CSSA Scholarship

The Australian community needs well-rounded recommendations for long-term solutions to
issues which our member agency staff deal with on a daily basis.

Providing the evidence base for a fairer, more inclusive Australian society.

The CSSA Scholarship is an exciting opportunity for members of the CSSA network to actively engage in research within the social services sector that can support the Vision and Mission of the Catholic Social Services Australia network.  

The aim of the CSSA Scholarship is to provide an opportunity to individuals from member agencies within the CSSA network to apply their knowledge, skills and experience to conduct research in a field that will provide a benefit to CSSA network members.

The CSSA Scholarship is valued at a maximum amount of $20,000 over two years and is awarded biennially. 

The 2013 Scholarship was awarded to Romaine Moss from Catholic Care Broken Bay for her research on “Hidden Trauma Hidden Cost: Ameliorating the effects of vicarious trauma in the workplace.”  The following testimonial has been provided by Romaine about the benefits of the scholarship:

“The scholarship from CSSA has provided CatholicCare with an invaluable opportunity to research and evaluate the effectiveness of our current approach to managing Vicarious Trauma in the workplace. By providing an evidence based approach to ameliorate this very real risk to staff in residential care settings it is hoped that our results can be applied across to other organisations to better support all staff in their valuable work with vulnerable people” 


To be eligible to apply for the CSSA Scholarship;

  • You must be a staff member from one of our fully-financial Ordinary CSSA member organisations. Applications from Heads of member agencies and member agency representative elected Board members may be considered;
  • Your application must have the support of your member agency; and
  • Your proposal must support the Vision and Mission of CSSA which envisages a fairer, more inclusive Australian society that reflects and supports the dignity, equality and participation of all people with a particular focus on vulnerability and/or disadvantage, with a direct link to CSSA’s Statement of Strategic Intent.


Examples of potential proposals include:

  • Documented research into the effects of the chosen subject (type of vulnerability and/or disadvantage) on the wider Australian population with achievable recommendations designed to alleviate those effects;
  • Evidence-based research projects;
  • Supervised trials of a particular strategy by a member organisation;
  • Academic study of chosen subject in Australia or internationally, ending with paper suitable for publication; or
  • Review of published material on chosen subject for the purpose of drawing conclusions and offering recommendations for achievable outcomes.


The application process is conducted online. Please download the CSSA Scholarship 2016 Guidelines here.

All applications for the CSSA Scholarship should be no more than 1500 words and must include:

  • Your full name and contact details;
  • Your member agency details;
  • Your CV (as an additional attachment); 
  • Project title;
  • Specific detail about the subject chosen, the scope of the study, and personnel involved including the outcomes, major milestones and benefits of the research and how it supports the staff of the organisation and, if relevant, staff within other CSSA member organisations.  The Selection Panel will consider the likelihood of the findings and recommendations of the project being accepted for publication and wider dissemination;
  • A budget itemising the expenditure of funds including main activities and timing for expenditure. (Expenditure could include domestic and international travel and accommodation, salary for a period of work on the project; research costs such as data collection or any other demonstrated relevant purpose.).  Preference will be given to funding research that is conducted primarily within the organisation rather than being outsourced;
  • If applicable, details of other grants received or applied for in connection with the proposed project;
  • Details of involvement by other CSSA agencies if applicable;
  • Two referee reports including one from an independent person with relevant expertise and the other from the head of the applicant’s member agency indicating support and possible assistance; and
  • Name, qualifications and role of your nominated mentor if relevant.  For example, this could be a senior manager within your organisation or an academic with relevant research experience.

Selection Panel

A Selection Panel has been established to assess Scholarship applications and to decide on the most appropriate recipient of the CSSA Scholarship. The Chair of the Panel will advise the CSSA Board of its decision following the evaluation of the scholarship applications.

The Selection Panel comprises two senior, independent and suitably qualified persons and one CSSA Board Member. The Panel Chair is Professor John Warhurst, Emeritus Professor from the College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University.

Members of the selection panel will be required to declare any potential ‘conflict of interest’.  

Assessment Process

In assessing the scholarship applications, the Selection Panel may seek advice from any source about the research to be undertaken or previous work of any kind carried out by the applicant. 

The Selection Panel will consider the eligibility criteria and the required information provided by the scholarship applicant and how the proposal achieves the CSSA Vision, Mission and Statement of Strategic Intent.

The Selection Panel may not award the scholarship if no application is deemed suitable.

Awarding the Scholarship

The scholarship winner will be informed of the Selection Panel’s decision and will have accepted the scholarship ahead of any public announcements. Public notification of the scholarship winner will be promoted through CSSA communications.  Unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing.

Payment of Scholarship

The payment schedule will be based on the individual specific needs of the successful scholarship proposal.  Generally, the scholarship payment will be made quarterly for the life of the scholarship, subject to evidence of satisfactory performance and documentary evidence of expenses.  Quarterly payments will ideally be equal amounts and linked to milestone payments as agreed with CSSA.  Payment will be made to the person or organisation that incurred the costs.


Progress reports are to be submitted as agreed with CSSA. CSSA will liaise regularly with the scholarship holder and may also include contact with the nominated mentor, if applicable.

If appropriate, the award holder will make a presentation to the CSSA Board at the conclusion of the project.

CSSA anticipates that the results of the project would also be presented and disseminated to the CSSA network, with the support of CSSA. CSSA requires that the scholarship funding contribution to the research project be appropriately acknowledged in all publicity about the project including any media coverage, presentations or communications.  If the report is published, the award holder must acknowledge CSSA as the scholarship funder.

Other Terms and Conditions

  • Payments will be made in accordance with the agreed payment schedule, receipt of documentation of expenditure and satisfactory performance;
  • Completion dates for the scholarship cannot be deferred or extended except in exceptional circumstances and for a period not exceeding 3 months;
  • The scholarship may be terminated should CSSA consider there is non-performance and this has not been rectified after liaison with the award holder; and
  • Appeals against decisions made by the Selection Panel should be lodged with the Board of CSSA.  Appeals against decisions of CSSA or the CSSA Board will be dealt with by an independent, qualified mediator.

Further Information

CSSA would be happy to discuss a proposal or project idea with potential applicants prior to submission of applications.  CSSA is also willing to clarify any issues relevant to these application guidelines.

To schedule an appointment or if you require any further information please contact: Senior Policy Officer, Catholic Social Services Australia, (02) 6285 1366, email admin@cssa.org.au.