The Linnean Society of NSW

The Linnean Society of NSW

Grants from the Joyce W. Vickery Scientific Research Fund are intended to support worthy research in those fields of the Biological Sciences that fall within the range of interests of the Society, especially natural history research within Australia.

Applications will be accepted from postgraduate and Honours degree students at recognised Australian Universities who are undertaking full-time or part-time studies with a biological emphasis.

Applications are also encouraged from amateur or professional biologists, whether in employment as such or not, who can demonstrate a level of achievement in original research in Biological Sciences.

In awarding grants, the Council of the Society will assess:

a) Realistic costing and timetable

b) The quality of the project

c) The applicant’s ability to carry it out

d) The likelihood that successful completion of the research will lead to publication or other useful dissemination of research findings.

The total amount of Fund money available for awards in any year will depend on income received by the Fund over the preceding year and thus the maximum per application may vary from year to year. The current limit is $2,000. Successful awards may be less than the amount requested when quality applications exceed money available.

Money awarded must be used for research purposes, which may include the purchase of equipment, laboratory or other consumables, and fieldwork or travel within Australasia. Requests for subsistence (i.e. food and lodging), travel to conferences, or thesis preparation expenses, will not be supported.

Applications are not restricted to members.

The closing date for applications is March 1 in any year. In exceptional circumstances, emergency support may be available at other times, subject to funds being available. Please contact the Secretary before submitting an emergency application.

Applications must be made on the Fund’s application form. Supporting documents should be added to the end and the entire application is to be submitted as a single PDF file.

The application must include a short summary (up to 200 words) of the project, to be published in the LinnSoc News if the applicant is successful.

Any publication arising from work supported by the Joyce W. Vickery Scientific Research Fund should include an acknowledgement to that effect.

Any type material generated by studies supported by these grants must be lodged in the collections of an appropriate scientific institution.

An application form may be obtained from the website or from the Secretary of the Society.

The Council’s decision in regard to the award or non-award of grants from the Joyce W Vickery Scientific Research Fund is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. Council reserves the right to transfer any application to another fund where this is relevant and improves the likelihood of success.

Submit your signed application by email to

Click here to download the application form.

Details of previous awards can be downloaded here.

Appeal For Donations

The Council of the Linnean Society of NSW is keen to increase this form of direct financial support to the scientific community – to professionals, students and amateur researchers alike. The only way it can do this is by increasing the capital of the JOYCE W. VICKERY SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH FUND, thus augmenting the interest earned, and disbursed for support of scientific research.

The Linnean Society seeks donations from individuals, institutions or organisations sympathetic to the purposes for which the fund is currently being used. All such donations, which are tax-deductible, will be gratefully received by the Linnean Society of New South Wales and used to support original scientific research in Australasia. Give yourself a tax break and help a struggling research student, as most of the funds go to students.

Click here to download a donation form.

Dr. Joyce Winifred Vickery M.B.E. (1908-1979)

Joyce Vickery, one of Australia’s leading botanists and a pioneer Australian woman scientist, spent most of her working career (before and after retirement) at the National Herbarium of New South Wales, Royal Botanic Gardens. Joyce Vickery (appointed Assistant Botanist in 1936) actively supported the new Chief Botanist, R.H. Anderson, in raising the standards of one of Australia’s oldest and most important botanical centres.

Her appointment broke new ground in several ways. Joyce Vickery was the first woman to be appointed as a scientific professional officer in the NSW Public Service and she flatly refused to accept the lower starting salary for a female officer. She held out for, and gained, a more appropriate higher salary based on qualifications rather than gender!

Dr. Vickery was an ardent early supporter of the Nature Conservation cause in N.S.W. and was closely involved in the campaign to set up the then Kosciusko State Park, Elouera Bushland Reserve (now Berowra Valley National Park) and Muogomarra Sanctuary. Her practical support included a generous donation of an adjacent block to enlarge the Elouera Reserve.

As an interesting sidelight, Dr. Vickery’s botanical knowledge was put to good use in the forensic field in the notorious “Bradley Case”. Her presentation of evidence led to the conviction of the murderer of young Graham Thorne based on the evidence of plant fragments associated with his dwelling. This forensic contribution was later recognised by the award of an M.B.E.

In 1960 Joyce Vickery also received the Clarke Medal of the Royal Society of N.S.W. in recognition of her many contributions to botanical science in Australia.

History of the Fund

The fund began in 1952 with a donation of 10 pounds from Mr Armstrong of Nyngan after he read an article in the Graziers Association journal. The research fund remained static until 1971 when the Linnean Society received an anonymous donation of $1000. From then until 1978 two anonymous donations of $1000 were received annually. It became an open secret that the donor was none other than Dr. Joyce W. Vickery, a member of the Linnean Society since 1930 and an active Council member since 1969 and latterly its Honorary Treasurer, 1971-1978.

Joyce Vickery’s long-term aim was to revitalise a fund which could actively support scientific research in the natural sciences and achieve some worthwhile objective for the Society. She envisaged a time when the capital invested would produce sufficient interest to support good scientific research projects. Following her death in May 1979 the Linnean Society’s Scientific Research Fund received a substantial boost of almost $34,000 from Joyce Vickery’s estate, raising the capital to a level where the fund could become operational.

Shortly afterwards, by unanimous decision of Council, the fund was renamed the JOYCE W. VICKERY SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH FUND in recognition not only of her financial generosity but also her many years of active support for the Society.