Knowledge Grants

Up to $50,000 to build data capability and research skills through investigation of a civil legal problem or data collection practices to better understand and respond to community need.

What are Knowledge Grants?

Up to $50,000

2021/22 Knowledge Grants are now closed.

Supporting organisations to improve data capability and research skills

Knowledge Grants support community legal organisations to undertake a research project to:

  • develop a new understanding of the legal needs of Victorians through collection of data and information
  • improve capability of the organisation to collect, analyse and use data and information about particular audiences
  • share information with other organisations or agencies which results in a better understanding of the target group and ways to address need effectively.

The types of projects that are likely to be funded include

  • Investigation into a specific civil legal issue through collection and collation of data and information.
  • Using data to identify a community profile using a range of data sources, for example, service data, ABS data, data dashboards, as well as community or client feedback to inform strategic decisions about service delivery and allocation of resources. This information would provide a better understanding of priority groups and community legal and related needs.
  • Piloting new approaches to legal service models, practice and data, particularly one that requires or provides opportunity to collect new or additional data and information about clients and their needs.

Research must meet the ethical standards

In undertaking any research project funded through Victoria Law Foundation’s Knowledge Grant program, it’s your responsibility to conduct ethical research.

We have developed the following guidance, information and templates to help you.

Process for ethics approval

If you are partnering with an academic body you may choose to go through their ethics process.

If not, you will need to establish an alternative process such as forming a reference group or internal governance committee to approve the research activity and guide the project.

For more information or guidance, please contact the Grants Manager at

Who can apply?

Knowledge Grant applications are open to community legal centres and not-for-profit community organisations which have a dedicated legal service.

We only fund organisations – individuals are not able to apply.

Research organisations, courts, tribunals and statutory bodies may not apply on their own, however, may like to partner with a community legal organisation to provide guidance and expertise to undertake a research project.

How to prepare your application

Contact the Grants Manager early to discuss your idea, get grant writing tips and feedback from the Research Team on your proposal.

Submit an application

We encourage you to contact the Grants Manager before submitting your application. The Grants Manager can provide feedback on your project proposal, and ensure it meets the grants criteria.

Applications for 2021/22 grants are now closed.

Grant guidelines

Guiding principles

You’re more likely to be successful in your grant application if your project demonstrate our guiding principles.


Projects we fund through a Knowledge Grants should lead to better services, programs or interventions for Victorian communities.


The skills, systems, processes and data you gather as part of your project should be useful beyond the life of your project. This might include how you work with client groups, deliver your service, allocate resources or advocate for law reform.

Assessment process

The Grants Subgroup of the Foundation’s Board makes funding decisions. All applications are also reviewed by members of the Research Team.

In addition to the priority and guiding principles above, the following items are also considered as when assessing grant applications:

  • identification of the legal issue you will investigate or problem you are hoping to address
  • clear description of the difference this will make to your organisation
  • identification of other organisations or other agencies that might benefit from this work
  • realistic and detailed budget items.
Grant exclusions

Generally, we do not fund:

  • studies to obtain a degree or diploma
  • government organisations with the exception of independent statutory bodies
  • recurrent or core operational costs
  • purchase of major items of equipment
  • international travel costs
  • commercial or profit-making activities
  • litigation of any kind
  • projects that primarily support political activity and lobbying
  • costs incurred prior to grant approval
  • grant applications previously deemed unsuccessful by the foundation unless invited to reapply.
Conditions of grant

Victoria Law Foundation places conditions on the grants it makes. Some of the grant requirements include:

  • successful applicants enter into an agreement with the Foundation
  • a final report is to be submitted on completion of the project
  • agreement between the parties to share information and data outcomes with the Foundation and other relevant organisations
  • acknowledging the support of the Foundation.

Find out more about the conditions of our grants

Data collection guidelines

The Foundation has developed data collection guidelines for grant recipients undertaking research projects. It covers key areas to consider when collecting data and information from participants, and what to do with this data.

Ethics standards

In undertaking any research project funded through Victoria Law Foundation’s Knowledge Grant program, it’s your responsibility to conduct ethical research.

We have developed the following guidance, information and templates to help you.


Why should I contact the Grants Manager?

We recommend that you contact the Grants Manager before submitting an application to get feedback on your proposal and find out if it meets our selection criteria. This may save you time in applying for something that is not eligible or unlikely to be funded. Getting early feedback on your proposal may help strengthen your application giving you the best chance of success.

What are the application questions?

Download a copy of the application questions to prepare your responses before submitting your application.

Who can apply?

We are seeking applications from community legal organisations.

We will not accept applications from organisations which have a primary and/or existing role to undertake research, however we encourage partnerships with an eligible organisation to provide guidance, skills transfer and expertise.

Can we work in partnership?

Yes, in fact we encourage it! You may want to partner with other organisations or agencies that work with the target audience or issue area, or you can work with a partner with specific skills and expertise. The applicant will be responsible for reporting and financial management.

What do you mean by sustainability?

We want to fund projects that will develop systems, processes or skills that will continue to be used after the project has been completed.

What kind of things can we apply for?

Budget items will depend on your project methodology. Some of the items that you can apply for include:

  • courses or training for staff e.g. focus group facilitation, data analysis
  • consultant fees e.g. evaluation
  • software e.g. data management systems
  • project coordination (salary)
When are Knowledge Grants available?

2021/22 Knowledge Grants applications closed Monday 23 August 2021. Applications for 2022/23 will be available July 2022.

How many grants are available?

The Foundation’s grant pool is $300,000 divided between our three grant programs. Unfortunately we are unable to fund many great projects due to limited funding. We aim to fund around 4-5 projects within each grant program.

Contact the Grants Manager to find out if your project proposal meets our selection criteria and if sufficient funds are available, giving your application the best chance of success.

What are my obligations if I am offered a grant?

All successful applicants enter into a funding agreement with the Foundation. Some other general requirements include submitting a final report on completion of the project and acknowledging the support of the Foundation. Conditions for specific grants are included on our guidelines documents. Find out more.

Where do I complete my reporting?

We want to know how your project went, so require recipients to submit a final report on completion. This report can be found in your SmartyGrants portal.