UNSW Scientia Fellowship Guidelines

UNSW Scientia Fellowship Guidelines



  • Application process opens for Fellowships commencing in 2018: 29 May 2017
  • Closing date for applications: 10 July 2017

The UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program

The UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program, established as a cornerstone of the UNSW 2025 Strategy, aims to attract and retain the highest research performers on a trajectory to being exceptional research leaders and mentors. Over the ten year lifespan of the program up to 290 researchers will be appointed into research intensive Fellowships. There were nineteen UNSW Scientia Fellows appointed in the inaugural 2017 round. Up to forty Fellowship appointments will be made at academic levels A to D in 2017 for commencement in 2018.

UNSW’s Strategic Priorities

UNSW 2025 Strategy demonstrates a firm commitment to a just society and aspires to being an international exemplar in equity, diversity and inclusion.

The University’s vision is to be: recognised as an international exemplar in equity, diversity and inclusion. Our success will have been built upon embracing the diversity and cultural richness of our communities and ensuring that our staff and students can achieve their full potential regardless of background. Measures of success include the gender balance in UNSW roles at all grades and the proportion of Indigenous staff. In pursuit of this vision, the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program will embed diversity in appointment practices to ensure appropriate gender representation, cultural diversity and disciplinary expertise.

The strategy also identifies that collaboration and interdisciplinary research drives motivation and success in responding to global issues: We will direct resources to building interdisciplinary teams of researchers, bringing together the range of expertise required to address the grand challenges.

For 2018 up to fifteen positions will be earmarked for Indigenous Researchers, Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) and Interdisciplinary Researchers in support of the University’s strategic plan.

If you identify with one of these priority areas, please indicate this in your application. The University selection committee will specifically consider applications based on these three areas for the fifteen targeted positions.

The key distinctive features of the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program include:

  1. Career Pathway Commitment
    UNSW Scientia Fellowships are research-intensive Fellowships that provide a pathway to continuing academic careers for internal and external applicants entering the program at any point from Level A to C. UNSW will enter a partnership with those academics competitively appointed as UNSW Scientia Fellows, mentoring and nurturing their careers. Level D appointments will also be considered by the Scientia Fellowships Committee where infrastructure requirements are minimal. The Strategic Hires and Retention Pathways Committee (SHaRP) will consider Level D appointments with significant infrastructure requirements. The appointments provide a continuing tenure track, subject to continuing performance against agreed research excellence criteria
  2. Duration of Appointment and tenure track
    Initial Fellowship tenure will be four years for Fellows new to UNSW and three years for Fellows who are current UNSW staff on non-continuing contracts, unless their current fixed-term contract is longer, in which case it will be matched. Fellowship tenure for UNSW internal staff on continuing appointments will be four years. Second and subsequent terms of Fellowships will be awarded for four years for all appointments, on condition that KPTs continue to be met, and for the life of the program
  3. Leadership, Development and Mentoring
    UNSW Scientia Fellows will have access to a range of development opportunities relevant to career stage across research, teaching and leadership. UNSW will provide a support and collaboration package for UNSW Scientia Fellows to build on their leadership attributes through personalised development plans and by participation in mentoring activities. Each Fellow will have a centrally supported career coach and mentor appointed at the start of the Fellowship and Fellows will be expected to participate in mentoring as mentor and mentee
  4. Flexibility of tenure
    Flexibility is another distinctive feature with Fellows having the option for planned exit and re-entry to the UNSW workforce. Fellowships will provide flexibility in pursuit of a research focussed academic career while permitting time out either for personal or professional reasons
  5. Social Engagement and Global Impact
    Fellows will be expected to engage with activities that align with the Strategy 2025 priorities. These include social engagement, global impact and academic excellence. Scientia Fellows will be encouraged to include teaching and learning development in their plans. While these are research-focused Fellowships with research performance criteria for advancing through academic levels, teaching and learning is an essential and valued part of an academic career. The balance of research, teaching and service responsibilities, including postgraduate supervision, expected of Fellows will be negotiated with the relevant Faculty/School (or Faculties in the case of cross-Faculty appointment) at the time of appointment.


This scheme is open to internal and external candidates including:
− Internal continuing, fixed term or casual UNSW staff
− Applicants who are not currently in paid employment at UNSW

Fellowships will be available in the research areas outlined on the UNSW Scientia Fellowship website.

Applicants must hold a doctoral qualification at the time of application.

Performance Criteria

Fellows who are new to UNSW or are internal candidates who are not employed in continuing positions will be on a pathway to continuing appointment. Clear performance criteria for progression to continuing employment will be developed between the Fellow and the Faculty (or Faculties) at the commencement of the appointment.

All other Fellows will negotiate performance criteria based on discipline appropriate metrics at entry to the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program. Those unable to maintain their performance criteria within specified timeframes will be offered a two-year safety net, for performance improvement or to allow time to find alternative employment if not yet on a continuing position.

UNSW Scientia Fellows will apply for promotion using the same promotion process as all academic staff.

Fellowship Remuneration and Support Packages

Fellows will be remunerated commensurate with their academic appointment level and will be awarded an allowance of up to $40k per annum depending on level as shown in the table below.

Category Academic Level Max Remuneration/per annum as at 1/1/18 Development/Collaboration Support Package/per annum
Early-Career(up to 7 years post PhD) Level A $98,127 $20,000
(8 to 15 post PhD)
Level B $121,478 $30,000
  Level C $143,593 $40,000
  Level D $164,475 $40,000

Development and collaboration support packages are intended to support conference travel, leadership programs or other career development opportunities. It may be used in the first year of appointment as a partial contribution to relocation costs with the agreement of UNSW. The support package is not intended to provide substantive research support funding as it is expected that recipients will already hold research support from external sources. Some flexibility on this point is available for appointees in the early career stage and those new to Australia without current external funding. Any additional infrastructure and start-up costs must be provided by the host Faculty or Institute. The development and collaboration support package will be valid for twelve months from the start date. Any unspent annual funds can be rolled over up to a maximum of three years.

If an existing external Fellowship is held, remuneration will top up the difference between that Fellowship and the value of the Scientia Fellowship. Once the existing external Fellowship has ceased, the full amount of the Scientia Fellowship will be provided by the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program.

Selection Criteria

The following selection criteria will be applied to all applications submitted for Scientia Fellowships at all levels.

  1. Alignment with research areas identified for the 2018 application round, which will be shown via the 2025.unsw.edu.au/apply page from the 29 May 2017
    Research focus areas have been identified by Faculties for the 2018 round. Applicants will need to demonstrate their proposed research aligns with one of the areas of focus
  2. Research performance at the highest level of the equivalent UNSW disciplinary cohort (relative to opportunity)
    Applicants will provide a submission outlining how they meet this criterion, with reference to the Australian Research Council’s Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence guidelines (http://www.arc.gov.au/arc-research-opportunity-and-performance-evidence-rope-statement). A detailed curriculum vitae detailing research outputs and income must be provided
  3. Alignment with strategic priorities
    Applicants will be able to choose from the list of UNSW 2025 strategic priorities and provide a statement demonstrating how their current and proposed research aligns with one or more of the priorities including:
    a. Academic excellence (learning and teaching)
    b. Social engagement
    c. Global impact  
  4.  Alignment with strategic targets
    Applicants can indicate if they wish to be considered for one of the targets under Strategy 2025, for Indigenous researchers, interdisciplinary research or women in STEMM disciplines
  5. Research proposal quality, significance and innovation
    Applicants will provide a statement outlining the research they intend to undertake.


For further information or assistance, including enquiries regarding eligibility, please contact scientia.research@unsw.edu.au

Application Process 2017 for 2018 positions

Applications must be made via the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Application Portal. Once commenced, it is possible to save an application and return to it, prior to submission.

Applications that are incomplete, or do not follow page, formatting, and content requirements will not be considered.

Prior to commencing an application, please note that the list below summarises the main information required:

  • A statement outlining how the proposed research aligns with UNSW research priorities, in one or more of the nominated areas of research focus
  • The names of three potential research collaborators in the area of your research proposal at UNSW. Additional names may be included in the body of the application. It is not a requirement to contact the potential collaborators prior to submitting the application
  • Contact details of three external academic referees the applicant wishes to nominate
  • A statement outlining how they align with UNSW’s 2025 Strategy in the areas of academic excellence, global impact and/or social engagement
  • A statement demonstrating how they meet the “research excellence” criteria, providing evidence in accordance with the Australian Research Council’s Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence Guidelines
  • A research proposal outlining the quality, significance and innovation of the proposed research
  • A declaration of previous and current funding granted as well as a statement of other funding requests currently under consideration
  • If an application is being made under one of the three strategic targets (Indigenous researchers, interdisciplinary research or women in STEMM disciplines), additional information may be requested.

If required, the Faculty will request reports from the nominated external referees.

Assessment Process

Once applications have been checked for completeness they will be forwarded to the relevant faculty for consideration.

Find out more about all dates and instructions for the current application round.

Notification of outcome

Once the appointments have been confirmed, the University will notify all applicants in writing of the outcome of their application. Unsuccessful applicants can expect to be notified by October 2017.