PhD RTP Scholarships

The Indigenous Knowledge Institute is seeking applications from Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars who wish to undertake a PhD on a topic related to Indigenous knowledges.

STATUS: Closed for 2022. The next funding round will take place in 2023

What is Indigenous knowledge?

Indigenous knowledge, sometimes called traditional or local knowledge, refers to the understandings and practices developed by Indigenous peoples through thousands of years of experience. Indigenous knowledge systems are characteristically holistic, relational, and rooted in a strong and continuing connection with the land, sky, and waters. Knowledge is often passed down orally and can be collectively owned. It can include or be embodied in language, song, story, ritual, lore, and customary practices. The knowledge of Indigenous peoples does not represent a static body of traditional information, and the capacity to incorporate new tools and skills has always been fundamental to the dynamism of Indigenous cultures.

What is the Indigenous Knowledge Institute?

The Indigenous Knowledge Institute aims to advance research and education in Indigenous knowledge systems. It is one of five current Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes which aim to promote research linkages and collaboration across the University and to play a lead role in articulating University research to external audiences.

Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships

Up to three RTP scholarships are available to candidates from any background (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) who are writing on a topic related to Indigenous knowledges and are accepted into a University of Melbourne PhD program. The RTP scholarships provide an annual stipend for living and study expenses. You would be joining a growing field of scholarship focused on Indigenous knowledges and a vibrant network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers with access to opportunities with the Indigenous Knowledge Institute.

The 2022 intake will be assigned to the three IKI priority themes and your application must be related to one of them:

  • Healthy Country: this theme will provide a qualitative and quantitative understanding of what constitutes 'Healthy Country', develop appropriate benchmarks and metrics to measure the efficacy of management approaches, and facilitate/contribute to the development and implementation of cultural mapping and Healthy Country management plans. (Contact for further information)
  • Culture and Heritage: this theme will provide mechanisms to support and grow Indigenous knowledge so it can be applied in contemporary Australia and beyond in the critical areas of culture, land, and heritage to provide sustainable and economic futures. (Contact for further information)
  • Health and Justice: this theme aims to examine the intersection of the health and justice systems to articulate how Indigenous knowledges are recasting deficit-based, siloed health and justice practice models and championing innovative approaches and outcomes. (Contact for further information)



Number of RTPs available in 2022

Three, one for each theme

Application timeline

Applications open until Friday 27 May 2022. Applications will be reviewed upon submission. Should a suitable candidate be found prior to the closing deadline, applications will close early.


Domestic applicants only. See the information pack for more information.


To be eligible for the scholarship, the applicant must:

  • be a domestic applicant undertaking a PhD (or joint PhD) at the University of Melbourne
  • not already be in receipt of an RTP Scholarship
  • be writing on a topic related to Indigenous knowledge
  • be undertaking a project related to one of the three IKI priority themes
  • be committed to ethical and respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities
  • have completed tertiary studies that are at least equivalent to a 4-year honours degree at an Australian university with a minimum result equivalent to first-class Honours (80%)
  • have not completed a PhD previously
  • be made a PhD course offer to study at the University of Melbourne
  • commence their PhD in 2022
  • meet at least one of the following allocation principles:
    • Have a named co-supervisor or collaborator from a partner institution outside Australia and intend to either spend at least two months during their PhD at the international collaborating institution or undertake research overseas;
    • Have a named co-supervisor from an academic division different to the primary supervisor where this deepens or creates collaboration;
    • Work on a research project connected to “Place” as articulated in Advancing Melbourne.

How to apply

If you are interested in higher degree research and would like to undertake a project related to Indigenous knowledges, we want to hear from you. Scholars from all academic disciplines will be considered and interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Candidates should be committed to ethical and respectful relationships with Indigenous people and communities. Guidance on equitable remuneration of community research participants can be found at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute's website.

Please note that only domestic applicants are eligible for these scholarships.

You can find further information about the RTP scholarships, including eligibility, by downloading the Information Pack below.

Download the RTP Scholarships Information Pack

To apply, please download the application form below (available in either PDF or Word format).

Download the Application Form (PDF 220.7 KB)

Download the Application Form (DOCX 107.3 KB)

Send your completed application form and attachments to

For more information, contact us at