VU Research offers a number of scholarships for graduate researchers with the Moondani Balluk Academic Unit.

Moondani Balluk means 'embrace people' in the language of the Wurundjeri people who first lived in the western region of Melbourne.

The Moondani Balluk Academic Unit works across Aboriginal, non-governmental organisation, and community spaces to deliver teaching, research and support.

Scholarships on this page:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Research Scholarships
  • Lisa Bellear Indigenous Research Scholarship
  • Foley Collection Research Scholarship.

Cultural warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that these pages contain the names of people who have passed away.

Paola Balla's Moondani Balluk design shows the embodying relationship between the University and Moondani Balluk and the meaning of 'embracing people' – being embraced by VU.

Acknowledgement of Country

Victoria University (VU) acknowledges the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Boonwurrung, Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) and Wathaurung (Wadawurrung) on our Melbourne campuses, and the Gadigal and Guring-gai people of the Eora Nation on our Sydney campus. These groups are the custodians of University land and have been for many centuries.

We acknowledge that the land on which our campuses stand is the place of age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal. The Kulin and Eora people’s living culture had, and has, a unique role in the life of these regions. VU supports the aim of Reconciliation Australia to build better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the benefit of all Australians.


Victoria University recognises that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people are under-represented in graduate research studies and encourages qualified Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicants to undertake their research studies at Victoria University.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Research Scholarships are for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people wishing to undertake a research degree at Victoria University. Preference will be given to applicants for the Master of Research degree.

  • Annual stipend value: $30,000 per year (2019 rate)
  • Tuition fees: covered by the Research Training Program

The Lisa Bellear PhD scholarship is granted to a promising Indigenous Australian researcher wishing to undertake a graduate research degree.

Applicants for the Lisa Bellear Indigenous Research Scholarship must:

  • be Australian citizens, or have been granted permanent resident status (this includes New Zealand citizens who are granted permanent residency status on arrival)
  • be an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander.


  • Annual stipend value: $30,000 per year (2019 rate)
  • Tuition fees: covered by the Research Training Program

About Lisa Bellear

Lisa Bellear (1961-2006) was a Goernpil woman of the Noonuccal people of the Minjerribah, Queensland. She was a poet, photographer, activist, dramatist, comedian, broadcaster and academic. She lost her mother and connection to her family when she was only weeks old and overcame some of her personal grief and loss through her 'adoption' into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victoria, particularly the Harding family. She traced her biological family and went on to be an accomplished, caring and strong woman. Lisa was passionate about social change, she was always participating and contributing to campaigns and protests and always out on the streets with her camera.

Lisa graduated from The University of Melbourne in social work and was employed as an academic at The University of Melbourne, LaTrobe University and Victoria University. She wrote a book of poetry Dreaming in Urban Areas (UQP, 1996) and was a founding member of the Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative, the oldest Indigenous Theatre company in Australia. An avid photographer, Lisa took thousands of photographs over many years while she engaged in Aboriginal politics. She read at literary festivals, pubs and conferences across Australia and was published in literary journals, newspapers and anthologies. She broadcast on 3CR in the Not Another Koori Show for more than 20 years.

She was a friend, colleague and staunch supporter of the Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit and her skills and expertise are carried on through the VU graduates that she taught and mentored in the Bachelor of Education/Arts (Nyerna Studies) program.

Lisa herself best summed up the demands and gift of her poetry: “You can allow your eyes and heart to see. See the injustice, cruelty; and you can also hear the laughter and the love.”

The Foley Collection Research Scholarship is to enable graduate research projects which use the Foley Collection – a selection of digital works from a major historic archive collected over the past 45 years by Aboriginal activist and academic Gary Foley.

It is part of a large scale archive of print, audio visual and digital material currently housed at the Victoria University Moondani Balluk Academic Unit.

Applicants for the Foley Collection Graduate Research Scholarship can be domestic or international students.

  • Annual stipend value: $27,600 per year (2019 rate)
  • Tuition fees: covered


Application guide

More information on all scholarships can be found in the 2020 Moondani Balluk Research Scholarships Guide.

How to apply

For information about applying for a scholarship please refer to the instructions detailed on Apply for a graduate research scholarship.

Applications are not being taken at this time. This page will be updated with a link to the application form when applications open.