Betty Watts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Award


Inaugurated in 2001, the Betty Watts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Award recognises an outstanding conference paper related to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander education, presented at the Annual AARE Conference.  

The award is intended to recognise excellence in research by individual researchers or teams of researchers across all career stages.

Please note that from 2005 to 2022 the award was titled the Betty Watts Indigenous Researcher Award and recognised an outstanding conference paper by a researcher who identified as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In 2023, the award reverted to its original criteria.

The winner of the Award may be invited by the editor of The Australian Educational Researcher to submit the paper for consideration for publication in the journal (subject to double blind peer review).

Applications due: 31 August, 2023

Status of round: open

Support: Certificate and up to $800 to assist with conference attendance expenses 


  • Eligible persons may apply for the Award themselves, or may be nominated by another person (e.g., a colleague or supervisor or referee)

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must demonstrate that they meet all the following criteria:

  • be a member of AARE
  • meet the closing date for abstract submission
  • submit a first-authored conference paper for review by the conference awards committee using this form by 31 August, 2023
  • be able to attend the full conference
  • have an abstract accepted for presentation at the conference through the abstract submission process via the AARE conference website
  • deliver the presentation at the conference as scheduled
  • have not previously received a Betty Watts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Award

It is possible to submit a jointly authored paper for an award. Award applicants must be the first named author on the paper. AARE places the responsibility for full disclosure to co-authors with the first author of a paper submitted for consideration in these award categories. 

Merit Criteria

As the intent of the award is to honour and facilitate high quality scholarship, applications will be judged on the basis of the following academic merit criteria:

  • Originality
  • Contemporary significance and/or scholarly relevance
  • Conceptual, methodological and theoretical soundness
  • Disciplined, focused and persuasive argument
  • Coherent organisation and clarity of written expression
  • Comprehensive reference to appropriate literature

Only one paper per researcher or research team should be submitted for the Award in any year. Papers previously submitted may not be re-submitted. The same paper cannot be submitted for more than one award in any year.


  • Funds will be made available following the conference paper presentation.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the form on the website. 

Paper guidelines 

Selection process

Applications will be assessed by the Awards Panel which is convened each year by the Awards Convenor. The panel’s decision will be final and no further correspondence will be entered into.


AARE Awards

Previous awardees


Dr Mitchell Rom The University of Queensland

Just play the game”: Some of the key learning and teaching challenges situated in Indigenous education at University

Show all awardees »