Initiatives & Funding: Cancer Research Theme

BIG Ideas Workshops

Cancer Research is developing BIG Ideas or large programs of work for strategic investment. With an increased focus on collaboration we are leveraging our strengths to add value over and above the pre-existing landscape of initiatives and capabilities.

Current BIG Ideas align broadly with each of our four Areas of Focus:

  • Bringing ‘omics’ into clinical practice
  • Cancers with poor outcomes
  • Living better with and after cancer
  • Reducing unwarranted variation in clinical practice

Big Ideas contribute to portfolio development, with a focus on innovation, creativity and discovery. If you have a BIG Idea to contribute, submit it at any time using the following template.

Cancer Research Seed Grants

Seed grants are offered to support new and strategic research, with a focus on collaboration across organisations and disciplines. Unsuccessful seed grants are eligible for other forms of support, including grant preparation support or leverage funds for external funding applications above $2M and philanthropic exposure.


Cancer Clinical Academic Group E/MCR seed grants

Four grants are available to early or mid-career researchers. Projects must have direct relevance to at least one Cancer BIG Idea and can address any area along the continuum of cancer control (from prevention to palliation).The funds for these collaborative grants are sourced from Cancer CAG and SPHERE funds, as well as additional UNSW philanthropic funds administered by UNSW Sydney. 

  • Four grants of up to $50,000 over 1 year are available to undertake projects in at least one of the priority areas.
  • Of the four grants awarded, two will be awarded from UNSW philanthropic funds to UNSW affiliated researchers only, in the area of focus BIG Idea of Poor outcomes cancer - Improving outcomes for brain cancer patients. Please note that these grants will be eligible only in the area of low grade gliomas.

Contact  Dr. Rebekah Puls with questions or to discuss your application prior to submission.

Deadline: 6 December 2020

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Education Initiatives

Research education and training is provided to support our research workforce in areas of identified need. A successful Therapeutic Development Workshop was held in late 2019. We engaged close to 100 people, who shared their expertise across all stages of drug development. The workshop explored ideas around commercialising research into treatments, therapies or drugs to improve health across the community. Watch the presentation.

A Medical Devices Workshop is now in development. It aims to strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations across UNSW faculties and will include information sharing in best-practice approaches to develop, test, seek approval and scale up interventional devices.

Networking Support

We are developing visibility of the research workforce across the Maridulu Budyari Gumal (SPHERE) partnership. An enabling platform – the UNSW-SPHERE CRM – is in development to facilitate this. If you are looking for individuals or groups with specific skills or interests, we are also happy to assist where possible.

Secondment / Exchange Program

UNSW Medicine supports capacity building and networking for researchers across our many partners. Placements and exchange are an opportunity to promote network development and researcher training by linking partner organisations, health districts and clinical/laboratory environments. Grants, supported by a detailed budget, are available for secondment / exchange with no deadline for application.

Annual Events

We celebrate our research successes and promote the value of partnership each year on World Cancer Day. In 2020, cancer survivors were our focus. Scientists, clinicians and members of the community came together for breakfast and heard how we are taking action to create a world without cancer through collaborative research.

Then a group of cancer survivors climbed the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. In an event held at the Opera House, we profiled researchers and health professionals who have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of those touched by cancer.