Strategic Policy Grants Program

What is the Strategic Policy Grants Program?

The Strategic Policy Grants Program is a mechanism for Defence to support independent research, events and activities to shape the public Australian strategic debate, with a focus on Defence issues, and support and enhance Defence’s strategic policy advice.



All grant proposals should have direct relevance to Department of Defence strategic policy interests and challenges for Australia’s future defence and security needs. These priorities have been identified for 2021, and may be updated in subsequent years. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update (DSU) has informed the selection of the SPGP Priority Policy Topics, and the five (5) to ten (10) year outlook.

All applications must include activities that support one or more of the topics of priority interest below.

Within the next 5-10 years, implications for Australia and possible Australian responses to:

  • Strategic competition (e.g. US-China), particularly in the Indo-Pacific,
  • Evolving US strategies in the Indo-Pacific,
  • Coercive statecraft / grey-zone activities, particularly in the Indo-Pacific,
  • Challenges to global rules, norms and institutions,
  • Accelerating regional military modernisation (and asymmetric advantages),
  • Emerging and disruptive technologies,
  • Expanding capabilities in information, cyber and space,
  • Prospect of high-intensity military conflict,
  • Geostrategic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • Threats to national resilience (e.g. disrupted global supply chains),
  • Threats to human security, and
  • State fragility in the Indo-Pacific



In 2021, up to $2 million will be available for the Strategic Policy Grants Program grant opportunity, subject to appropriation. There is no minimum or maximum amount that may be applied for, but all applications will be subject to selection criteria, including value for money considerations. Defence reserves the right to consider and approve single activities that are part of a broader application proposal.


Eligible Projects

You must use the grant for activities that advance one or more of the outcomes and fall within the priority policy topics outlined in Section 2.3 of the guidelines.

You can use the grant to pay for costs detailed in your budget and grant agreement, including:

  • Research-related fees;
  • Flight and accommodation costs, meals and travel allowances, other transport;
  • Event venue hire and catering; and
  • Advertising and promotion, graphic design and printed material.


Eligible Applicants

Individuals must apply on behalf of the organisation with which they are affiliated, such as a university, not-for-profit organisation, or research institution.

Joint applications are welcome, contingent upon any consortium having a lead organisation. To be a lead, an applicant must designate the main contact and/or project manager.

International applicants are eligible, provided they can demonstrate the qualifications, skills and necessary background for the topic and activity proposed.



Applications close 14 October 2020.


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