The Emergency Services Foundation Scholarship Scheme

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 granted annually to provide recipients with funds to cover the expense of travel to advance their knowledge and expertise. Typically, four scholarships are awarded each year.

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

In the past, topics of research have been varied. In line with ESFs new strategic direction, priority will be given in 2020 to applications that address issues of mental health and wellbeing. In particular ESF is working to remove the barriers to good mental health across the sector and through the WorkWell Learning Network is supporting organisations to address the various work-related risks to wellbeing.

Although this may seem limiting at first glance, we believe it provides broad scope and exciting possibilities. Research topics that will inform ESFs work will be well received and we encourage you to speak with us if you need help to align your topic with our purpose.

Applications for the 2020 ESF scholarship are now closed.

This date has been extended in view of the recent fire situation and the current COVID-19 developments. All applications will be reviewed in May 2020 by the ESF Scholarship Committee including Craig Shepherd (Chair), Professor David Forbes, Stephen Walls, Greg Gibson and Amanda Smillie.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to discuss their application with the scholarship committee at a later date.

All applicants will be advised of the status of their application by 30 June.

2020 scholarship awardees will be announced at the 2020 Emergency Management Conference.

More information

Should you have any questions or need assistance with your scholarship application please contact Craig Shepherd, Chair of the ESF Scholarship Committee at or call him on 0400 124 690.

2019 ESF Scholarship Awardees

2019, we had four awardees. Their research topics each address the important issue of wellbeing.

Greg Dean, Senior Sergeant and Acting Manager VicPol Welfare Services. Greg’s topic of study is early intervention mental health and wellbeing respite centres and his research will add to his learnings from previous study in the UK to inform a sector wide feasibility study.
Read about Greg’s updates here. 

Dennis Smith, Senior Station Officer is currently on secondment to CFA from the MFB. Dennis will be travelling to the USA and Canada to research how mindfulness programs have been applied and evaluated in emergency management settings there and in particular how mindfulness could benefit people working in dynamic incident control and IMT environments where important and timely decision need to be made when people are under stress.
Read about Dennis’s updates here. 

Tiana Hokins, Emergency Services Operations Coordinator at the Australian Red Cross. Tiana’s topic of study aims to better understand the mental health and wellbeing impacts on people undertaking emergency reunification processes.
Read about Tiana’s updates here. 

Marcus Warner, SES Deputy Controller at Bright. Marcus’s topic of study is to explore what can be done to minimise the impact on tourists in wilderness areas of witnessing traumatic events where support services are limited. Marcus is concerned about the ad hoc approach to dealing with such people.
Read about Marcus’s updates here. 

2018 ESF Scholarship Awardees

The 2018 ESF scholarship awardees, Linda Jones, Luke Hegearty, Jacob Riley and Geoff Ranzenhofer were part of very well attended session facilitated by Commissioner Andrew Crisp at the Emergency Management Conference where they discussed the findings of their research.

View Research Reports

ESF scholarship alumni

Since the ESF was established 32 years ago, 148 ESF scholarships have been provided. Scholarship recipients become ESF Alumni and are encouraged to maintain their association with the Foundation.