Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships

Overview

What are the Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships?

The Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships aim to support breakthrough solutions to Australia’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

A Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for recipients to take 12 months, supported by $180,000, to focus on approaches that have the potential to achieve positive outcomes for society, supporting initiatives that align with one or more of the program themes of inclusion & equality, sustainability & environment including climate change, or human, civil & legal rights. 

Fellows receive a combination of time, resources and a program of support to help progress their work, shepherd their initiatives towards fruition and grow and scale their impact.


Who should apply for a Fellowship?

We seek a diversity of people, projects and experience and encourage individuals to submit an expression of interest.

We seek initiatives that are:

high impact: likely to produce results, aligned with one or more of The Myer Foundation & Sidney Myer Fund’s priority areas of Inclusion & Equality, Sustainability & Environment including climate change, and Human, Civil & Legal Rights
unique: new or different from existing approaches including applying existing approaches in new contexts or fields
scalable and sustainable: the potential to scale up and be sustainable over time.

We seek individuals who are:

experienced and entrepreneurial: a proven track record of achievement or traction in their field, in the subject matter and/or in the approach or initiative
passionate and connected: a genuine commitment and passion for their cause and the network to make it happen
collegiate and curious: broad-minded, willing to learn and able to work well with others (including your cohort of Fellows and program advisors and staff), and committed to taking up the Fellowship offering.

We seek a range of approaches. These might include:

• opening productive new lines of inquiry
• asking thought provoking questions
• challenging conventional wisdom
• developing new ideas, strategies or solutions, or applying proven approaches to new fields.

What is offered?

Up to $180,000 is available to each Fellow for their 12-month Fellowship comprising a stipend of $140,000 and up to $40,000 for approved project expenses. Project expenses are those directly related to the Fellowship from its commencement such as renting a separate workspace (if required), travel and contracting of external expertise, and available on a reimbursement basis.

During the 12-months, Fellows have access to a range of supports including a panel of experts, who meet quarterly, a mentor and the network of past Fellows.


What is expected of Fellows during the Fellowship?

Each year Fellows are provided with the resources of focused time and funding to explore their particular project, idea or initiative. 

The Fellowship is not tied to specific KPIs or objectives; rather it is designed to support Fellows to progress their work. However, Fellows are required to do a mid-term and final presentation in support of their Fellowship.

    Application & Selection Process

    What is the application process?

    The Fellowship program invites expressions of interest (EoI) from individuals who meet the eligibility criteria. The EoI period is open for five weeks, generally from late July until early September.  Once the EoI period closes, an extensive and robust process of review commences, with Fellows confirmed in March each year. 

     

    What are the eligibility criteria?

    The applicant must:

    • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
    • reside in Australia for the majority of the Fellowship period
    • be prepared to take a sabbatical from their current role for 12 months (if relevant)
    • have a proven track record of achievement
    • pursue out-of-the-box thinking and be a risk-taker
    • have an ability to turn well-formulated ideas or new approaches into action (that is, your idea must have substance to it; a good idea on its own is not sufficient)
    • have well-developed networks within an area of the proposed project.

    The proposed project must:

    • be based in Australia
    • be aligned with one or more of the program themes of Inclusion & Equality, Sustainability & Environment including climate change, or Human, Civil & Legal rights
    • have been in development for not longer than three years.


    What are the funding exclusions?

    The Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships program will not support the following.

    1. Projects that have been in development for more than 3 years.
    2. Benefits or fundraising events.
    3. Capital or endowment campaigns.
    4. Ongoing or one-off academic research or work towards higher degrees (including by coursework or dissertations).
    5. Medical research.
    6. Initiatives focused on specific diseases.
    7. International projects.
    8. Scholarships.
    9. Sponsorships.
    10. Funding hubs or accelerators.
    11. Creative arts projects.
    12. Collaborations between a number of individuals (noting that should an initiative have co-founders, an expression of interest would only be considered from one co-founder).
    13. Projects that are focused on program or service delivery (noting that an initiative or project would be considered if it is innovative, scalable and has potential for deep and wide impact, as opposed to delivering, for example, regular activities for particular groups).
    14. Organisations (noting that the Fellowship supports initiatives that have been created by an individual; that is, supporting individual endeavour, rather than initiatives that have been created within an organisation).


    What is the application timeline?

    Friday 26 July 2024

    Expressions of interest open

    11.59pm AEST Sunday 1 September 2024

    Expressions of interest close

    Week beginning Monday 4 November 2024

    Shortlisted candidates invited to prepare a detailed application

    By 11.59pm AEDT Sunday 15 December 2024

    Closing date for detailed applications from shortlisted applicants

    February 2025

    Interviews for selected candidates

    March 2025

    Confirmation of 2025 Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellows


    Recent Awardees

    2023 Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellows


    Emma Cutting

    Emma’s Fellowship is focussing on the creation of the Melbourne Pollinator Corridor (MPC), an Australian-first ecology-centred, community-driven wildlife corridor for native pollinating insects. The eight kilometre-long corridor joins Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne to Westgate Park. The MPC is the current main focus of the charity that Emma founded, The Heart Gardening Project, which combines community, science and care to joyfully connect humans to humans, humans to nature and nature to nature through street gardening.

    Laura Simmons

    Laura is a dedicated paediatric occupational therapist who founded Theratrak, an innovative asynchronous telehealth platform. This platform allows allied health therapists to work together and collect meaningful information from therapy sessions. With Theratrak, they can monitor and track participant progress from a distance, helping children and families reach their independence goals. Laura's goal is to create technology that improves therapy accessibility and reduces the global economic impact of healthcare.

    Rebecca Scott

    Rebecca is the founder of Eazilee, a knowledge sharing platform which harnesses the power of clinical and user experience to guide the prescription of technology to solve everyday challenges. By paying forward the successes and challenges of others, Eazilee aims to enhance decision making, reduce technology abandonment, contribute to global assistive technology data and connect the global assistive technology community supporting all people to live everyday ‘easier’.

    FAQs

    If you are invited to prepare a detailed application, you will have the opportunity to submit such materials.

    We would consider a part-time Fellowship application in circumstances where the applicant has caring responsibilities. Applicants who wish to undertake the program part time whilst maintaining full, part-time, or casual employment would not be eligible.

    The selection process is a multi-stage process taking place over a number of months. It is usually completed by the end of March each year, with new Fellows generally announced in May each year.

    Fellows will be expected to provide a mid-term report to the Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships Committee via a personal presentation, and to provide a completion report to the Directors of The Myer Foundation, Trustees of the Sidney Myer Fund and the Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowship Committee via personal presentation.

    The Fellowship is a stipend that aims to cover the living expenses of the Fellow for the Fellowship year.

    An amount up to $40,000 will be available to each Fellow to cover expenditure associated with the Fellowship such as renting an office space (excluding existing spaces such as home office or if the Fellow is already renting an office or similar space), travel, convening, or purchasing of external expertise. We will not generally support professional development unless it will materially affect the development of the Fellow’s project. Applicants invited to prepare a detailed application will be asked to include an estimated project budget. 

    Expressions of interest for the 2025 Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships program will close at 11.59pm AEST on Sunday, 1 September 2024.

    Applicants are asked to identify outputs and outcomes expected from their Fellowship as part of the detailed application process.

    Fellows will have access to a support panel of experts, an individually matched mentor and specialist pitch training, as well as to a network of 30 alumni. They will also be supported by program staff of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund.

    The main responsibility of each Fellow is to develop the various aspects of their project. We ask Fellows to commit to the Support Panel meetings and trainings offered and to provide collegiate support to each other where possible during their tenure. Upon completion we ask Fellows to participate in an alumni event and to respond to a short completion survey.

    The Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships will not support the following projects or activities:

    • benefits or fundraising events
    • capital or endowment campaigns
    • ongoing or one-off academic research, or work towards higher degrees (including by coursework or dissertations)
    • medical research
    • initiatives focused on specific diseases
    • international projects
    • scholarships
    • sponsorships
    • social enterprise funding hubs or accelerators
    • creative arts projects
    • collaborations between a number of individuals
    • projects that are focused on program or service delivery
    • projects that have been in development for more than three years
    • organisations.

      See also Funding Exclusions on the Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellowships page here

        Yes, Fellowship proposals may align with more than one of these areas.