1 December 2023

Sixty outstanding health and medical graduates in their chosen fields will share in $9.8 million of grant funding to support their early research careers under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship scheme.

NHMRC’s Postgraduate Scholarship scheme supports exceptional graduates to develop capability for original independent research and expand the future capacity of the health and medical research workforce. 

Successful applications will receive funding to attain a research-based postgraduate degree – Doctor of Philosophy or a Research Masters Degree.

Today’s announcement of $9.8 million includes more than $7 million for new scholarships, plus an additional $2.8 million to increase scholarship stipends to $50,000 per year from 1 January 2024 for all new and also existing NHMRC Postgraduate Scholars.

Among the new Postgraduate Scholars being announced today are: 

  • Mrs Victoria-Rae Sinka from the University of Sydney, who is partnering with the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector, will develop a community-based kidney health promotion program for Aboriginal children and young people.
  • Dr Emma Smith from Menzies School of Health Research, who is working in partnership with community members and clinician researchers, will develop and implement community-led strategies to improve tuberculosis (TB) treatments to help close the gap in newly diagnosed cases of TB between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Dr Danny Con from the University of Melbourne will use mathematical and computer-based models to describe how infliximab, a drug used to treat ulcerative colitis, is broken down and affects inflammation, as well as how gut bacteria can be used to predict patient outcomes.
  • Mr Bradley Menz from Flinders University will analyse high-value data from major breast cancer trials to provide world-leading insights into the safety and efficacy of commonly used breast cancer treatments.
  • Dr Lucy Haggstrom from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research will explore the effects of antibody drug conjugates on the tumour microenvironment of triple negative breast cancer to explore whether different strategies improve outcomes for patients.
  • Dr Richard Kha from the University of Sydney will examine both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across numerous sites nationwide to establish the prevalence, risk factors and impact of vision impairment and major eye diseases among the Australian population.

All the funding details announced today are available on NHMRC’s outcomes of funding rounds webpage.

Quotes attributable to NHMRC CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh:

  • 'NHMRC’s Postgraduate Scholarship scheme creates opportunities for health and medical graduates to pursue their objectives in tackling some of Australia’s biggest health challenges.
  • 'It is also a great ignitor for those wanting to kick-start their careers and set them on the path to becoming a clinician researcher or an independent career in research.
  • 'The new $50,000 per year stipend for all NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship holders will help create an attractive pathway for these graduates to enter and pursue their research careers. 
  • 'I’m thrilled to see the diverse range of projects and outstanding research that is about to happen in Australia – congratulations to all recipients.'