1. About the program

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in New York City, United States of America (USA), is devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Founded in 1897, the Cooper Hewitt is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution—the world's largest museum and research complex—and presents perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational and curatorial programming.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) exists between the Queensland Government and the Smithsonian Institution. A primary objective of this alliance is the exchange of skills and knowledge to grow Queensland’s science, educational and cultural capabilities.

The Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship program supports registered Queensland school teachers to visit the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City to undertake a research project, and for an immersive learning experience from world leaders in design education.

Applications are open to Queensland organisations that employ teachers (Department of Education or non-state schools).

This program is administered by the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

2. Program aims

The aim is for Fellows to benefit from this unique experience, and on returning to Queensland, to share new design teaching practice knowledge and skills with their peers and community.

The Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship supports a Queensland teacher to:

  • travel to New York City and work closely with the Cooper Hewitt’s Education Department
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of design
  • increase their understanding of the application of design in the classroom and broader community
  • increase their understanding of careers involving design, and therefore the promotion of these career options to students
  • share with students, colleagues and others in the wider community the benefits of design.

3. Funding

Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship funding of up to $20,000 (excluding GST) is available for the nominated Fellow to travel to the USA for a project ranging from 8–12 weeks in duration. The fellowship supports one international trip.

The Fellow will:

  • be immersed in the work and programs of the education team
  • gain experience in managing, scheduling, coordinating, and promoting school-related programs including the recruitment of participants, educators and designers
  • be trained to use the Smithsonian Learning Lab, the pan-Smithsonian online resource, including lesson-plan production
  • actively participate in whichever Cooper Hewitt programs are being delivered during their fellowship such as the National Design Week, Smithsonian’s Together We Thrive initiative, and Design Field Trips
  • undertake a self-directed design research project utilising the extensive resources and connections available through the Cooper Hewitt and the Smithsonian Institution more broadly
  • share experiences and skills gained at the Cooper Hewitt, on return to Queensland.

4. Target investment areas

Fellowship applications addressing the following target investment areas are sought:

  • the development of high-quality teaching skills
  • building a teaching culture that meets global challenges, such as design for sustainability
  • improved capacity to deliver design education
  • growing the public value of design.

5. Eligibility criteria

Eligible applicant organisations include:

  • the Department of Education for state school teachers
  • private school organisations for private school teachers.

To be eligible for a Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship, the nominated Fellow must:

  • be an Australian citizen, or have Australian residency
  • reside and work in Queensland
  • be a currently registered and practising school teacher in Queensland. Registered teachers from all grade levels (Prep–Year 12) can be considered for a fellowship.

Nominated Fellows from non-state school applicant organisations must confirm that their Queensland employer will continue to pay their salary while they are undertaking the fellowship.

Other conditions

  • The fellowship is awarded to an individual. Joint applications will not be considered.
  • Fellowship funding is not transferrable, including to other employees of the applicant organisation or persons associated with the Fellow.
  • Fellows must complete the fellowship in 2023, and ideally be available to undertake the fellowship between September and November 2023 to take maximum advantage of the opportunities presented by the Cooper Hewitt Department of Education.
  • Incomplete applications and ineligible applications will not be considered.
  • Previous recipients of a Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship cannot apply again.

6. Using the Fellowship funds

The Queensland Government will release the fellowship payment to the applicant organisation (the Queensland employer) to administer the grant funding. The fellowship funding is to be used for travel costs and living expenses, and is comprised of:

  • Travel costs of up to $5,000(excluding GST) for one return international economy airfare and associated travel costs. The applicant organisation will be required to supply a financial acquittal statement for the travel component of the fellowship and will have to return any unused travel funds.

Note: Associated travel costs includes domestic travel to secure visas, internal flights within the USA, and other travel while overseas (if applicable), with details and receipts included in the final acquittal report.

  • A living allowance of $1,250 per week(excluding GST) to cover the costs of living expenses including accommodation, meals and incidental expenses. Funding is available for a minimum of 8 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks duration ($15,000 maximum).

No additional funding will be provided.

The applicant organisation will have to refund some of the fellowship funding if the duration of the Fellow’s overseas visit is reduced, as there will be a reduction in the living allowance entitlement.

All costs associated with additional time spent at the host institute (that is, any time that exceeds the approved duration on the fellowship) must be borne by the Fellow and/or the applicant organisation.

All costs exceeding the total approved funding must be borne by the Fellow and/or the applicant organisation.

7. The assessment process

Eligible applications will be assessed and rated against the program’s assessment criteria (below) and ranked in order of merit by an assessment panel comprised of members with relevant professional backgrounds.

The selection process is based on review of written submissions and panel interviews (in-person or online) with the short-listed nominees.

8. Assessment criteria

The application will be assessed on its merits in a competitive process against the following criteria.

  1. Proven relevant skills and track record

    The nominated Fellow must:

    • demonstrate a knowledge of, or experience in, design education
    • demonstrate a proven capacity to work collaboratively to achieve educational outcomes across a range of contexts
    • have the relevant professional skills and personal qualities to support learning communities through research and collaboration
    • outline the issue/challenges and opportunities driving the application.
  2. A placement that strengthens the Fellow’s skills and knowledge

    The application must clearly state the goals in undertaking the fellowship, and explain how the fellowship will:

    • enhance the Fellow’s skills and knowledge
    • translate to new practices in the classroom.
  3. A project that has benefits for Queensland and aligns with the target investment areas.

The application must explain how the fellowship:

  • will benefit the Fellow’s school, career and professional practice
  • aligns with one or more of the target investment areas outlined in this document
  • will translate into tangible benefits/outcomes for Queensland
  • will contribute positively to an ongoing exchange of knowledge and skills between Queensland and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

9. Announcement of the successful Fellow

  • The Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs will announce the successful Fellow.
  • All applicant organisations will be advised of the outcome of their application in writing prior to the public announcement.
  • The successful Fellow and applicant organisation is to treat their funding as confidential prior to the announcement by the Minister. This means no media or public announcements of the project until the Queensland Government has made an announcement.
  • Following the announcement, the successful Fellow and applicant organisation will be listed on the Queensland Government website.

10. Fellowship agreement

If the application for funding is successful, the applicant organisation will enter into a legally binding Financial Incentive Agreement with the Queensland Government. The agreement consists of the application, these guidelines and the Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship Financial Incentive Agreement Terms and Conditions (PDF, 359.6KB) .

If successful with an application:

  • the applicant organisation must not enter into any legally binding arrangements with other parties which prevent the successful Fellow from meeting obligations under the Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship Financial Incentive Agreement
  • the successful Fellow will be required to:
    • make every reasonable effort to be present at a fellowship announcement function, if organised
    • be amenable to giving presentations to interested parties such as the design teaching community in Queensland
    • complete a survey about the application of the developed resource including implementation at their school.

11. Privacy

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science will use the information on this form to evaluate applications for the Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship as required by these Guidelines and Queensland-Cooper Hewitt Fellowship Financial Incentive Agreement Terms and Conditions.

Applications for the fellowship are to be lodged on the SmartyGrants website, a third-party cloud-based platform operated by 'Our Community Pty Ltd'. The Our Community Privacy Policy states that they may use third party service providers that may store information outside Australia. By lodging an application, you agree to any overseas transfer of information made in accordance with the Our Community Privacy Policy.

The information contained in the application will be provided to authorised departmental officers and approved grant assessors under the Financial Accountability Act 2009 (Qld) for the purpose of assessing the application.

The Minister will publicly announce details of the successful Fellow. Following that announcement, the details of successful Fellow will be listed on the Queensland Government website including:

  • name of Fellow and name of the applicant organisation
  • the total amount of funding allocated
  • the project name, location, description and partnering organisation
  • the project outcomes.

This information may also be used and/or disclosed to promote the fellowship program and the funded projects.

Information on the successful Fellow, including their name and the name of the applicant organisation, project description and partnering supervisor will be provided to the Smithsonian Institution for the purpose of administering the fellowship.

This information will not otherwise be used or disclosed unless authorised or required by law.

For audit purposes, the Queensland Government is required to retain the applications and other supplied support material. The provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) apply to documents in the possession of the Queensland Government.

12. How to apply

Applications for the Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship close 2pm AEST, Monday 12 June 2023.

Applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted in full by the deadline.

Applications must be submitted using SmartyGrants, the department’s online grants administration portal. The application consists of:

  • a completed online application form
  • a signed and scanned letter of endorsement (to be uploaded as a PDF with the application form) from the applicant organisation confirming:
    • it supports the proposed fellowship
    • the proposed Fellow is a current, registered and practising teacher in Queensland
    • the proposed Fellow’s salary will continue to be paid while undertaking the fellowship (non-state school applicants).
  • a signed Financial Incentive Agreement Terms and Conditions declaration. The form must be printed, signed by relevant parties, scanned in PDF, and uploaded with the application form (non-state school applicants), or returned to the Department of Education (state school applicants) who will submit the form on behalf of the applicant. The declaration page must be signed by the nominated Fellow and the applicant organisation.

The applicant organisation:

  • must advise the Queensland Government of changes which are likely to impact on the fellowship
  • may be contacted during the assessment process to clarify information provided in the application and/or to request further information to enable the assessment of the application
  • may be required to attend an (online or in-person) interview.

There is no implicit guarantee of approval at any stage in the process. Applicant organisations will be notified in writing of the outcome of the application.

13. Further information

For further information about the Queensland–Cooper Hewitt Fellowship, please contact the Science Partnerships and Development team.

Phone:(07) 3170 5758


For technical questions about the online application process or form, please contact SmartyGrants.

Phone: (03) 9320 6888 and quote your reference number.