Supporting research in the sector though grants

Stronger data capability means organisations can develop a better understanding of community need through the collection and use of data, helping inform decisions about service design and delivery.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Victoria Law Foundation supports community legal organisations to respond to legal needs by building their skills in collecting and applying data.

Why data capability and research skills are important  

Stronger data capability means organisations can develop a better understanding of community need through the collection and use of data, helping inform decisions about service design and delivery.

Knowledge Grants seek to improve organisational confidence and experience across the spectrum of data practices, including data collection, analysis, and use, as well as data quality issues. The insights this work generates can then be shared with other organisations, both legal and non- legal, so there’s an agreed understanding of what works best to meet the needs of the community.

'Services work best when they appreciate how people understand and interact with the world. This is particularly true for legal assistance services, where tight resources mean services have to reflect people's needs and capabilities. This is where Knowledge Grants come in' says Professor Nigel J. Balmer, Research Director at Victoria Law Foundation.

Why we provide grants for projects

Knowledge Grants are one means to help organisations build data capability and confidence, enhance research skills, improve their data over time, and ultimately answer questions that support better justice. They also provide an opportunity to conduct important projects that otherwise might not have had the necessary resources.

'Effective service design needs data. Knowledge Grants aim to help organisations collect and work with data, enhancing their capability and research skills – a key route to making services best able to understand and respond to community need' says Dr Hugh M. McDonald, Principal Researcher at Victoria Law Foundation.

We also support grant recipients during their projects. Our research team are experienced in conducting empirical research looking at critical access to justice questions. This includes a significant body of work on legal needs, legal capability, service design and delivery. They work with Knowledge Grant applicants and recipients to discuss the best way to undertake their projects to ensure they are as successful as possible.

What types of projects do we fund to achieve this?

Knowledge Grants are made for the following types of projects:

  • Investigation of a specific civil legal issue through collection and collation of data and information.
  • Using a range of datasets to better understand priority groups and/or community legal and related need. For example, service data, ABS data, data dashboards, as well as community or client feedback.
  • Piloting a new approach to legal service models, practice and data, particularly those which present opportunity to collect new or additional data and information about clients and their needs.

Who can apply for a Knowledge Grant?

Knowledge Grants are available to community legal organisations to conduct projects that build data capability and research skills. Knowledge Grants up to $50,000 are available.

Interested in applying for a grant?

Victoria Law Foundation is pleased to announce the 2021/22 Knowledge Grants round is open from 1 July 2021 until 23 August 2021.

Any organisation interested in applying for a Knowledge Grant should get in contact with our Grants Manager Melanie Rygl as early as possible on

Head to our Knowledge Grants page to find out more about the grants criteria and application process.

Read more about Knowledge Grants

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We support better justice through research, education and grants.

Victoria Law Foundation is committed to making a significant contribution to raising awareness of our law, and to provide evidence and insight to improve justice for all Victorians.