Australia-Japan Foundation

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Australia-Japan Foundation Grant Program for 2014-15

The Australia-Japan Foundation’s Grant Program for 2014-15, for projects commencing between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015, is currently open.

Grant applications can be submitted up until Friday 4 April at 1900 (AEST) or 1700 pm (Japan) using the smartygrants - online application form.

Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) grants are intended to provide seed funding for innovative proposals relevant to the objectives and key themes of the AJF (listed below). These include proposals which demonstrate the potential for the development of long-term links between individuals and institutions in Australia and their counterparts in Japan. In addition to the objectives and themes set out below, the AJF Board continues to be interested in receiving grant applications for proposals that aim to assist communities in the Tohoku region of Japan recover from the Greater Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011.

As applications are assessed against the AJF funding guidelines, all applicants should familiarise themselves with these guidelines before submitting the online application for funding.

The online application form will only be available until Friday 4 April 2014 until 1900 pm (AEST) or 1700 pm (Japan). Enquiries may be directed to the AJF Secretariat on (02) 6261 3898 (Australia) or +81-3-5232-4065 (Japan) or email t at ( and

Dates for 2014-15 Grant Round
Closing date for submitting applications Friday 4 April 7pm AEST; 5pm Japan
Successful applicants notified pending confirmation of government funding allocation in mid-July 2014 Mid-July 2014
Unsuccessful applicants notified End of June 2014

The following are Guidelines for Funding Applicants and Recipients:

Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) grants are intended to provide seed funding for innovative proposals relevant to the objectives and objectives and themes of the AJF (see below). These include proposals which demonstrate the potential for the development of long-term links between individuals and institutions in Australia and their counterparts in Japan.

As applications are assessed against these Funding Guidelines, applicants should familiarise themselves with these before submitting an application for funding under the AJF Grants Program.

Information for Potential AJF Grant Applicants and Recipients:

On this page

AJF Objectives and Themes

The AJF provides funding to projects which are aligned with its three strategic objectives which are to:

  1. increase understanding in Japan of shared interests with Australia;
  2. increase understanding in Australia of the importance of Japan to Australia as an economic and strategic partner; and
  3. increase recognition in Japan of Australian excellence and expertise.

Themes of the AJF are:

  • Reconstruction of the Tohoku Region
  • Economics and Trade
  • Security, Regional and International Relations
  • Society and Culture
  • Education and Science
  • Communication, Information and Advocacy

Wherever possible, the AJF seeks to expand people-to-people and institutional links through programs, partnerships with other organisations and seed funding of projects to enable them to grow.

The AJF Board is interested in receiving grant applications for projects that aim to assist communities in the Tohoku region of Japan recover from the Greater Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011. Examples of projects supported under the theme of Reconstruction, as well as the other five themes, can be found on DFAT’s website reporting grants by financial year for 2011-12; 2012-13 and 2013-14 (please refer to ).

Frequency of AJF Grant Funding Rounds

The AJF Secretariat will conduct at least one grant round each financial year. Generally, this round will be advertised in January on the websites of the AJF, Australian Embassy in Tokyo and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Any subsequent grants rounds within a financial year will be advertised on these websites.


Individuals, organisations or a collaboration of both may apply for AJF grant funding. Where a conflict of interest exists, or may be perceived to exist, the AJF Secretariat should be contacted to clarify eligibility and/or obligations under Commonwealth conflict of interest guidelines.

Generally, the AJF does not fund projects over more than three successive years. The AJF Secretariat should be contacted to clarify eligibility if you have previously received an AJF grant.

If you have submitted an application in a previous AJF grant funding round but have been unsuccessful, you are encouraged to reapply for funding in future rounds.

Generally, no person or organisation may hold more than one AJF grant at any given time.

Grants will not be provided to individuals or organisations that have failed to provide a proper acquittal of an earlier grant provided by the AJF.

How to Apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications using the online smartygrants application (online grant application form). Applications should only be sent by email or mail after consultation with the AJF Secretariat.

The online application form needs to be completed in full and all requested documentation uploaded. Please do not provide more than two references. Supporting material such as CDs and DVDs are not required. Applications must also be in English. Applications that do not meet this minimum requirement will be deemed ineligible.

Applications must be received by the deadline specified in the advertisement of the grants round. The AJF has no obligation to consider applications received after the specified submission period.

In exceptional circumstances, applications received outside of the normal grant funding rounds may be considered by the AJF on an ad-hoc basis at its discretion and subject to the availability of grant funds.

Preparing Your Application

Please ensure you have:

  • Completed all mandatory fields on the application form.
  • Attached a minimum of two references that demonstrate an established record of achievement in the development and management of projects relevant to the proposed area of endeavour. Please note: failure to provide at least two references will mean that the Secretariat is not able to assess the application as ‘suitable’. Where possible, referees should comment on:
    • their relationship to the applicant;
    • their involvement or interest, if any, in the project;
    • the project's objectives and the strategies to achieve them;
    • the perceived benefit to the bilateral relationship of the project; and
    • the applicant's ability to complete the project and to administer project funds.
  • Clearly demonstrated how your proposal meets the objectives of the AJF.
  • Made adequate provision for all likely expenses. The AJF will not normally consider requests for supplementary funding.
  • Ensure that the proposed budget is accurate and realistic. Costs requested from the AJF should be marked by an asterisk.
    Please note:
    1. all expenditure is to be acquitted against the original budget following completion of the project; and
    2. any changes in expenditure items above ten per cent need to be approved in writing by the AJF Secretariat.

Applicants should be aware that AJF Board members may not be familiar with individuals or organisations or the field of proposed activity. As the AJF Board's decision will be based on the information provided, applicants should ensure all information provided is accurate, clear and comprehensive.

Application Assessment Process

Stage 1

All grant applications received during the relevant funding round will be acknowledged in writing by the Secretariat via email.

Stage 2

Applications are initially considered and assessed by the AJF Secretariat on the basis of appraisal criteria which is set out below. All applications, including those not recommended for consideration by the Secretariat, are forwarded to the AJF Board accompanied by the reasons for recommendation or rejection.

Stage 3

The AJF Board reviews the initial assessments of the Secretariat and makes the final decision on each application. This process is usually conducted at the next formal meeting of the Board following the closure of the grants round. This is expected to be held in late May or early June 2014. The AJF Board may review rejected applications and change their status to "recommend for consideration". The AJF Board may also choose to reject applications initially recommended for consideration. All decisions are fully documented.

Stage 4

All applications will be notified in writing (either email or letter) of the outcome of their funding application.

Stage 5

A funding agreement with the recipient is finalised by AJF Secretariat.

Stage 6

Grant details advertised on the DFAT website following signature of Funding Agreement.

Please note: The AJF reserves the right not to fund projects even if all criteria are met. The AJF will consider a range of issues when selecting successful projects including, but not limited to, the availability of funding, the spread of projects across Japan and Australia and the spread of projects across the AJF's identified themes.

Appraisal Criteria

Does the proposal meet the AJF's mission, goals and themes?

The AJF welcomes all applications for projects that further its mission and goals. Applications that do not clearly demonstrate this will not be approved. The AJF specifically considers whether:

  • The activity would involve a sharing or transfer of expertise from which individuals or institutions in both countries will benefit and in ways that directly advance AJF objectives.
  • The activity includes a wider program that will directly advance the AJF's objectives.
  • The activity will result in an expansion of links in new areas in ways consistent with the AJF's objectives.

Please note: activities that are commercially viable in their own right or will be of a commercial benefit to the recipient (eg promotion of the recipient's business) will not be approved regardless of how well they meet the criteria.

Activities Not Funded

The Australia-Japan Foundation has a policy of supporting innovative proposals in a broad range of areas. Grants are not normally available for the following purposes:

  • Capital expenditure in real property, equipment or computer software.
  • Conference travel. An exception to the general rule may be made for participants in conferences when the subject of the conference is of direct relevance to the Australia-Japan relationship and the applicant is a leader in the field. Applicants must also demonstrate that a substantial program will be arranged before and/or after the conference.
  • Funding support to grant-giving organisations for activities mainly involving their own personnel.
  • Activities that are properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies (e.g. development assistance projects, activities under bilateral science and technology agreements, projects normally handled by Austrade, etc.).
  • Activities that are properly the responsibility of the host institution, e.g., post graduate students applying for travel assistance to do field work as part of their thesis will not normally be considered.
  • Activities that are commercially viable in their own right.
  • Any project in which the Australia-Japan component is incidental to the main aims of the project.
  • New applicants will receive preference over applicants who have received a grant or travel grant in the past three years.
  • Activities undertaken by schools where travel by a significant number of students is the principal element of the proposal.
  • Employment of research assistants, administrative staff, etc., or the payment of administrative charges levied by the applicant's organisation (fees for artists/performers which are specific to the project may be requested).
  • Translation costs other than for Japanese-language material/s.
  • Funding of completed projects, or recurrent funding of projects.
  • Salaries and Honorariums that are part of the normal operating costs. Salary costs, including artist/s fees that are specific to the project may be funded, however, you should seek clarification with the Secretariat on eligibility for funding.

Does the proposal fall under the definition of a grant?

If an applicant requests funding principally to fund an activity they will carry out with no direct financial or in-kind (such as goods and services) benefit to DFAT (for example, to host an independent conference) to further a shared aim of developing people-to-people links between Australia and Japan, then the proposal falls under the definition of a grant.

However, if the funding proposal gives rise to an expectation of a direct reciprocal benefit to DFAT, that is, some financial or 'in kind' benefit, all or part of the funding would be treated as a procurement and subject to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. In the above example, if a potential grant recipient is delivering a conference on behalf of DFAT and the funding request includes a specified amount for management services, this component would be excluded from the grant process and treated as a procurement. This is because DFAT benefits from the management services provided.

Does the applicant have a Japanese/Australian partner?

Grant applications that include a confirmed Japanese/Australian partner or collaboration will be viewed favourably by the AJF when assessing proposals.

Where projects are to be undertaken in conjunction with, or part funded by, a Japanese or Australian organisation, applicants must be able to demonstrate on request that the counterpart has confirmed their participation and/or involvement to ensure the success of the project.

Has the applicant sought supplementary assistance from other sources?

Grant applicants that have supplementary financial assistance from other sources, including the applicant's own resources or corporate sponsors, will be viewed favourably by the AJF when assessing proposals. In-kind support (such as accommodation and services provided without charge in either country) is also viewed favourably.

How large is the grant amount requested?

Applicants should be aware that most grants awarded are in the range of AUD5,000-40,000. The AJF has limited grant funds available each financial year and the best allocation of these funds across the range of possible AJF activities must be considered

Larger grants may be considered for approval but only in the case of particularly worthwhile projects.

The AJF reserves the right to provide less funding than that sought by the applicant.

Does the proposal include items that cannot be funded as grant?

Commonwealth Government guidelines restrict the types of expenditure that may be covered under a grant funding arrangement. Applications that include requests for any of the following types of expenditure may not be approved. Partial approval of such applications to exclude these costs may be considered as an alternative.

  • Grants may not be used to fund administrative support or management costs such as wages or salaries of permanent employees.
  • Grants may not be used to subsidise normal operating expenses or overheads.
  • Grants are generally not be used to cover capital expenditure, eg real estate or purchase of equipment.

Is the proposal properly the responsibility of other funding bodies or other government agencies?

Generally, grants are not awarded to proposals where funding would be more appropriately sought from other funding bodies or other government agencies such as universities, institutions such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Austrade, the Australian Research Council, etc.

Role of AJF Secretariat Staff

The role of AJF Secretariat staff in Canberra and Tokyo is to:

  • provide information and advice to the Board to assist its determination of policy and its assessment of grant applications.
  • provide information to potential applicants for grants.
  • administer and monitor the program to enable a flexible, fair and efficient assessment process in the interests of both the decision-makers and applicants and in accordance with ‘best practice’ principles of the Australian National Audit Office.

AJF Secretariat staff do not make decisions on funding applications.

Conflict of Interest

The AJF Board members and Secretariat staff must disclose actual or perceived conflict of interest in any matter to be considered in which they are formally involved. Depending on the nature and extent of the conflict, they may be required not to take part in any discussion or decision-making process involving the conflict. Such disclosures will be formally recorded.

DFAT employees are required to comply with the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1999 and the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. DFAT’s Conduct and Ethics Manual ensures that any conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, do not influence decision making. The manual is available online at

Approved Grants - Obligations of AJF Grant Recipients

Funding Agreement

Following official notification that a grant proposal has been approved, the applicant must enter into a funding agreement with the AJF/DFAT. Samples of the two commonly used standard AJF/DFAT funding agreements may be viewed below under Standard Forms.

The AJF Secretariat will prepare the funding agreement for each recipient after the application has been approved and will also forward the following documents to applicants applying from Australia (ie not applicable to applicants in Japan):

  • an e-commerce form to obtain the Australian Business Number (ABN), applicable GST information and bank details to facilitate grant payments; and
  • an AJF consent form to gain consent to publish grant recipient details on the AJF website.

Funding Agreements are binding legal documents and all funding recipients must abide by the clauses contained in agreements. Failure to do so will result in a breach of contract and may see the withdrawal of funds or the commencement of legal action.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Requirements Applicable only to applicants applying in Australia (ie not applicable to applicants in Japan)

GST is payable on grants where:

  • The funding recipient is registered for GST.
  • A binding agreement is entered into where the grant recipient is required to supply goods or services to the Department or another party in return for the grant. (Note: a report by the recipient on how they spent the grant does not constitute a supply).
  • The supply of goods and services is made through an enterprise that the supplier operates in Australia. (Note: services such as artistic performances may be exempt from GST where the service is used or enjoyed wholly overseas).

It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to determine their taxation obligations. If the recipient is unsure, he/she should seek professional advice. Additional detailed guidance on the application of GST to grants is available from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) publication GST and Grants.

If the grant recipient does not have an ABN and is not registered for GST, the recipient should provide a completed Statement by Supplier form. Where this form is provided, the grant is paid exclusive of GST. Where this form is not provided, the Department must withhold 45.6% of the grant and remit the amount to the ATO.

The amount applied for should be exclusive of GST. If you are registered for GST, the AJF will add that amount to your grant.

Timeframes for funding

AJF grant funding is only valid for payment in the financial year for which it has been awarded (actual project activities may extend beyond the boundaries of a financial year, particularly if funding is received late in the financial year). If the funding cannot be taken up within the specified period, it may be withdrawn. Successful grant applicants must advise the AJF Secretariat of any delay in the proposed activity as soon as they become aware of such a situation. The AJF may consider requests for extension.

Variations to existing grants must be properly documented through a formal variation to the original Funding Agreement. The AJF Secretariat will facilitate this if necessary.


All AJF grant recipients must acknowledge the support of the AJF on any promotional materials or publications they produce and during the course of the activity they undertake.

The AJF logo should be used where possible and may be requested by contacting the AJF Secretariat or downloaded from the AJF logo section of this website.

Invitations to AJF Board members for key events associated with the project are highly desirable and successful grantees should discuss with the Secretariat at an early juncture in the project ways in which the AJF Chair or Board members may have an official role such as delivering an address at a project event (eg launch/opening ceremony)

If the project involves guests travelling to Australia or Japan, the AJF Secretariat should be advised as early as possible, preferably at least one month prior to the arrival date of the guests, to provide an opportunity for appropriate AJF involvement.


Funding recipients are responsible for making all arrangements associated with travel for their project including:

  • visa arrangements and associated charges
  • travel bookings
  • airport taxes
  • ground transport
  • travel and health insurance
  • medical and hospital insurance cover for visitors not covered by Medicare in Australia (including evacuation and death cover)
  • any necessary insurance for equipment
  • accommodation arrangements and associated charges
  • passport arrangements and associated charges (note: all participants are expected to travel on personal passports - official or diplomatic passports will not be issued).

Where an activity contains an air fare component, this should be costed as the applicable economy class fare. The AJF will not reimburse applicants for additional expenses incurred because of late bookings or other problems requiring tickets to be paid for at a higher rate.

Funding recipients are also expected to read all relevant travel advice, on particularly in relation to travel to Japan, before undertaking any AJF funded trips.

The AJF will not accept any liability for medical, hospital, property loss, theft or evacuation costs incurred by participants in projects funded by the AJF.

Safety Issues

In planning overseas travel, it is recommended that applicants refer to DFAT’s travel advisory service, smartraveller and refer to travel advice for Japan which provides accurate, relevant and up-to-date information about Japan. DFAT encourages applicants and project personnel to register their travel with smartraveller at Applicants travel at their own risk and are responsible for their own travel insurance.

Grant Acquittal Requirements

It is a condition of AJF grant funding that recipients fully acquit the funds received. Grant moneys must be acquitted within 30 days of the completion of a project through the submission of a completed Online Acquittal Report which will be emailed by the AJF Secretariat to the grantee with advice of the due date and a completed budget spreadsheet of actual project expenditure (or financial statement of expenditure).

As part of the acquittal process, grant recipients need to indicate how the money spent can be linked back to the activities for which funding was originally requested. All unspent funds must be returned to the AJF as soon as possible to ensure funds may be reallocated to other projects.

Lower risk grants may have their financial statement of expenditure certified by an official from the organisation that received the grant. Higher risk grants should be certified by a qualified accountant. As a general rule, all grants greater than $50,000 should be certified by a qualified auditor. The cost of certification can be included in the grant funding provided.

Funding recipients are required to keep all receipts and records for five years and to make these available upon request.

The final acquittal report must include:

  • a description of the main activities undertaken;
  • any quantitative or qualitative performance measures such as
    • number of participants/audience spectators
    • number/value of ticket sales
    • details of media coverage
    • feedback from participants;
  • an assessment of how the activities contributed to achieving the project's stated objectives;
  • any difficulties encountered in implementing the project;
  • any follow-up activities arising from the project; and
  • at least one high-quality resolution digital photograph (200 dpi) suitable for publication in the AJF annual report.

The AJF may seek a verbal report from grant recipients at Board meetings in addition to the above grant acquittal requirements.

An interim report is required where a project extends over more than six months.

Privacy and Freedom of Information

The information provided in the funding application is used when processing and assessing the application. Summary information provided by all applicants will be stored centrally and will be available to Commonwealth officers and the government on a need-to-know basis. The information provided by the applicant may be distributed to AJF, Commonwealth and State or Territory governments, organisations which are responsible for grants programs, and may be made public through national and local media or via the AJF website. DFAT may also publish this information, excluding personal information, in its Annual Report and on the DFAT website. In other circumstances, DFAT will only use and/or disclose personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. Applicants should also note the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 apply to documents in DFAT's possession.

Access and equity

All funding applications are made using standard documents and are assessed by a standard appraisal procedure, helping to ensure consistency and equity in funding decisions. The AJF is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and encourages individuals and organisations from target groups to apply for funding for projects consistent with the AJF's guidelines.

Contact Details

If you have any questions, please contact the AJF Secretariat.


Tel: 02-6261-3898
Fax: 02-6261-2143


Postal Address:

Australia-Japan Foundation
North Asia Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221


Tel : 03-5232-4065
Fax: 03 5232-4064


Postal Address:

Australia-Japan Foundation
Australian Embassy
2-1-14 Mita, Minato-ku
TOKYO JAPAN 108-8361

Standard Forms

Useful Links

Australia Awards -
Australia Council for the Arts -
Australian Embassy -
Austrade -
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research -
Australian Research Council -
Australian Taxation Office -
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation -
DFAT Smartraveller -
Grantslink -
The Japan Foundation -