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AASW Practitioner Research Grants

Our annual research grants

Woman with black hair smiling with a bookshelf of library books behind her.Practitioner based research provides an important contribution to the evidence and knowledge base of social work. The AASW is committed to promoting a culture of research within the profession; positioning the AASW as an important stakeholder in research and contributing to the development of the evidence base for social work practice and policy.

Research grant application form 2020-2021

AASW Practitioner Research Grants 2020/21

The AASW invites applications for a competitive research grant of $5,000 from AASW member/s wishing to undertake a practitioner research project in an area of social work practice. There are two grants of $5,000 on offer this year. All areas of practitioner research are eligible and applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers will be prioritised. Applications contributing to knowledge about decolonising social work practice are also encouraged.


Through this grant scheme, the AASW aims to build the expertise of social work practitioners in conceptualising, developing and implementing practice research. The purpose is to encourage research by social workers (practitioners) who are outside formal research institutions and who have limited access to research funding.

Research is key to the continued development of the theory, knowledge and evidence base of social work practice. Social workers utilise research and create research knowledge to inform their work in diverse settings and to engage in a range of activities including case work and case management, community work, group work, organisational development, social policy and educational roles.

The grant scheme encourages social work practitioners to develop and implement a research project which will contribute to the evidence and knowledge base of social work. The grant is available for qualitative, quantitative, theoretical and applied research projects associated with social work practice.

Applications that involve collaboration between established researchers, universities, community-based organisations and practitioners are welcome. In such cases, it is important to demonstrate how the practitioners will benefit from participation in the proposed research project.

The research grants are an initiative of the AASW’s National Research Committee.

The research grant can be used for practice research projects including, but not limited to:

  • Research projects focused on a practice issue
  • Pilot projects (but not an initial literature review)
  • Evaluation projects which may comprise outcome or process evaluations of social work practice
  • Evidence-based practice research (translation or implementation) designed to produce, synthesise, implement and disseminate evidence in relation to social work practice.

Objectives of the research grant

The objectives of the research grant are to:

  • Provide support for practice-based social work research
  • Provide funding for progressing ideas that address emerging areas of practice and policy
  • Facilitate and foster collaborative research, planning and development with a focus on supporting practitioner researchers
  • Encourage the development of mentoring relationships between emerging practitioner researchers and more experienced researchers.


  • First call for applications: Monday, 27 July 2020.
  • Deadline for applications: Friday, 25 September 2020 5.00pm AEST. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Successful applications announced by the end of November 2020
  • Research project commencement – January 2021
  • Funding will be available for projects of up to 12 months duration. Additional funding will not be provided for extensions required to complete the project.


General Conditions

  • At least one member of the research team must be a current member of the AASW.
  • All applications must include all the documentation requested by the closing date. As these are competitive grants assessed by a panel of reviewers, lack of clarity or completeness in documentation may rule an application ineligible.

Specific Conditions

In addition to the general conditions, the following specific conditions apply:

The research must commence in January 2021. This may include the submission of any required ethics approval applications.

  • The successful applicant must submit a 6-month progress report (emailed to highlighting key milestones and tracking to budget.
  • Acknowledge the AASW in all presentations and publications relating to the research project.
  • Grant recipients are expected to present the outcomes of their research at an appropriate conference or through a relevant publication. Australian Social Work or Social Work Focus should be considered as possible publication destinations.
  • One applicant should be nominated as the Principal Researcher. The Principal Researcher is responsible for the conduct of the grant and reporting to AASW. Up to four Co-Researchers can also be nominated.

Funding rules

  • Research projects can have the support of a partner organisation and this support may be financial or ‘in kind’ funding.
  • Funding cannot be transferred to another institution, project or program.
  • At least one member of the research team must be a member of the AASW.
  • All applications must address all selection criteria on the application form.
  • Conference funding is limited to a maximum of 20% of the total of the grant awarded.
  • Grant recipients are required to provide two reports on the project to the AASW, a progress report at 6-months and a final report at the end of the project.

Funding disbursement

The grant will be disbursed in one payment of $5,000, made on signature of the contract between the AASW and the successful organisation, conditional on the provision of evidence of ethics approval.

Selection criteria

The grant is designed to provide financial support to help to meet the costs of conducting an important piece of practice research including (but not limited to): staffing, travel, library services, recording equipment, costs of an ethics application, software or administrative support. The research must be focused on practice research and it is the intention that the grant supports practitioners undertaking research.

The following selection criteria apply and must be addressed explicitly in the application:

  1. The significance of the practice issue and expected outcomes or contribution.
  2. Links to current practice knowledge, demonstrated by a succinct account of recent research into the field of inquiry and other evidence.
  3. Appropriateness and feasibility of method, timeframe, scale, budget and findings/knowledge dissemination plan.
  4. The qualification of the research team to undertake the project. The team must include at least one current practitioner.

Each of the four selection criteria is assessed according to the following weighting:

Criterion 1 – 20%

Criterion 2 – 20%

Criterion 3 – 40%

Criterion 4 – 20%

The selection committee will comprise three members of the AASW National Research Committee. If required, additional evaluators from the National Research Committee will be invited to form part of the selection committee. All applicants will be advised following final approval from the AASW Board of the National Research Committee’s recommendations. Applicants will be advised in writing.

Submitting your application

The submission must include:

  • A completed application form
  • CV for all applicants (Including research supervisor or research mentor, as appropriate)
  • Any other relevant attachments (e.g. letters of support from relevant organisations).

Applications should be emailed by the due date to:


If you have any queries relating to the AASW Practitioner Research Grant, please contact:

Vanessa Paparone

Email -

Telephone – 03 9320 1014

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers