April 5, 2016

Lung Foundation Australia announces major investment to help address critical underspend in lung health research

Lung Foundation Australia has leveraged generous community support to launch research awards worth almost $700,000 as part of a major investment in lung health research, including several significant multi-year awards.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said compared to other disease areas, research into lung disease was very poorly supported.

“For example, only about 7.5 per cent of National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding goes to respiratory research, despite the fact respiratory disease is responsible for 10 per cent of the health burden and 14 per cent of all deaths in Australia,” Mrs Allan said.

“Additionally, only five per cent of tumour specific funding goes to lung cancer, even though lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer and kills more people that breast, ovarian and prostate cancer combined,” she said.

“That’s why the Lung Foundation Australia Board has identified the need to address this critical underfunding as a key priority, both through our advocacy and fundraising activities.

“We’ve set the ambitious goal that by 2020 we’ll be contributing $5 million a year to support research – both research awards and research platforms, including our lung cancer trials groups and our disease-based registries (IPF and Bronchiectasis).

“This year will see us take a significant step in that direction.

“As a result of our fundraising and collaborative work with universities and research institutes, the Lung Foundation will provide $698,000 in direct funding to promising research programs, a 70 per cent increase from last year.”

Announced at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting being held in Perth, the new Deep Manchanda Lung Cancer Fellowship was made possible through a significant donation by the Manchanda family.

These eight co-funded two-year fellowships over 16 years will provide $160,000 to early career lung cancer post-doctoral students who has recently finished their PhD studies and who are looking to build on their doctoral research.

The University of Newcastle will match the Lung Foundation Australia funding of $180,000 for the first of the two year fellowships, taking the value of this first award to $360,000.

Mrs Allan said by matching donations with support from academic partners, Lung Foundation Australia was able to extend and increase the value of the award as well as maximising the return for the community.

The Lung Foundation also launched the David Wilson PhD scholarship in IPF which offers $30,000 a year for three years for a PhD scholarship in IPF research.

Like the Manchanda Fellowship, these awards were made possible through the generous community support of the Wilson family.

In another show of support for lung health research, Lung Foundation Australia also announced three new Lung Cancer PhD scholarships, funded through the Lung Foundation Australia Lung Cancer program, worth $30,000 each to help support a researcher starting their career, augmenting four existing PhD scholarships supported by a donation from the Bantoft family.

Mrs Allan said these research awards were an excellent opportunity for universities, graduates, PhD students, and health professionals interested in pursuing research in lung disease.

“By working closely with our partners we will ensure generous gifts given by our donors are used in the best and most effective ways as possible.

“These awards are possible through the support of our industry partners and the generous donations of members in our community.”

For more information about the research awards and Lung Foundation Australia’s commitment to building lung health research, visit http://lungfoundation.com.au/research/

 

Background

The new awards launched today were:

  • The David Wilson PhD Scholarship in IPF – thanks to the support of the Wilson Family, the Lung Foundation, in collaboration with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Consortium, will be able to support seven 3-year PhDs (each worth $90,000 over three years) aimed at increasing our understanding of this rare and devastating disease..
  • David Serisier Memorial Award for Translational Research in Bronchiectasis – funded through generous donations made by Dr Serisier’s colleagues, patients, family and friends following his tragic death last year. $1,000 will be provided to the best oral or poster presentation in bronchiectasis or respiratory infection at the TSANZ conference.  The fund will support this award for the next 20-25 years.
  • Lung Foundation PhD Scholarships in Lung Cancer – Lung Foundation Australia’s Lung Cancer program will fund three new 3-year PhD scholarships (each worth $90,000).  This augments four existing PhD scholarships supported by a donation from the Bantoft family.
  • Deep Manchanda Lung Cancer Fellowship ($360,000 over two years) – thanks to the generous support of the Manchanda family in memory of Deep Manchanda, the Lung Foundation will support eight two-year post-doctoral Fellowships over the next 16 years.  The first of these fellowships was announced at the TSANZ conference.  The University of Newcastle (under the leadership of Prof Phil Hansbro) will match the Lung Foundation Australia funding of $180,000 for the first of the two year fellowships, taking the value of this first award to $360,000.

Other awards being presented at the TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting include:

  • Lung Foundation Australia / Boehringer Ingelheim COPD Research Fellowship 2016/2017 – $80,000 pa awarded for research to improve the diagnosis and management of COPD
  • Lung Foundation Australia / Ivan Cash Research Grant-in-Aid Award – $5,000 awarded to undertake research involving analysis of data from the Australian IPF Registry, in collaboration with the IPF Registry Steering Committee
  • Lung Foundation Australia / Lizotte Family Research Award – $5,000 awarded for research in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung Foundation Australia / Ludwig Engel Grant-in-Aid for Physiological Research – $5,000 awarded for research in respiratory physiology
  • Lung Foundation Australia / Australian Cochrane Airways Group Scholarship – $2,500 intended to assist with the completion, update and/or presentation of a Systematic Review.
  • Cochrane Airways Australian Satellite – $2,000 to students in health sciences (undergraduate or postgraduate) to study Evidence-Based Medicine in lung conditions that are prevalent and important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders or Maori children
  • Lung Foundation Australia / A Menarini COPD Travel Grants to travel to ATS 2016 – two travel grants of up to $3000 + GST
  • Lung Foundation Australia / Boehringer Ingelheim Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Research Top-Up Grants 2016/2017 – to support research to improve the diagnosis and management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Australia totalling $40,000 across the two awards.