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Seven projects of outstanding significance to share $1.2 million in further grants from Indigenous Research Exchange

Seven additional projects led by First Nations researchers covering a broad range of initiatives – including cultural landscape management practices in a variety of contexts, the transfer of cultural knowledge, and recording land inheritance practices – have secured funding under the AIATSIS-directed Indigenous Research Exchange Grants Program.

This latest group of grants targets specific research needs, and it supplements the grants announced in August under the current round of funding. The seven additional grants were awarded due to the compelling nature of the proposed research. Each project is led by Indigenous researchers and each will have relevance and impact beyond the community and project.

The latest tranche of project grants total $1.2 million.  

The Indigenous Research Exchange was established in 2018 as a grants program and as a platform for knowledge exchange. It aims to support the agency of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in research projects, with the result of improved outcomes in research translations, utilisation and data sovereignty. 

In 2021 the Exchange received 152 applications for funding. Two calls for submissions through open rounds and two commissioned pieces of research have resulted in funding support for 33 projects, including those announced today. 

Recognising the significant worth in a number of projects that had missed out on grants announced earlier this year, the Indigenous Research Exchange Advisory Board recommended that AIATSIS release additional funds to support highly-recommended applications that meet gaps in the current evidence base.  

The Chief Executive Officer of AIATSIS, Mr Craig Ritchie, noted the strength of the Indigenous leadership in this round of projects. 
‘We are truly excited to support such a breadth of initiatives.’ Mr Ritchie said.

‘Geographically, these projects span the Torres Strait to South Australia, and cover themes as diverse as cultural resurgence through native food plant cultivation, to centring Indigenous voices and perspectives in literacy and curriculum development. What ties all the projects together however, is the research being undertaken by, with and for Indigenous peoples.’

The seven projects complete this stage of Indigenous Research Exchange funding. The Exchange will continue to look for opportunities to support outstanding Indigenous led research.

Each funding year, the Indigenous Research Exchange Advisory Board engages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to establish research theme priorities. These are used by an independent panel of experts to assess project proposals for recommendation to AIATSIS. The priorities this year are:

  • Valuing Indigenous knowledge and methods
  • Cultural resurgence and resilience
  • Indigenous governance and prosperity
  • Rethinking engagement with governments
  • Opportunities provided by technological change.

Supplementary Indigenous Research Exchange grants November 2021

Applicant Project title Description
Wabubadda Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Reinstating Jirrbal cultural landscapes within Queensland's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Jirrbal Aboriginal People will coordinate a multidisciplinary research project for the long-term management of a unique cultural landscape within Queensland's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, contributing to our understanding of past and present tropical environments.
Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation Empowering young Indigenous readers:
Re-defining literacy through an engagement with published Indigenous texts.
Developing a community-informed definition of literacy, this project will engage Indigenous research methodologies to understand the ways in which books by Indigenous creators can empower young Indigenous readers, impacting their well-being, cultural identity and learning.
University of Melbourne (on behalf of Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation) Murnong on Maar Country Australian agriculture relies on crops imported from Europe, ignoring the productive plant foods farmed before colonisation. Here, we will study the historical distribution and cultivation systems of murnong (yam daisy) on Eastern Maar lands.
Children's Ground Limited By us, for us - Understanding and measuring First Nations cultural learning and wellbeing First Nations people in the Northern Territory designing, undertaking and analysing data collection to understand cultural learning and wellbeing for children and young people – for intergenerational cultural transmission and program evaluation.
The University of Queensland Binung Ma Na Du: Cultural stories and living histories on Wakka Wakka Country To effectively teach language in schools, local curriculum resources are vital. This project investigates how Wakka Wakka traditional owners, community and schools can effectively co-design local curriculum materials in developing local language and cultural curriculum.
Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and land Council Digital Recording and Video of Torres Strait Islander Stories and Cultural Practices around inheritance and transfer of traditional lands. Digitally capture, video and record stories and cultural practices around land inheritance and transfer within Torres Strait Islander tribal and family groups.
Australian National University (partnering with the Mayi Kuwayu Study) Yarrabah Counts – Policy, planning, population, measures and monitoring. The project aims to design & implement a community development data toolbox consisting of a monitoring & reporting system in Yarrabah that can also assist other Aboriginal communities to design & implement their development agenda.

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