Now open: 2024 Iain McCalman Honours Research Award

27 November 2023
Applications are open for the 2024 Iain McCalman Honours Research Award. Eligible students can apply to receive a bursary of $2,000 and unique access to the Macleay Collections, in the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney.

The Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) has partnered with the Chau Chak Wing Museum (CCWM) and its Macleay Collections, and SEI founding member Professor Emeritus Iain McCalman to provide the Iain McCalman Honours Research Award.

This award provides a chance for one student to access the oldest entomology collection in Australia. They will have the chance to explore and use the Macleay Collections and to use the objects and specimens as a provocation for considering global and/or local environmental change.

Along with the insect, mammal, bird, fish and shell specimens of natural history CCWM’s Macleay curators care for a wealth of material including the historically rich collections of Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islanders’ cultural objects, historic photographic records, scientific instruments relating to the story of scientific practice in Australia, and other material reflecting on the museum’s history itself. The Award invites students to view these historical objects as a leaping-off point for thinking about the past and future in a warming world.

The award is open to all eligible students, but applications are encouraged from students with a background in the following areas:

  • humanities, art and visual culture;
  • the history and philosophy of science and human cultures;
  • architecture and design;
  • bio and geosciences;
  • oceanic and undersea marine sciences.


In addition to access to the Macleay Collections, and to the SEI’s global network of leading environmental scholars, the Iain McCalman Honours Award provides candidates with:

  • mentoring from a senior academic outside but complementary to the candidate’s discipline to promote multidisciplinary thinking.
  • a bursary of $2,000 towards research costs.
  • the opportunity to collaborate on multidisciplinary projects with researchers across the University.
  • the opportunity to contribute toward multi-authored articles and other outputs.
  • a hot desk in the SEI office in the Quadrangle (for the duration of the Fellowship).


  • Applicants must be intending to undertake environmental research that is in line with at least one of SEI’s research themes.
  • Have an overall mark of at least 70% across undergraduate units.
  • Enrolled at the University of Sydney and applied for/been accepted into Honours for Semester 1, 2024.

How to apply

Please complete the online application form. You will be required to include the following documents:

  • Proof that you have applied or been accepted to undertake Honours in Semester 1, 2024. This can include a copy of your acceptance letter, or evidence of your pending application.
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript (it does not need to be a certified copy).
  • Your CV with details on your academic/non-academic achievements.

The application form also includes: 

  • Details of your current degree and status, your major(s) and department or school, and your Honours supervisor (if known).
  • Proposed project description and how it aligns to SEI's research themes.
  • Personal statement.

Applications for the Iain McCalman Research Award close on 22 February 2024 (11.59pm AEDT).

For any questions, please contact with 'Iain McCalman Research Award' in the subject line. 

Header image: Carl Bento via Macleay Museum.

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