The Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research

The Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research honours Australians in the early part of their career who have achieved excellence in scholarship in one or more fields of the social sciences.

About the award

The Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research (formerly Academy Early Career Award), replaces the Academy Award for Younger Scholars which was introduced in 1987.  The award is named in honour of the Academy’s past president Paul Francis Bourke (1938–1999) who was a product of the History school at the University of Melbourne who went on to become one of the first Australian historians to obtain American style doctoral training.

Whilst at Flinders University, he served as Professor of American Studies and also as Pro-Vice Chancellor. From Flinders University, he went on to become the Director of the RSSS at ANU and also served as the President of ASSA (1993-1997). Amongst scholars the contribution Paul made to the field of performance measurement is considered to be invaluable.

Each Panel of the Academy will select one outstanding scholar to be considered for the Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research, based on the nominations received from Fellows. From these the Paul Bourke Award recipient is selected. This award comprises a Citation and Medallion presented to the winner, who is invited to receive the award at the Academy Annual Dinner. With the agreement of the winner’s home university, the jointly-sponsored Paul Bourke Lecture will be delivered by the winner during the year following receipt of the Award.

Early Career Researcher Commendations of the Academy of the Social Sciences will be presented to the remaining shortlisted Panel nominees, possibly at the Academy Annual Dinner. An alternative event, where the awardee/s will be invited to make a presentation about his/her work, may be organised at State Branch level.


Nominations for the Award will firstly be judged by the Academy’s relevant Panel Committees, to create a shortlist of candidates, one for each Panel. Final judging, to determine the winner of the Paul Bourke Award will be by the remainder of the Early Career Award Committee: the President, Chair of the Public Forums Committee and the Executive Director.


Nominations are called for in May and are to be submitted to the Manager, Fellowship (Michelle.Bruce [at] no later than 10 July each year.

The Nomination

The Nomination Form can be obtained from the Secretariat or downloaded from the Fellows Area of the website. The form is to be submitted and signed by two Fellows of the Academy and requires:

  • A citation of not more than 150 words setting out the case for the nominated scholar
  • The names and contact details of two referees who will be contacted to evaluate the scholarly contribution of the nominee (the referees need not be Fellows of the Academy)
  • A full CV for the nominee.

Nominators should make their nominee/s aware of the date of the Annual Dinner to ensure they are available to receive their award should they be successful.

Selection Criteria

  1. Excellence in scholarship in the social sciences.
  2. A PhD in the social sciences, awarded not more than eight years prior to the time of nomination, excluding time which may have been devoted exclusively to maternity/paternity leave or other carer responsibilities.
  3. A record of achievement in scholarly publication with emphasis on recent work, especially in leading international journals and/or books published by leading publishers. Additional evidence of achievement includes: prizes, grants, scholarships, presentations at leading international conferences, and/or contribution to the advancement of public policy in the social sciences.
  4. Australian citizenship or permanent resident status.
  5. The nominated scholar must not be a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences.
  6. The nominated scholar must not have previously won the Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research or an Early Career Researcher Commendation of the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Past Recipients

Muireann Irish                       2016

Philip Batterham                   2015

Emma Kowal                        2014

Anina Rich                            2013

Paul Dux                               2012

Linda Graham                     2011

Christy Newman                 2010

Mark A Bellgrove               2009

Murat Yucel                        2008

Jason Sharman                  2007

Andrew Leigh                     2006

Jennifer Hudson                2006

Thomas Suddendorf         2005

Alex Bellamy                      2004

Lisa Maher                         2003

Jason B Mattingley          2002

Robert Hill                        2001

Kaarin Anstey                   2001

Andrea Whittaker           2000

Richard Bryant                1999

Chandran Kukathas       1998

Jeff Borland                     1997

Tony Aspromourgos      1996

Kay J Anderson              1995

Debbie Terry                  1994

John Quiggin                 1993

Robert Cribb                 1992

Peter Higgs                   1991

Vicki Lee                      1990

Gregory Whitwell      1989

Wojciech Sadurski    1988

Richard Fox               1987


Contact Information

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

  • Location: 26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
  • Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
  • +61 .2 62491788
  • +61 .2 62474335

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