Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows

Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows

The Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowships are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree research candidates seeking to establish themselves and evolve as researchers through a PhD.

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Registration now closed

Registrations for 2020 intake are now closed.

About the Program

The RMIT Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowships are part of RMITs commitment in providing early career opportunities for Indigenous research students. 

This program will aim to further build and develop Indigenous academic capability at RMIT, and Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. 

Successful applicants receive: 

  • a Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship for four years
  • Academic Level A commencing salary
  • Early career researcher’s development program, which provides the opportunity to significantly build their research track record and reputation, supported by training, development and mentorship.

Academic Capability Development Programs

Building on your experience in Honour(s), Masters by Research or Coursework, we have developed an academic/professional development program at RMIT, which will further develop your research capability in a supportive learning environment. 

This will include, but not limited to:

  • Developing successful relationships with supervisors
  • Development, planning and writing a thesis
  • Effective research methodology 
  • Understanding Higher Education

In the early years of your PhD, you will also be involved in a mentoring program.

What you will do

As part of the Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Pre-Doctorial Research Fellows, you will:

  • Complete all requisite PhD milestones appropriate to a fulltime PhD candidature 
  • Conduct research under supervision towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in an appropriate discipline, undertake all necessary coursework requirements for the PhD degree program and maintain satisfactory progress in the completion of the research program in line with the university’s requirements
  • Undertake limited engagement, teaching and supervision activities as required
  • Undertake appropriate professional and academic development in support of PhD, teaching and supervision duties.

About You

What does it take to be a Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow?

In short, it’s a Fellowship that’s as ambitious as you are.

We’re looking for early career researchers who are committed to a career in Higher Education. Switched-on, collaborative and curious thinkers who have the inspiration, drive and ideas to change Australia – and the world – for the better.

If you are courageous, passionate, self-motivated researcher who wants to make an impact – stay in touch and apply for next year's intake!

Hear from other fellows

As an RMIT Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow, you will become part of the Indigenous research network, the wider Indigenous Staff Network and the Ngarara Willim Community. Hear from some of our current pre-doctoral researchers.
Meet Our Fellows

Meet RMIT's Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows from previous years as they share their experience with the University. The 2020 Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowships are open until 11 October to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree research candidates seeking to establish themselves and evolve as researchers through a PhD.

Vc fellows, megan.

Megan Kelleher on the Ngarara Willim Centre

“I do use the centre, and I love being able to go in there and meet other smart and deadly blackfellas and learn about their work, and the things that they’re inspired by and thinking about. I love being able to help them out when I can, either with stuff I’ve learned, opportunities I know about, or connecting them with people who I think could be great collaborative contacts.” - Megan Kelleher, Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Media and Communication


To be eligible for admission to an RMIT University research program, applicants must meet the minimum requirements for admission to a PhD program as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree requiring at least four years of full-time study in a relevant discipline awarded with honours. The degree should include a research component comprised of a thesis, other research projects or research methodology courses that constitute at least 25% of a full-time academic year (or part-time equivalent). The applicant must have achieved at least a distinction average in the final year; or
  • A master’s degree that includes a research component comprised of at least 25% of a full-time academic year (or part-time equivalent) with an overall distinction average or a master’s degree without a research component with at least a high distinction average; or
  • Evidence of appropriate academic qualifications and/or experience that satisfies the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development or nominee that the applicant has developed knowledge of the field of study or cognate field and the potential for research sufficient to undertake the proposed program.

At RMIT a grade of distinction represents academic achievement of 70% or higher and a high distinction is 80% or higher.

The Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship is an identified opportunity under ‘Special Measures’ of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act 2010. This means that only Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are eligible to apply. Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage is required and you will need to submit this during the ‘Register Your Interest’ process. 

The Ngarara Willim Centre supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and student within the University. For support, email

Selection process

  1. Register your interest
  2. Complete PhD Expression of Interest
  3. Complete PhD full application including research plan
  4. PhD evaluation
  5. Interviews
  6. Reference checks & offer
  7. Onboarding

Key dates

Contact us

For enquiries, please contact  

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer