Unlocking Australia’s Potential

$5 million program for science engagement activities


The principal objective of Unlocking Australia’s Potential is to increase the engagement of Australians in science. The program targets people who may not have had interest in or access to science engagement activities.

The Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant round makes $5 million available across three categories for projects to be delivered between 2012 and 2014. It is intended to fund a collection of projects that provide a good mix of activities with a variety of approaches, audiences, locations and topics. The grant aims to provide a strengthened, cohesive and sustainable national program of activities.


The Unlocking Australia’s Potential round supports all principles of the Inspiring Australia (IA) strategy. Priority will be given to areas not already funded by the Inspiring Australia initiative. This is in accordance with the Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant guidelines.

The Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant round will also encourage:

  1. A strengthened, cohesive and sustainable national program of science engagement activities. These activities will take into account existing projects and projects funded or supported by other means.
  2. A spread of activities across Australia.
  3. A comprehensive mix of activities in relation to delivery approaches, target audiences, geographic locations, and the science topic focus
  4. A focus on priorities such as (but not limited to) youth, Indigenous communities and regional Australia
  5. Innovative approaches to engaging audiences in science.

Grant category

The Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant  is a competitive merit-based grants program. Funding is available under three categories of grants as follows:

  •  Small Grants – up to $5 000 (GST exclusive) annually – typically to individuals or small organisations for delivering innovative science engagement activities.
  • Medium Grants – up to $45 000 (GST exclusive) over three years – to organisations for delivering high impact science engagement projects at a regional or national level.
  • Large Grants – up to $500 000 (GST exclusive) over three years – to organisations, in partnership with other organisations, for delivering high impact and nationally significant science engagement projects.


Outline which identified Australian needs, priorities and trends are being addressed. Ensure your statement of relevance includes how the Project will address current needs and/or priorities according to current Inspiring Australia priorities.

Please note there are two aspects to this question:

  1. The need, priority or trend for Australia
  2. The priorities of the Inspiring Australia strategy.

For example, you may have research that identifies how general public engagement with the science of feral animals is a crucial need for Australia’s environment. You may also be aware of the Expert Working Group on the Desert Region of Australia and their recommendations about science literacy and local science issues. With these two things in mind you have developed a project to engage people living in the desert regions of Australia that will increase science literacy with a particular focus on the science of feral animals.

When you outline the relevance of your project, make it clear how the project addresses both aspects of relevance.

It is also important that you provide relevant information that explains how your particular topic, theme or idea is relevant to Australians. Include summaries of relevant research which supports this.

Toi link your project to a current Inspiring Australia priority or outcome, it helps to reference and/or explain from where your understanding of this priority or outcome comes. For example, an Expert Working Group report or the Inspiring Australia report.

Merit Criteria

Unlocking Australia’s Potential  pplications received from eligible applicants for grant funding will be assessed on their merits in a competitive process.

Each Unlocking Australia’s Potential  applicant will be asked to address these criteria and equal weighting will be applied to consideration of these merit criteria during the assessment process. Small grants will provide a few sentences against criterion 1-6 while medium and large grants will require more detail and will answer all 8 criterion.

1.       Strategy – Provide a clearly articulated strategy with the purpose, expected outcomes and key performance indicators of the Project. The strategy should include how this Project will increase the engagement of Australians in science, especially those who may not have had interest in or access to science engagement activities.

2.       Relevance – Outline which identified Australian needs, priorities and trends are being addressed. Please also include how the Project will address current needs and/or priorities according to Inspiring Australia priorities.

3.       Credibility – Outline how the Project will ensure credible, defensible and accurate science content.

4.       Target Audience – Describe your target audience and the rationale for this group.

5.       Evaluation – How will you evaluate the success of your Project? Provide a description of the methods you will employ to measure the impact.

6.       Design – Describe the rationale for the Project’s delivery mechanism. (NOTE: Small grants must be innovative in their approach to engagement).

7.       Collaboration – Outline the collaborations and partnerships involved in the design and delivery of the Project, including the amount, source and nature of funding and other contributions from partners.

8.       Promotion – Describe your promotional strategy for both the Project and its outcomes, including how the Project will be branded to promote the broader Inspiring Australia initiative.

About applying

You must read the Unlocking Australia’s Potential  Grant Guidelines and information provided carefully before applying.

The Unlocking Australia’s Potential  round is open from 16 January to 29 February (4pm AEDST) 2012.

Expert Assistance

Applicants seeking asssitance with large grants (up to $500 000) can call us on 03 9005 6789 to see how we can make your bid more competitive.



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