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Australia-Japan Foundation 2021 Grant Round FAQs

Can I resubmit a previous application?

Organisations and individuals are welcome to resubmit project proposals from previous applications but would still be required to create a new application in SmartyGrants and meet the eligibility and assessment criteria for the 2021 round.

Can I apply for a project that involves an event several months from now with the notion that international travel between Australia/Japan will be available?

You should make it clear in your application how your project will comply with COVID-19 related restrictions in place at the time you submit your application. Given current international travel restrictions, we encourage applicants to take a pragmatic approach to travel between Japan and Australia for this round. Applications with a travel component should specify a plan for alternative/virtual delivery of the project.

How can I strengthen my grant application?

Read the grant guidelines and ensure your project outcomes are aligned with AJF objectives and priority areas, plus at least one of the cross-cutting themes (youth; gender, diversity and inclusion; and innovation). Demonstrate collaboration between Japanese and Australian partners, including through financial and other (e.g. in-kind) contributions, and develop a good public diplomacy plan. If your project proposal includes travel, you should articulate an alternative/virtual plan to deliver the project.

What can grant money be used for?

You can use the grant to pay for costs detailed in your budget including:

  • Economy flights, modest accommodation costs, meals and travel allowances, other transport, providing travel is in line with COVID-19 restrictions
  • Online or remote communication activities
  • Communication and translation
  • Venue hire and catering, providing use of such facilities is in line with COVID-19 restrictions
  • Advertising and promotion, graphic design, photography and printed material
  • Production costs, including freight and artists’ wages
  • Only one participant per conference or meeting and only where the participant is a principal speaker and the subject of the conference is of direct relevance to the grant opportunity (in line with current government health advice and COVID-19 restrictions).

For activities delivered in Australia, applicants are encouraged to consider the use of an Indigenous supplier, if they intend to subcontract any of the services above. A directory of registered Indigenous businesses is available at

If successful, you can only spend grant funds on eligible grant activities as defined in the grant details in your grant agreement. AJF grants will not be awarded for activities that have already been completed.

Can I apply if I have an existing AJF grant?

Individuals and organisations with outstanding grant acquittals are not eligible for this round.

Can I submit a late application?

Please make sure you submit your application before 2 pm AEST Wednesday 9 June 2021. You will not be able to make a submission in SmartyGrants after the deadline.

What is the AJF looking for in this round?

The grant guidelines provide information about eligibility and assessment criteria. The AJF Board would also like to highlight the following key points:

Diversity of projects. There's no quota for theme or for type of project, but we do notice that a lot of the applications tend to cluster in the big metropolitan areas in both Australia and in Japan.  We're very interested in hearing from people and organisations in locations that are outside big metropolitan areas.

Non-commercial activities. We sometimes get applications for support for what are routine business operations. And if that's the kind of activity the person or organisation is engaged in, it would be more appropriate to have a conversation with our colleagues in Austrade instead of seeking support from the AJF.

The right phase in the research project. We receive a lot of very high-quality applications from universities and research institutes. We’re very interested in research; however, the AJF’s mandate is not to support the creation of research. We’re really interested in communicating the results i.e. the phase of the project where the impact and the visibility of both Australia's and Japan's research capabilities can really be shown to the public and shared with the wider community.

Any other tips?

Here are some tips from the AJF Board.

  1. Have a good idea, work out how you're going to execute it and find a keen Japanese partner to help you with it.
  2. Write the application for a non-specialist reader and have someone else read it before you submit.
  3. Make the impact of the project clear. If the AJF supports your project, what will be new that couldn’t be done without AJF support?
  4. Demonstrate the viability of the project by making the co-contributions clear. What will project partners bring to the table, either in cash or in-kind support?
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