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Research Grants Program 2022

About the RSA

The Rationalist Society of Australia is the oldest freethought group in Australia, promoting reason since 1906. Members and supporters hold that all significant beliefs and actions should be based on reason and evidence, that the natural world is the only world there is, and that answers to the key questions of human existence are to be found only in that natural world. The RSA stands for Reclaiming Secular Australia.

The Research Grant Program

The RSA is calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified academics for funding research projects in the following areas:

  1. The impact of freethought and secularism in Australia.
  2. The effectiveness of critical thinking skills teaching in Australian schools.
  3. The role of experts in media and public policy in Australia.
  4. Privileges granted by law and government policy to religious groups in Australia.
  5. The influence of organised religion on healthcare policy and practice in Australia.

There are two categories of grants:

  • The Ian Robinson Grants for Emerging Researchers: funding of up to A$5,000 to individual emerging researchers.
  • The RSA Patrons’ Grants: funding of up to A$15,000 to individual researchers or teams of researchers.

Expected output for each grant will include but not be limited to:

  • at least one article that could be published in a suitable peer-reviewed journal.
  • at least one (for the Ian Robinson Grants) or two (for the Patrons’ Grants) articles for a general audience in outlets such as The Conversation.
  • at least one (for the Ian Robinson Grants) or two (for the Patrons’ Grants) presentations of the research output at an RSA event.

Further Details

Deadline: applications to admin@rationalist.com.au  must be received by 31 March 2022.

Eligibility: applicants must be employed in a research or teaching and research position by an Australian university.

Definition of emerging researcher: an academic who has held a research or teaching and research position at a university for not more than five years full-time (or equivalent period part-time).

Application: Applications must be presented in the format described below.

Assessing applications: Applications will be assessed by the RSA Board. Grants will be awarded at the Board’s absolute discretion.

Funding arrangements: Funds will be paid to the applicant’s/applicants’ university, not directly to any individual. It will be a condition of funding that the RSA’s funding support be acknowledged appropriately in the project’s outputs and that a final report be submitted to the RSA Board at the completion of the project.

Contact for further information: Dr Meredith Doig, President, Rationalist Society of Australia, president@rationalist.com.au


Application format

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF file and must not exceed six pages in total. Applications must be written in plain English accessible to a non-expert audience.

  1. Applicant details and category of grant.

This section should provide (i) the name, title, email address, phone number and link to the university staff webpage of each applicant, (ii) identify the category of grant to which the application relates, and (iii) provide a brief description of the applicant’s qualifications, relevant previous academic work and relevant community contributions.

  1. Research project details.

This section should describe the proposed research project (research problem/background, research question/s, methodology), its importance, expected outputs/deliverables, and anticipated timelines.

  1. Funding request and justification.

This section should set out the project budget and provide a justification for each budget item. Applications that do not explain and justify how the funds will be expended will not be successful. Travel costs in connection with attending a conference will not be funded.

  1. Impact outside academia.

This section should provide a summary of how the project will have impact outside academia in respect of one of the listed research areas. In particular, this section should (i) explain how the project will further knowledge, enhance understanding and influence public policy, and (ii) provide a description of how the research might contribute to “Reclaiming Secular Australia” in the public sphere and/or public policy.

  1. Other matters.

This section should outline any other factors that might assist the RSA board make a decision about awarding a grant.

All the more reason.