Indigenous Australians

Endeavour Research Fellowships for Indigenous Australians

Endeavour Research Fellowships for Indigenous Australians provide financial support for Indigenous postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows to undertake short-term research (4–6 months) in any field of study in the Asia-Pacific or Middle East.

Since the inception of the Endeavour Awards in 2007, seven Indigenous Australians have been awarded a Fellowship:

  • Dr Dennis Foley: Indigenous entrepreneurship and social enterprise (see case study below)
  • John Evans: Approaches to teaching and coaching sport (see case study below)
  • Christine Black: Law
  • Gary Jones: Indigenous Art/Maori Art
  • Bronwyn Fredericks: Public Health (Indigenous Health).

More information is available on the Endeavour Research Fellowship for Indigenous Australians page.

Case study: Trans-Tasman insights for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Name: Dr Dennis Foley
Host country: New Zealand
Award focus: Indigenous entrepreneurship and social enterprise

Dennis Foley’s Endeavour Research Fellowship has had an immediate impact on both his professional career and his ability to make a contribution to the social reconstruction of Indigenous Australia.

Dennis’ six months at UNITEC New Zealand have certainly fast-tracked his academic career – he arrived in Auckland as Lecturer B and departed as Lecturer E, a full professor in Indigenous Research at the University of Newcastle back in Australia.

But what excites him more is the boost his research and advancement will give to the likelihood of positive outcomes in the field where his passion lies – Indigenous entrepreneurship and social enterprise, which can do much to break the shackles of welfare dependency, social exclusion and cultural alienation. 'I now have much stronger potential to make a difference in the social reconstruction of Indigenous Australia.’

Quality qualitative data

‘One of the great problems legislators and academics face is the lack of qualitative data on Indigenous business and the issues Indigenous entrepreneurs face,’ Dennis says.

‘Maori New Zealanders have a strong track record of business success. My Endeavour Award allowed me to explore factors behind their success, and how cultural and commercial imperatives can co-exist and even complement each other. This research led me to begin to appreciate the concepts of Tikanga, the Maori value system that is alien in its application to most mainstream researchers.

‘There are some powerful lessons we can feed into both Indigenous entrepreneurial activity on the ground now and the larger policy-making process here in Australia.’

The data Dennis gathered in New Zealand are enriching his own teaching content and methodologies, as well as strengthening cross-Tasman research partnerships – he is negotiating a visiting fellowship with a Maori-based institute, and is optimistic that several Maori PhD students will cross the Tasman to study with him.

‘There’s tremendous potential for Aboriginal Australians and Maori to teach and learn from each other in a culturally structured and sensitive manner,’ he says.

Dennis Foley

Picture: Dennis Foley (right) with Stan Reihana, Indigenous entrepreneur and owner of Haka Trails in NZ

Case study: Better futures through sports

Name: John Evans
Host institution: New Zealand
Award focus: Approaches to teaching and coaching sports

Throughout his career, John Evans has had a passion for working with Indigenous youth and promoting the importance of education and its role in providing a better future through sports and community outreach programs. One focus of these programs has been providing a mentoring role to young Indigenous students pursuing university study.

‘Since 1992 I’ve been involved in Indigenous sport and been instrumental in establishing a national sports program for Indigenous youth,’ John says. ‘My involvement in this program and my progress in academic studies have sharpened my appreciation for the role of education and its effect on a person’s life.

Following a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Sports Science and working within the University of Sydney’s Yooroang Garang School of Indigenous Health Studies as a lecturer in sports science, John embarked on his PhD studies looking at the concept of ‘game sense’ – an approach to teaching and coaching that focuses more on the game than on technique practice which empowers players to think of tactics and problem-solve in a highly motivated environment.

The Endeavour Research Fellowship for Indigenous Australians was the perfect opportunity for John to undertake research in New Zealand towards his PhD. John spent six months based at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. A fundamental focus of his Endeavour Award was the opportunity to interview a number of elite-level rugby union coaches about their beliefs relating to teaching, coaching and learning in the framework of the game sense pedagogy.

As a result of his research, John was invited to present a conference paper at the Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AEISIP) conference in Sapporo, Japan in January 2008.

‘The Award enabled me to extend my research to include an international perspective. The opportunity to establish links with universities in New Zealand will generate research opportunities into the future,’ John said.

Following the completion of his Endeavour Award, John is now focusing on completing his PhD. He plans to complete a number of journal articles for publication in late 2009 and 2010 and continue international collaboration regarding the use of action research and coaching.

John Evans
Picture: John Evans

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