The Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship was established by ex-wartime Spitfire pilots and ground crew, the Australian Spitfire Association and leading private and corporate supporters to create a lasting and dynamic memorial to the important contribution of the Spitfire and its Squadrons during World War II. The Fellowship Fund provides for the award of an annual Fellowship, which is administered through UNSW Canberra.

The award in 2024

The Fellowship is valued up to $60,000. The project for which the award is made must be completed by the end of 2024.


The Fellowship provides encouragement for the development of advanced knowledge and expertise which aids the defence of Australia. It provides financial support and public recognition for the undertaking of programs of study or research at appropriate organisations which meet the criteria set out below.


The Fellowship is open to Australian citizens who are suitably qualified graduates or who have significant relevant work experience. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in advancing the available knowledge and expertise which will lead to an improvement in our defence-related sovereign capability, by developing a proposal to undertake a program of study or research at appropriate organisations.

The proposed project

The proposed project should make an identifiable and measurable step-change difference to Australia, including the defence of Australia, and focus on Australian sovereign capability and industry. The proposal must have a short- to medium-term impact (1-5 years) and may have medium- to long-term impacts.

Selection criteria

Applications are assessed against the following criteria:

  • sustained academic achievement or significant and relevant work experience
  • a detailed description of and rationale for the proposed program of research or area of study including the proposed output
  • demonstrated interest in the defence of Australia.

Please note:

  • The Fellowship cannot be used to cover salary. 
  • Attention will be paid by the Selection Committee to the quality of the project proposed and the potential outcomes.

Fellow reporting arrangements

At the conclusion of the study or research program, a Fellow will be required to submit a written report to the Rector, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the President, Spitfire Association. A report template will be provided.

Application process

Applications should include:

  • a complete online application form which includes a detailed description of the proposed project and proposed output and outcomes
  • a detailed curriculum vitae
  • the names and contact details of four referees qualified to assess the proposed program of research or area of study
  • a detailed description of the proposed project and proposed output 
  • a detailed justified budget for consideration and evaluation (note - the selection committee reserves the right to adjust the budget upwards or downwards following a discussion with the prospective candidate)
  • proof of Australian citizenship
  • a covering letter addressing the selection criteria.

Applications close COB Friday 30 June 2023. Late applications will not be accepted. 

Applications must be submitted by completing the Spitfire Fellowship Application Form.

If you wish to discuss the application process, please contact us via

No award shall be made in any year in which, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, there is no applicant of sufficient merit.