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Matched Funding Program

Making donated dollars go further

Overview

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia (NSCFA) is a prominent supporter of stem cell science in Australia, well known for its annual award to promising mid-career researchers - the Metcalf Prizes - and ongoing support of students and early-career researchers by providing travel grants to participate in various conferences, such as the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting.

The Foundation will provide up to four AUD$100,000 research grants per year over five years, as part of its Matched Funding Program.

Under the Program, Foundation will match any donation it receives from an approved donor (or donors) up to a maximum of $50,000 with up to $50,000 dollars of its own funds, to potentially provide a total of $100,000 for a successful research project.

Ideally, the lead researcher (or their host institution) would find and introduce the donor to NSCFA, however if this does not occur Foundation will use its resources to try to source an appropriate donor (through its newsletters, website and social media).

To be eligible the research project must be:

  • Utilising stem cell technology
  • Performed predominantly in Australia
  • Preclinical studies that would inform a clinical trial OR ready to conduct a clinical trial .

The application will also provide details of the purpose for which the funding will be used such as equipment, PhD Student stipends, research assistants or a project manager (if working towards clinical trials).

Applications will also advise on the prospects of finding interested donors willing to provide support at this level.

Scientists we're supporting

2021 Matched Funding Program recipients:

  • Dr Peter Houweling from Murdoch Children's Research Institute is developing a treatment for a type of muscular dystrophy, a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.
  • Dr Gerard Kaiko from Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle is working on personalised gene therapy for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, an inherited condition that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs. 
  • Dr Raymond Wong from the Centre for Eye Research Australia and The University of Melbourne is developing a gene therapy for late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited retinal disease that causes progressive loss of vision.
  • Dr Sarah Withey from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland is using mini liver 'organoids' made from stem cells to test a treatment for children with a rare, genetic, progressive, life-limiting disease Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T).

2020 Matched Funding Program recipients:

  • Dr Tom Edwards from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and The University of Melbourne is working on gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases.
  • Professor John Bateman from Murdoch Children's Research Institute is researching genetic disorders of bone and cartilage.
  • Professor Mark Shackleton is from the Cancer Development and Treatment Group Laboratory at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University. Mark seeks to develop new treatments for the skin pigment disorder vitiligo and for melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer.
  • Associate Professor Mike Doran from Queensland University of Technology at the Translational Research Institute is working in collaboration with the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Royal Brisbane and Woman's Hospital and at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Mike is exploring the potential of stem cells to promote healing in long bones.

2022 Program

Up to four more projects will be selection for the 2022 Program.

Key dates

Advance notification of 2022 program

December 2021

Expressions of Interest open

8 Feb 2022

Expressions of Interest close

8 Mar 2022

Supplementary questionnaire for shortlisted applications

Mar/Apr 2022

Applicants notified of outcome

28 June 2022

Agreement executed, donor(s) found and funds paid

After 1 July 2022

 

Information on the 2021 process is included below for reference.

The Process

Researchers interested in applying for a grant under the program should complete an Expression of Interest (see below) and forward it to Foundation as directed.

All EOIs will be reviewed by the Foundation's Science & Ethics Committee and independent expert reviewers who will initially establish a short list and then decide the eventual winners of the grants.

During the review process researchers under serious consideration will most probably be required to provide more detailed information on their project.

The full review process will be completed in May 2021. Successful applicants will be advised directly and the full list of projects to be funded will be posted on the Foundation website.

Successful researchers will be sent, through their host institution, a letter of intent confirming that once Foundation has received the $50,000 donation intended to support their research, it will forward the full $100,000 in funding.

The Researcher (or Host Institution) will then have a set period to find an approved donor(s). At that stage, if a donor has not been found, the offer to provide the funding will lapse.

When an approved donor has been found, two agreements will be executed:

  • A fairly basic Research Funding Agreement between Foundation and the Researcher’s Host Institution confirming key elements of the relationship.
  • A Donor Agreement between Foundation and the Donor, largely designed to confirm the obligations and rights of the donor.

After these are executed, the Donor can make their donation ($50,000) to Foundation and within seven days Foundation will pay $100,000 to the Researcher’s Host Institution.

The Researcher will then have twelve months from that payment date to fully acquit the funds and provide a final report to the Foundation.

Download the Expression of Interest word document.