The Fund

The late Professor Mike Bull made a notable contribution to the scientific community, such as the first published record of monogamy in a reptile, the sleepy lizard (aka shingleback lizard, bobtail lizard). He mentored around 50 PhD students and numerous researchers over the course of his career, contributing over 320 research papers to the scientific community. Mike was passionate about his work and about training the next generation of scientists.  He was an inspiration to his students, giving them encouragement and confidence to achieve, and to choose wonderful career paths in nature science and conservation.

The Professor Mike Bull Research Fund for Early Career Nature Scientists was established with the following objectives: 

  • to honour the life and work of Mike Bull
  • to create a legacy and a future for his work
  • to encourage young nature scientists to make nature science their career
  • to advance nature conservation and nature science in Australia.

The fund has grown through generous donations and is managed and administered by the Nature Foundation. 

The Mike Bull Award

The Mike Bull Award for Early Career Nature Scientists is awarded from the fund annually, with the first award issued in 2019 to Dr Jess Clayton.

"I used this award to fund a visit to a research group at the University of the Sunshine Coast and have since established a continuing relationship with them. I also attended the World Congress of Herpetology in New Zealand where I presented my research and had the opportunity to meet experts in my field, allowing me to keep up-to-date with cutting edge research in the field. This award has provided me with an opportunity to expand my network which has led to future research opportunities. It has been a fantastic opportunity to kick-start my career and has come at a time where I otherwise would not have been able to make these opportunities possible." 
Dr Jess Clayton

The Award includes a medal for academic excellence, along with a $3000 grant intended to support the career of the recipient. It is envisaged that the grant would be used to:

  • support a research program, including purchase of equipment for field expenses,
  • attend a conference or important seminar (including registration fees, flights), and/or
  • visit another lab or potential future collaborator.


This award is aimed at early career professionals (late PhD or early post-doctoral position candidates), with the intention of assisting recipients with establishing a career in science. 

  • Applicants from Australia are eligible.
  • International applicants are also eligible, so long as their research is beneficial to nature science in South Australia.
  • Only Australian research institutions are eligible as hosting organisations.

Guidelines for Applicants

The selection committee will favour research projects that are based in field work, or which utilise robust field data, aligning with the successful career of Professor Mike Bull. 

The project or research focus of the recipient must be able to demonstrate a benefit to nature science or conservation in Australia.

The research fields listed below align with Mike Bull’s own research and therefore contribute to his legacy.  Work in these fields will be viewed favourably: 

  • Long term research programs, including field data
  • Conservation biology
  • Parasitology
  • Population ecology
  • Herpetology
  • Behavioural ecology.


Your application should include:

  • A brief covering letter of about 1 to 2 pages, outlining:
    • your achievements to date
    • how the award would further your scientific career
    • how your research objectives align with the Mike Bull legacy
    • indicatively how you would spend the grant funds
  • A curriculum vitae.

Applicants can also request for a referee to send to Nature Foundation a referee statement of up to 150 words in support of your application. Please state in your covering letter if this has been requested.

Applications should be emailed to admin@nfsa.org.au with “Grants Program Application – Mike Bull Award” and your name in the subject heading. Late applications will not be accepted.

Timeline for March 2020 Grants Round

Applications for this award in 2020 opened on Monday 2 March.

Applications for this award in 2020 closed at 9am (ACST) on Monday 6 April.

We expect to notify the successful applicant in early June 2020.

Other Information

Further details can be found on our Applying for Grants page and within the Nature Foundation Grants Program Guidelines.