply

FAQs Tips & Hints Standard Grant Conditions

To assist your organisation with the application process, we have provided Word templates of the EOI and full application online forms below. 

Expression of Interest stage

Full application stage

Please note these are NOT the live application forms. All EOIs and full applications MUST be completed online via the Apply Now link at the bottom of this page.  Please note this link will only be active when the program area is open for EOIs.