ESF Scholarships

Make a difference to the emergency services in Victoria

The aim of the ESF scholarship program is to provide an opportunity for both paid staff and volunteer members of the Victorian Emergency Services to undertake a study tour that will lead to improvements in Victoria’s emergency management sector. It provides successful applicants with a valuable opportunity for self-enrichment and career advancement through the pursuit of knowledge and experience in an area they are passionate about.

ESF scholarships are not for completion of tertiary or other qualifications.

ESF has granted scholarships since 1988 to provide recipients with funds to cover the expense of travel to advance their knowledge and expertise.  Scholarship recipients become ESF Alumni and are encouraged to maintain their association with the ESF and support its work.

Due to travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 pandemic no scholarships were awarded in 2020 or 2021. 

In the past, topics of research have been varied. In line with ESFs new strategic direction, priority will be given to applications that address evidence and knowledge gaps in relation to mental health and wellbeing.

2024 ESF Scholarships supported by Rotary

The Emergency Services Foundation has entered a partnership with Rotary to support the longstanding ESF scholarship program.

This partnership with Rotary builds on strong collaboration between the two organisations at the local level, through Tony’s Trek early in 2024, and the new Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards. The partnership will help fund two additional scholarships in 2024. 

2024 ESF Scholarships Supported by Rotary Awardees

ESF is pleased to announce Matt Nicholson and Jesse Winter from Fire Rescue Victoria have both been awarded 2024 ESF Scholarships supported by Rotary.

Matt, Senior Station Officer and operational firefighter with 18+ years of experience, will look at how sleep disturbance affects shift work.

Jesse, an FRV Western Districts Chaplain in the Psychological Services Team, will research how and why moral injury is contributing to PTSD symptomology or may be a frequent comorbidity.

In 2024 ESF will be providing scholarship awardees with a mentor to aid in their research.

“As a Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) Chaplain I am immensely privileged to be able to study with Rotary and ESF and be supported by FRV to study Moral Injury which is of rising importance to everyone within the emergency services. My hope is that through this study we can increase the depth and value of our support to those who support our community everyday.”

-Jesse Winter

“It is a privilege to be given this opportunity to investigate initiatives that reduce the negative health impacts on Emergency Service personnel. Sleep is the major foundation of all health outcomes, and it is also the most impacted through Emergency Service work. These studies will provide greater awareness of the importance of sleep for emergency service personnel and provide evidence-based approaches to sleep recovery practices.”

-Matthew Nicholson


No, scholarships are not to be used for the completion of tertiary or any other qualifications

Scholarship funds are to be used for economy class air travel, travel insurance, accommodation and meal allowances.

Any paid or volunteer member from ESFs member agencies may apply which includes individuals [paid and volunteer] from its member agencies including:  Ambulance VIC, CFA, DELWP, EMV, FRV, St John Ambulance Vic, Victorian Council of Churches Emergency Ministry, Lifesaving Vic, Red Cross, Vic Coast Guard, VICSES, VicPol, IGEM, ESTA, Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Wildlife Victoria.

No. You just need to complete the application form.

You can apply now using the online form with applications closing at midnight on 24 November 2023.

Scholarships are calculated once applications have been received and the budget provided reviewed. You should plan for a period of up to two weeks away.

A report of the study must be submitted not later than eight weeks after the study component is complete. In the past scholarship recipients have found it helpful to allocate time on their return to do the report while it is fresh in their mind.

Yes, you can apply with someone else but be mindful that this may add significantly to travel costs and available funds are limited.

No late applications will be considered.

Yes, if additional funding is required to meet the study objectives. Please be sure to detail existing funding in your application.

Advice ESF has received is that the payment will be assessable as ordinary income. It is suggested that recipients seek their own advice in this regard.

Short listed applicants will be invited for an interview in December 2023. All applicants will be notified by the end of December.

The interview panel is yet to be determined but will likely include an ESF scholarship alumni, a senior Learning & Development Manager from an emergency service agency, a Learning Network representative, an ESF Board or ESF Mental Health Advisory Group (MHAG) member and the ESF CEO.

Each scholarship recipient must complete a written report including a 250 word executive summary. The report is to be formatted according to predetermined agreed headings and a briefing will be provided in advance of your travel. Refer to previous reports at  In addition, you will be expected to present the findings of your study to the sector. This may include at the Emergency Management Conference or through a webinar and social media.

ESF will provide guidance on report writing and presentation skills and always be available to answer questions and offer advice..

Scholarship Alumni​

Peter Romanis was awarded the Scholarship in the first round of 2023.  Peter undertook a study on compassion fatigue, the findings of which can be found here.

“I’m heartened by the positive reception my report on Compassion Fatigue. It’s gratifying to see the meaningful discussions it has sparked. I am actively engaged in further dialogues to explore how we can translate the recommendations into tangible, improved practices. These ongoing conversations are crucial for fostering positive outcomes, ensuring that our dedicated emergency service professionals and volunteers received the support and resources they need to thrive in their demanding roles.”

ESF Scholarship Showcase

The 2019 ESF scholarships awardees, Greg Dean, Ti Hokins, Marcus Warner, and Dennis Smith, showcased their study findings and recommendations as part of the 2020 Emergency Management Conference.

Asia Pacific Fire Magazine

Gavin Parker was awarded the Scholarship in 2016.  Gavin investigated best practices for emergency response to brown coal (lignite) mining and combustible dust fires and incidents in open cut coal mines, power generation and clean coal energy facilities, the findings of which can be found here.

“8 years on, the benefits of doing the ESF scholarship are still providing me with opportunities to share some of the findings from my time away.”

In this month’s Asia Pacific Fire Magazine. Part 1 of a 2-part article on coal fires. It provides an overview of considerations for fires in coal mines and coal handling facilities. It includes some of the knowledge gained during the ESF scholarship. The article can be found here.