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Cancer Council WA are the largest charitable funder of cancer research in Western Australia and is entirely community funded. It is critical that we use donations, from people like you, in the most effective and efficient way possible.

$60 million

invested into world-class research by WA donors since 1963


researchers supported last year


WA-based research projects funded since 1963

Our competitive research program aims to retain world-class researchers here in WA, by supporting them at every step of their career. Not only are these researchers vital to our fight against cancer, they inspire future generations to take up careers in cancer research, safeguarding our local research sector.

Thanks to the generosity of West Australians, our research funding program stands out.  The researcher creates a research proposal based on their skills and identified need in cancer research. The proposal is reviewed by a panel of ‘peers’, marked, and ranked, ensuring all applications are assessed in a thorough and scientifically sound way.

Funding cancer research is also competitive. Our funding is highly sought after, offering a range of opportunities to students, early career, mid career, and senior researchers, enabling us to fund world-class research that reduces the incidence and impact of cancer right here in WA.

How does our funding program work?

The process below ensures we fund the best research using the best methods, to make the most of the vital funding we have.

Step 1:

  • Cancer Council WA invites researchers to submit their application.

Step 2:

  • We send the application to an external committee for independent assessment against the set criteria. They provide a score for each application. The committees consist of internationally and nationally recognised WA cancer researchers alongside community representatives (not Cancer Council WA Staff).

Step 3:

  • The scores of individual committee members are combined to give an ‘average’ of the scores. The average scores are then ranked from highest score to lowest.
  • Committee members are excluded from scoring and decision making for proposals where they may have a current or past connection, through work or personally, with the grant applicants in the past (as this could be a conflict of interest).

Step 4:

  • In most cases, Committee members meet to discuss the individual scores they gave to the applications and agree on the final ranking.
  • Shortlisted applicants are invited to an interview for some grants.

Step 5:

  • The external committee submit their recommendations to our CEO.
  • Once approved by our CEO, funding is offered to the researcher.

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What is our research strategy?

In 1963 we contributed $3,500 to the Scientific and Advisory Committee for small research projects and the first Vacation Scholarships for tertiary students – these scholarships are still awarded today.

We support the very best cancer research in WA through our Cancer Research Funding Program, which is fully funded by donations from the WA community.

A key objective of our program is to encourage and support a wide range of research activities into cancer causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and supportive care.

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How do we fund the highest quality research?

  1. We only accept submissions from recognised universities or research institutes in Western Australia.
  2. Applications are required to be submitted by a specified date.
  3. All applicants are assessed through a peer-reviewed process, where experts assess applicants on specified criteria that ensure the science is excellent, and the research is current, competitive and achievable.
  4. We have community representatives to assess specific community criteria to help ensure the research we fund is relevant to the WA community, ensure accountability to our donors and improve how research outcomes are communicated to the wider community.
  5. We have a monitoring and evaluation framework in place to better inform our strategic decisions.

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Thanks to our WA researchers, their research and people like you, our understanding of cancer has significantly increased. Together, we have been able to achieve impressive technological advances, which has created exciting opportunities to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Our Research Grants Advisory Committee and its Subcommittees

Our Research Grants Advisory Committee and its subcommittees’ role is to assess and award funds on the basis of scientific quality and responses to carefully developed and specific community criteria. This ensures we are investing in the highest quality cancer research in WA.

The committee members generously volunteer their time, knowledge and expertise.

For information on how to express your interest in becoming a research committee, subcommittee or community member, please use the link below that is relevant to you.

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The Research Grants Advisory Committee is a committee of Cancer Council WA, and oversees three subcommittees, the Postdoctoral Research Grants Advisory Subcommittee, the Pre-doctoral Research Grants Advisory Subcommittee and the Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme Advisory Subcommittee.


The roles of our committee and subcommittees

The Research Committee review the Research Fellowship and Project Grant applications. The assessment periods for the Project Grants are July/August and October/November and will include at most two meetings. The assessment period for the Fellowship is June/July, and will include at most two meetings, one of which will be for interviews. The Research Committee also meet at most twice a year to discuss items relevant to guidance on the direction of the Research Funding Program. The membership term for this committee is two three year terms.

The Postdoctoral Subcommittee review the Postdoctoral Fellowship and Early Career Investigator Grants. The assessment period for the Postdoctoral Fellowship is May/June and will include at most two meetings, one of which will be for interview. The assessment period for the Early Career Investigator Grants is August/September and may include at most one meeting.

The Pre-doctoral Subcommittee review the PhD Top Up and Vacation Scholarship applications. The assessment period for the Vacation Scholarships is August/September and may include at most one meeting. The assessment period for the PhD Top Up Scholarships is November and will include at most one meeting.

The Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme Subcommittee review the Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme Applications. This funding opportunity is run every 2-3 years for which the assessment period is confirmed prior to the grants being open for applications and will include at most three meetings, one of which will be for one day of interviews.

Prof David Preen (Chair)

A/Prof Georgia Halkett A/Prof Juliana Hamzah A/Prof Evan Ingley
Prof Delia Nelson A/Prof Fiona Pixley Dr Andy Redfern Prof Rob Newton

This committee also assess the Research Fellowship and Project Grant applications.

A/Prof Juliana Hamzah (Chair)

Prof Fraser Brims Dr Ben Dessauvagie Dr Connie Jackaman
Dr Carolyn McIntyre Dr Jennifer Stone Dr Laurence Cheung

This subcommittee assesses the Postdoctoral Fellowship and Suzanne Cavanagh Early Career Investigator Grant applications.

Prof Delia Nelson (Chair)

Dr Rodrigo Carlessi Dr Jessica Buck Dr Omar Elaskalani
Dr Ben Wylie Dr Melvin Chin
Dr Weitao Lin Dr Joakim Karlsson
Dr Karen Taylor Dr Nicole Smith

This subcommittee assesses the Student Vacation Scholarships, and the PhD Top Up Scholarship applications.

Prof Fiona Pixley (Chair)

Prof Deidre Combe Dr Lucy Gilks A/Prof Elin Gray Prof Moira O’Connor Dr Jason Waithman Prof Lisa Whitehead

This subcommittee assesses the Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme Grant applications.

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