This program area is no longer active. Please refer to Sustainable - Environment.

Round Information

Not Currently Open for Applications

The CSIRO Infinity Swing - science and technology have key roles in developing smart energy efficient solutions.
Image Credit: CSIRO Science Images (CC BY 3.0)


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 and innovation profile and capacity.  The Foundation also recognises the profound impact of climate change and has chosen to direct its Science program funding towards mitigating the effects of climate change and creating a sustainable future for Australia.

As such, the central focus of the Foundation’s Science program is support for exceptional and visionary scientific researchers in the fields of environmental science, (including biodiversity, water and/or land management) and renewable energy and storage.

Important to know

  • Applicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).
  • The recommended minimum amount is $100,000 (this may be spread across several years). The Foundation does not award single year grants.
  • 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.
  • 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, NH&MRC, other philanthropics, international bodies and industry). 
  • Details of all our past Science grants can be found in our Grants Database.

Funding Objectives

The recommended minimum amount is $100,000 (this may be spread across several years). The Foundation does not award single year grants. 

Open round:

  • To support high quality scientific research programs led by early career and established researchers with preference for research relating to the fields of environmental science and renewable energy.

By invitation only:

  • To encourage the development of fellowship programs available to early career researchers in the fields of environmental science and renewable energy.
  • To support projects and infrastructure that enhance science communication skills and capacity, translate research and embed ongoing collaboration in the sector.




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 Key Performance Indicators and outputs. In your Science application, you will be asked to select up to three long-term outcomes. 

The Ian Potter Foundation also recognises that we all can play a small part in broader global movements and adopts a collaborative approach, both in our grant-making and our outcomes measurement. As such, we are beginning to offer relevant indicators from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as options for outcomes measurement. 

Technical long-term outcomes include:

  • Improved financial sustainability
  • Promotion/dissemination of best practice/new knowledge (including conferences and media appearances)
  • Increase knowledge about and use of environmental conservation strategies
  • Increased knowledge about and use of renewable energy

Strategic long-term outcomes include:

  • Mobilise and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustain biodiversity and ecosystems 
  • Increased skill base
  • Improved quality of policy dialogue and development
  • Improved service system/sector collaboration
  • Increased adoption of sustainable industry practices
  • Improved community capacity/engagement

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 the 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.

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

Application Process

Applicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).

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 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.

Not Currently Open for Applications

Feature Case Studies

  • Measuring the performance of protected areas

    The School of Biological Sciences at Monash University is a world leader in ecological research. The school’s strategic plan is focused on delivering the vision of understanding biological responses to changing environments: the Ecology of Change. 

    Monash University, Faculty of Science
    A multidimensional approach to measuring the performance of protected areas
    April - December 2016

    Read more

    ‘This study, the first of its kind, provides a crucial insight into the changes occurring in the Australian protected area network over the last 17 years. The findings of this research provides important direction for conservation efforts both within Australia and overseas, offering a new, multidimensional approach for measuring the performance of protected areas.’

    Nicole Bortone
    Science Program Manager

  • Identifying bioaccumulation mechanisms of mercury

    The study undertaken at the University of Canberra is a pilot project to investigate mercury cycling in coastal ecosystems of Australia. 

    University of Canberra
    Identifying the sources and bioaccumulation mechanisms of mercury in aquatic coastal food webs of Australia
    January - December 2016

    Read more

    ‘This grant supported Dr Furman and four undergraduate students to examine the Mercury levels of the fish in Port Phillip Bay testing more than 1000 biological samples. Mercury is a globally important environmental pollutant. This high quality research led to some interesting results in terms of the detox properties of Selenium in filtering Mercury in dolphins. We look forward to learning more as the project team explore this finding further.’

    Nicole Bortone
    Science Program Manager

  • 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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