Ernest Daniel Williams Scholarship

The Award

 Ernest Daniel (Ernie) Williams, who died in 2014, was a real estate agent based in Melbourne, Victoria who had a long association with the Norman Beischer Medical Research Foundation (NBMRF) and advised the Board in real estate matters over many years.  

Ernie was the eldest of five children, and after graduating from Xavier College with a Commonwealth Scholarship, he commenced studying Medicine at the University of Melbourne, but soon transferred to Monash University where he graduated with a degree in Commerce/Economics.  He joined the family real estate firm, Ernest F Williams & Son where he developed strong, loyal relationships with clients who appreciated his expertise in property and valuations.

Ernie had a strong sense of care and support for family and the wider community and enormous empathy for those disadvantaged beyond their control, particularly children. He also appreciated the impact education had on creating opportunities for individuals.  

These factors led Ernie to approach the Foundation with the view of leaving the residue of his estate to the Foundation.  His wish was for the Foundation to provide one or more scholarships with the purpose of supporting the education of Aboriginal students and to encourage any academic study that would benefit the long-term health and well-being of the Aboriginal Community.

The Foundation was honoured to be able to offer for the first time in 2017 the Ernest D Williams Scholarship.

Conditions of Award

 The Scholarship is open to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who are pursing academic study of a tertiary nature that has an element of research.  The area of research is not confined to a particular branch of medicine or health sciences, but the proposed outcome of the study should relate to the improvement of the health and well-being of the Aboriginal Community.

The recommendation of the Scholarship Panel will be reviewed by the Board for approval, a process which may require the candidate to present for an interview with the Board.

It is anticipated that the research work performed by the Ernest Williams Scholar will be conducted in Melbourne, Victoria.


The Scholarship funding is up to $30,000 per annum and may be awarded for a period of not greater than 2 years, depending on the type of study being conducted.


Please note: Applications are not being accepted at present as the Ernest Williams Scholarship has been awarded for 2018 to Pamela McCalman for the following Research Project:

Woman’s Journey: “Baggarook Yurrongi” “Nurragh Manma Buliana”
Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women through continuity of midwife care.

About the Project
In Australia, maternal mortality, low birthweight, preterm birth, perinatal death and infant mortality are substantially higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (called ‘Aboriginal’ hereafter) mothers and babies. Numerous government reports and inquiries have recommended that strategies to improve outcomes are urgently needed. Caseload midwifery (where women have continuity of care from a ‘known’ midwife during pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum) is considered to be the ‘gold standard’ in maternity care, and is associated with better clinical and psychosocial outcomes, however few Aboriginal women have access to this model. We are undertaking collaborative work funded as a Partnership Project by the National Health and Medical Research Council to help address this issue in four Victorian maternity services. The partners are Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Goulburn Valley Health, Mercy Hospital for Women, Western Health and the Royal Women’s Hospital. Prior to the commencement of this work, caseload midwifery had not been proactively offered to Aboriginal women at the four participating hospitals, and non-Aboriginal women were more than twice as likely to receive caseload compared with Aboriginal women (9.4% vs 4.5%). 

The overall aim is to assess the research translation capacity of our partner maternity services to implement, embed and sustain a caseload model specifically for Aboriginal women (and non-Aboriginal women having Aboriginal babies).  We will explore model implementation; women’s views, experiences and outcomes; and the sustainability of, and impacts on, the caseload model in the organisations.