Marlies Eichler Postdoctoral Fellowship

ASBS supports early career development by providing top-up funding up to $20,000 over two years for post-doctoral researchers. The Fellowship is named for Marlies Eichler, in recognition of her significant bequest, which made this funding possible. This grant scheme is also supported through generous contributions from our membership and donors.

From July 2017 to June 2023, ASBS has distributed $99,424 to 5 recipients of the Marlies Eichler Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Below are details of the Fellowship and a link to the application form.  Applications are due each year on 31 July.

Grant Details

These grants aim to support research in systematic botany and the career development of recent PhD graduates by providing top-up funds to researchers already successful in attracting other postdoctoral support. 

Such top-ups are considered useful because many postdoctoral schemes are not fully funded, in terms of either salary or research costs, and this can limit the research and career opportunities of early career systematists. Providing strategic support to already successful early career systematists aims to facilitate quality research in systematics and also help recent graduates to capitalise on postdoctoral opportunities and improve their competitiveness for more permanent positions.

These grants are for research projects focused on the systematics of land plants, algae or fungi. This can include studies of taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography.

Grants are open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a financial member of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society.
  2. The applicant holds a PhD relevant to systematics of plants, algae or fungi that was completed within the last 10 years.  At a minimum, a PhD must be completed (letter of acceptance by university) by the commencement of grant funding. 
  3. The applicant holds a short-term post-doctoral position at an Australasian research institution. Generally this includes post-doctoral fellowships obtained on a competitive basis from funding agencies (e.g. Australian Biological Resources Study, Australian Research Council, Marsden Fund), or through internal institutional schemes (e.g. university post-doctoral fellowship grants). Other post-doctoral positions will also be considered, but Applicants with ongoing salaried positions are not eligible for these grants.

For the purpose of this fund, Australasia is defined as the area including Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea (including Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya), and the islands of Melanesia (including Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia).

The grant scheme will provide two years of funding.  Up to $10,000 (AUD) per year is available, and a maximum of $20,000 over the two years. Funds can be spent on salary for the applicant or project costs (including consumables, essential minor equipment <$5,000, travel associated with fieldwork, contracted services such as DNA sequencing, and technical assistance).

Applications will be judged on: research track record of the applicant, relative to opportunity (40%); merit of the research project (40%); and value for money (20%), which includes the value of the grant in supporting the activities of recipient, and the nature of additional research the grant will facilitate.

Grant applications will close on July 31.  Funding for successful applicants will commence from November 1, after the completion of necessary agreements. 

If your application requires signatures from your Grants Office, we recommend that you do this step as early as possible, as it may take time to get the appropriate signatures and unforseen delays could impact your chances of submitting your application by the deadline. 

Recipients and their institutions must be able to agree to our standard grant conditions.

Within 12 months of the grant being issued, recipients must send the ASBS Vice President:

  • a progress report, which may be published in the ASBS Newsletter. ASBS will assess the project report and if it is considered satisfactory they will request a tax invoice to initiate payment of the final installment of the grant.

Within 25 months of the grant being issued, recipients must send the ASBS Vice President:

  • a final written report on research progress that can be published as an article in the ASBS newsletter, and
  • a financial report outlining how funds were spent, with expenditure recorded separately for salaries, travel, consumables, equipment purchases over $1000, and contracted services such as DNA sequencing.

For examples of project summary reports from previous projects, please see the list of Previous Recipients.

Please find the application form here.

Completed applications can be submitted either as .pdf files by email (preferred) or in hard copy to the Vice President of the Society in time to meet the deadline.

Frequently Asked Questions

These reports are extremely important to the Society and our efforts to continue supporting quality research with positive outcomes. Eichler reports are read by a broad membership base and help publicise early career researcher profiles in published form. The Society views these as “grant reports with a difference”, which benefit both the recipient as well as the Society. The first year progress report is used to assess whether sufficient progress has been made, and if so, to initiate the second payment to the postdoctoral fellow. The final report should showcase the goals, outcomes and challenges of the two-year postdoctoral fellowship.

The first year progress report is due within one year from the date the grant is awarded. The final report and accompanying financial statement are due 25 months from the date the grant is awarded.

The conditions of the grant state that the first year report is a progress report, whereas the second report is a final research report. In general, both reports should outline the goals, outcomes and challenges of the funded research project. Each report should detail the main aims of the project, and what specific results were achieved using the funds from the grant, for the first year or for both years. The reports can also outline any challenges that were encountered in the lab, field or herbarium over the course of the grant period being reported on, and what new skills or knowledge were learned from these experiences. Although some references may be cited, the reports are not peer-reviewed articles, and should not be used to publish new results. Fellows are encouraged to let their personality shine in their reports and subsequent ASBS newsletter articles, and submit at least one photo to support each of their reports. Fellows are encouraged to read some of the examples of other published reports in previous issues of the ASBS newsletter for ideas and inspiration.

Photos and images should be sent as separate files and should not be embedded within the written report. Figure captions for each image, including photo credits and copyright information where relevant, should be included in the written report.

Typically this will be a Word or Excel file, which includes a table and text. In the table, all the relevant costs should be detailed along with their monetary value. One or two paragraphs summarising or explaining these costs should also accompany the table.

Previous Recipients

No award was given.

Dr Tim Hammer (University of Adelaide) Delineating the diversity of Dilleniaceae: a revisionary synthesis of Hibbertia for the Flora of Australia and investigations into its taxonomy, systematics, evolution and biogeography.

Dr Rachael Fowler (University of Melbourne, Australia) Exploration of the Eremophila glabra complex.

Dr Trevor Wilson (National Herbarium of New South Wales, Sydney) A new key for Australia’s Bugle Subfamily (Ajugoideae: Lamiaceae): a phylogenetically informed taxonomy assisted by next generation sequencing methods.

Dr Lars Nauheimer (Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University, Cairns) Phylogenomics and Taxonomy of the Donkey Orchids (Diuris, Orchidaceae).

Dr Bee Gunn (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and The University of Melbourne) Evolution of polyploidy in Australian Asparagales.


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