The Redmond Barry Fellowship is named in honour of Sir Redmond Barry (1813-1880), a founder of the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria. As a founding father and first Chancellor, Sir Redmond Barry looms large in the history of the University of Melbourne. Barry stamped his personality on all aspects of the early University from the curriculum to its infrastructure.

The first Fellowship was awarded in 2004 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Sir Redmond Barry's laying of the foundation stones for both institutions on 3 July 1854. The 2016 Fellowship shall be awarded to scholars and writers to facilitate research and the production of works of literature that utilise the superb collections of the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne.

Up to $20,000 shall be awarded to assist with travel, living and research expenses. Fellows will be based at the State Library of Victoria for three to six months. During this period, Fellows will be expected to pursue their own project, present a lecture or short seminar series open to the public, Library and University communities, and submit a brief report at the conclusion of their Fellowship.

Fellowships are open to scholars and writers from Australia and overseas. The Fellow's project may be in any discipline or area in which the Library and the University have strong collections.