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Tuesday / June 18.
Homeminews2023 MDFA Research Grants Open

2023 MDFA Research Grants Open

Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) is celebrating World Sight Day (13 October) with a further commitment to fund ground-breaking research into macular disease.

As Australia’s largest non-government source of funding for world-leading research that aims to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease, MDFA has committed AU$5.1 million across 29 projects since the research grants program was launched in 2011.

This type of blue-sky thinking is very hard to get funding for – it’s seen as high-risk”… But the Grant Family had vision. They wanted to fund novel ideas

Notable past recipients of MDFA funding include Professor Paul Mitchell AO, Professor Robyn Guymer, Professor Mark Gillies, and Associate Professor Fred Chen, to name a few.

Rigorous Evaluation

Peer review and rigorous evaluation based on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) process has always ensured the successful applicants meet high standards. New to the 2023 evaluation process will be the inclusion of a community review panel – people living with a macular condition or directly supporting those living with the disease.

As MDFA’s research program is funded by the generosity of the public through donations, this change in process reflects MDFA’s desire to represent the voice of the macular disease community.

“We see this as a welcome addition to a very successful program,” said Dr Kathy Chapman, MDFA’s new CEO. “Our research program exists because our community is deeply committed to advancing understanding of this disease. We hope that the Community Review Panel will contribute to the funding decisions through their lived experience, making the research we fund even more relevant to the needs of the community, as well as being scientifically rigorous”.

Blue Sky Research Opportunity

Once again, the Grant Family Fund – a legacy gift in honour of the late Faye Grant and her father Ronald Grant – will offer a total pool of up to $100,000 for early-career researchers for ‘blue-sky’ research in the field of macular disease.

The Grant Family Fund invests in creative and innovative projects by early-career Australian researchers that show potential for future funding by granting bodies, in accordance with the principles of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Dr Anai Gonzalez Cordero, from the University of Sydney, was one of the first recipients of a MDFA grant for innovative ‘blue sky’ research into macular disease. His project aims to create a macula-containing organoid or ‘mini organ’. This ‘macula in a dish’ could be used as a source of cells for replacement therapies and to test the efficacy of potential treatments.

“This type of blue-sky thinking is very hard to get funding for – it’s seen as high-risk”, says Dr Gonzalez Cordero. “But the Grant Family had vision. They wanted to fund novel ideas. This sort of creativity and new ideas and research wouldn’t be funded otherwise.”

Apply Now

Applications close at 5pm (AEDT) on 31 January 2023 and the successful applicants will be announced in May 2023. To learn more about the MDFA Research Grants Program or to apply, visit the MDFA website: www.mdfoundation.com.au/content/research-grants-program