Doctoral Thesis Award

Early Childhood Australia Doctoral Thesis Award


The aim of the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Doctoral Thesis Award is to:

  • encourage early childhood research
  • recognise the excellence of early childhood research undertaken by current doctoral students.

Value of the award

The successful candidate will:

  • receive a citation, delivered with the presentation of the award at the 2023 ECA National Conference
  • receive return airfare, free registration and accommodation to attend the 2023 ECA National Conference
  • have their name engraved on the perpetual trophy held at the ECA National Office
  • be invited to present findings of their research at the 2023 ECA National Conference
  • receive a complimentary 12-month membership of ECA as well as annual subscriptions to ECA’s publications: Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC), Every Child, Research in Practice Series and Everyday Learning Series (or be given the option to transfer any or all of these subscriptions to another individual or service, if desired).

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the award:

  • applicants must submit a 6000-word summary of their thesis
  • the thesis must be for a full PhD or EdD (Professional Doctorate) degree awarded after 30 June 2020
  • the PhD or EdD degree must have been awarded in Australia
  • a copy of the examiners’ reports must be included in the applicant’s documentation
  • application forms must be completed and submitted via email to:

Judging criteria

The following judging criteria will be used to assess applications for this award:

  1. Does the thesis advance knowledge of early childhood—defined as birth to eight years of age—by making a contribution to theoretical and/or empirical research and understanding? How?
  2. Does the thesis advance knowledge of early childhood by making a contribution to methodological research and understanding? How?
  3. Does the thesis contribute, or potentially contribute, to improvements in early childhood policy or practice? If so, what is the nature of that contribution?
  4. Does the thesis demonstrate or evidence excellence in early childhood program delivery?
  5. How will this award potentially increase the impact of the thesis on the delivery of early childhood education and care?

Process for reviewing applications

  • Applications will remain confidential throughout the review process. 
  • The selection committee will assess applications in three steps:
    1. Establishing that applications meet the criteria for eligibility.
    2. Assessing each eligible application against the selection criteria.
    3. Selecting one nominee to receive the award.
  • The Selection Committee may request a copy of the full thesis and any supporting documentation and/or additional information to assist in decision-making.
  • If the Selection Committee decides there are no nominations for the award that sufficiently fit the selection criteria, no award will be presented.
  • The final decision will be taken by the ECA Board. Once the Board has made its decision, it will be binding and will not be open to appeal. Following the announcement of the decision, ECA will not enter into discussion with unsuccessful applicants to justify the decision.

Award announcement

Once a winner has been selected:

  • ECA will contact the successful candidate prior to the 2023 National Conference and invite them to prepare a presentation on their thesis
  • the final award announcement will be made at the 2023 ECA National Conference
  • the successful candidate will be invited to attend the 2023 ECA National Conference (all costs paid) and be felicitated with a trophy at the conference
  • the successful candidate will be invited to write an article (or be interviewed) for ECA’s magazine, Every Child
  • consideration will be given to the top six (6) applicants to have their work published in AJEC.

Applications Close 28 April 2023

Completed application forms should be emailed to

Download application