April 27 2020

Grants Round Up April 2020

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Quote from Professor Julian Elliott - This is about ensuring that Australian clinicians are supported at the fron line with the right information.

Last week, the Board of Governors met to consider Round 1, 2020 grant applications and approved 27 grants totalling $6,011,121 across several funding areas.

Major grant

Monash University, Australian Living Evidence Consortium

Establishment of COVID-19 Living Evidence Taskforce and Living Evidence: Phase Two
$2,500,000 over five years

Due to the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 Crisis in Australia, the Australian Living Evidence Consortium has currently pivoted to focus wholly on COVID-19 to support clinical groups who are struggling to know how to best manage patients with COVID-19 in the face of rapidly evolving research and data.

This response, called the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, comprises teams of researchers, experts and clinicians who have been working around the clock to deliver national guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19 across primary, acute and critical care settings.

The Taskforce, which includes key Australian medical peak bodies such as the Australian Society of Infectious Diseases and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, is providing ‘living’ guidelines, updated with new research in near real-time in order to give reliable, up-to-the-minute advice to clinicians providing frontline care in this unprecedented health crisis.

On 4 April 2020, the Australian Government announced that it would provide funding to support the Taskforce, together with contributions from the Victorian Government, The Ian Potter Foundation and the Walter Cottman Endowment Fund managed by Equity Trustees.

The Foundation’s board approved an initial grant of $500,000 prior to its board meeting in order to ensure the Taskforce would be funded to undertake this vital work.

The Australian Living Evidence Consortium (ALEC) based at Monash University in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health  Sciences is an existing collaboration of chronic and non-communicable disease groups currently leading a ‘living evidence’ approach to guideline development in Australia. By bringing together leading experts in evidence synthesis, guideline development and digital technologies this consortium will build a next-generation system for delivering reliable, accessible, up-to-date evidence in health.

Medical practitioners rely on clinical guidelines to offer the best care to patients. Guidelines are developed by reviewing all research to provide the best evidence-based advice. This review process is time-consuming which often means guidelines do not reflect the most recent and effective evidence.

To address this delay, ALEC will develop an evidence system for Australia that delivers better health and a sustainable health system. Living Evidence will deliver the latest research to clinical practice in near real-time, driving better care and health outcomes.

Living Evidence: Phase Two requires $25m in funding over five years. The Ian Potter Foundation has approved a further Major grant of $2m over four years (FY22–FY25) subject to additional funding being raised through Commonwealth and state governments and philanthropy.

Aside from the clear immediate need for this real-world solution to the current health crisis, the Foundation’s Governors were impressed by the potential for this model to be replicated in other areas such as childcare, education, child protection and justice. Critically, the success of this ambitious project will depend on further support from Commonwealth and state governments.

Community Support and Strategic Response

In response to the unfolding health and economic crises caused by the combination of Australia’s devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has been communicating with its current NFP partners which are facing challenges that were completely unpredictable a few months ago and now impact considerably on the communities they support. 

The Board has therefore approved seven Community Support grants totalling $535,000 to provide financial assistance to ensure valuable community organisations are well placed to support the vulnerable communities they serve or are able to pivot their activities to directly support the fight against COVID-19. Further details on how these and other partner organisations are responding to current challenges can be found here.

Public Health Research

This round saw the first grants awarded in the new Public Health Research program area within the Health pillar.

Program Manager for Public Health Research Projects, Lauren Monaghan comments, “In this inaugural Public Health Research projects round, all the successful projects had several aspects in common. All are big picture projects which seek to improve health service delivery and feature innovation. They all met strongly with our current focus on Indigenous health and/or mental health research and implementation. In the case of Indigenous health projects, they are all Indigenous-led or co-designed. Lastly, each project supports early to mid-career researcher engagement and professional development.”

Research projects such as these, which feature strong partnerships between research institutions and local organisations with both local and national implications, exemplify what the Governors had in mind when conceiving this new funding area. The grants awarded are explained in detail below.

Australian National University
The Mayi Kuwayu Study - community outreach researcher
$590.000 over five years

The Mayi Kuwayu Study is the first large-scale study undertaken worldwide to explore the impact of culture on Indigenous health and wellbeing. Aboriginal-led and governed, the results from this study will provide meaningful evidence for creating better policies and programs and will empower communities with evidence and knowledge to improve their health and wellbeing.

The study will create a national data set that can be accessed (under best practice data guidelines) to inform health and wellbeing research, programs, and policy.

Menzies School of Health Research
Evaluation of Territory Kidney Care (TKC), an innovative clinical decision support tool for economic impact, transferability and scalability
$540,000 over five years

Territory Kidney Care (TKC) is the first clinical decision support tool in Australia that automates the consolidation of patient records from government and non-government health services, with the aim to close the information gap and facilitate integrated care. TKC addresses the enormous burden of end-stage renal disease in Aboriginal communities in NT.

The TKC project presents an innovative solution to overcoming fragmentation in health services delivery.

This funding will be used to rigorously evaluate TKC functionality, clinician uptake and resource impact with the view to undertaking further enhancements to ready TKC for up-scaling across northern Australia and replication into other states and/or diseases.

Telethon Kids Institute
Healthy skin, healthy lives: building evidence for and with Aboriginal communities in the SToP trial
$252,000 over three years

The SToP (See, Treat, Prevent skin sores and scabies) trial is a clinical trial that seeks to address the huge and preventable burden of impetigo in Indigenous children.

Skin infections are highly prevalent in remote Aboriginal communities, with almost one in two (45% prevalence) remote Australian Aboriginal children having impetigo at any given time, the highest rate in the world. A 90% reduction is required to achieve parity with their non-Aboriginal Australian peers.

Working in partnership with Indigenous health care providers, the SToP clinical trial aims to reduce the burden of skin infections by developing and testing an innovative model of comprehensive skin health control in Indigenous communities.

This grant will support a Postdoctoral research fellow to oversee the scientific direction of the trial, support and mentor local Indigenous community members to up-skill them as research assistants and lead the process evaluation for the trial's comprehensive program.

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Limited (SAHMRI) 
Ngalaiya Boorai Gabara Budbut - Supporting the heads and hearts of Aboriginal children and adolescents
$300,000 over four years

This project builds on the previous work of SAHMRI’s outstanding research team which identified that Indigenous children and adolescents have substantial unmet needs for primary mental health care. To strengthen primary mental health care for Indigenous children and adolescents the research team will formally validate culturally appropriate assessment tools and co-design, develop, implement, and evaluate a training package and resources targeting care providers to promote timely and responsive care to the mental health needs of Indigenous children and adolescents.

By developing the necessary tools and building the capacity of local community organisations this project seeks to address the issue with a solution that will be both sustainable and scalable.

Community Wellbeing

White Box Enterprises­

Project 5000: Creating 5,000 jobs for Australia’s young and disadvantaged jobseekers
$450,000 over three years

White Box Enterprises Ltd (White Box) has a goal to create or support the replication of employment-based social enterprises to support Australia’s young and disadvantaged jobseekers. This includes people with a lived experience of mental illness or homelessness, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, refugees, and those living with disabilities.

Setting a goal to create 5000 jobs by 2030, this ambitious project is driven by Luke Terry who has achieved great success in the last few years with social enterprises employing vulnerable people. One such enterprise is the highly successful Vanguard Laundry in Toowoomba, a state-of-the-art commercial laundry, opened and operated for the sole purpose of removing barriers to employment for people with a lived experience of mental illness.

The Foundation’s $450,000 grant will assist with the core costs of White Box, allowing the enterprise to use other funding to pilot new enterprises and replicate existing successful models. White Box has now, more than ever, a critical role to play supporting vulnerable individuals in securing employment.

Ryder-Cheshire Victorian Homes Foundation
The Ryder-Cheshire Ivanhoe Homes Kilpatrick & Gyngell Houses Laundry and Kitchen Safety and Accessibility Upgrade

Ryder-Cheshire Victorian Homes Foundation provides accommodation for individuals who live over 100km from Melbourne and need to attend metropolitan medical hospital care. The 43 residents’ bedsitter units spread across two houses were originally built in the mid-1950s and therefore require extensive renovations to comply with current building codes and standards to provide safe and comfortable accommodation for people in particularly vulnerable circumstances.

This grant will support the upgrade of the laundry facilities in both Kilpatrick and Gyngel Houses and initial planning to upgrade the residents’ kitchen facilities.

Medical Research

In this round, seven Medical Research grants were awarded valued at $100,000 each. These grants provide funding for medical equipment including specialised computers required by leading Australian research groups to undertake cutting-edge research.

Details of these grants can be found in our grants database.

Impact Enhancement grants

Six Impact Enhancement grants totalling $114,121 were also ratified or approved at the recent board meeting. The following initiatives are examples of how the Foundation supports existing partners via impact enhancement grants.

Telethon Kids was awarded $30,000 for the COVID-19 E-learning for an aboriginal audience project, which is co-funded with Minderoo Foundation. The e-learning product aims to explain the COVID-19 virus, its transmission, risks and preventative measures to an Aboriginal audience.

The Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation was awarded $20,000 to contract an evaluation consultant to co-design a training program (AWRAE Training Pilot) with Indigenous women in remote communities (beginning with Carnarvon and Derby/Broome) to teach them to be evaluators of the programs operating within their communities.

The Australian Academy of Science was awarded $15,000 towards the Deliberative Decision-Making Trial, Demonstration Project in the Goulburn River which is co-funded with The Myer Foundation ($15k). The project has the potential to demonstrate a new approach to resolving water policy deadlocks, which will be applicable across the Murray–Darling Basin as well as other Australian river basins.

The Trustee for Karrkad Kandji Trust was awarded $25,000 to support the Adjumarllarl Rangers Carbon Abatement Project. Located in north-western Arnhem Land (adjoining Kakadu National Park), the project will extend the implementation of savannah burning methodology practices by the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. This scaling-up of ‘cultural burning’ fire management, will create a sustainable revenue stream for the rangers, and ensure that burning occurs in a systematic, safe, and sustainable manner, i.e. early season, low-intensity, cool, mosaic burns.


Due to the unfolding economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governors agreed not to approve any Arts applications in Round 1 2020.  In the coming weeks, management and the Board will consider ways in which the Foundation might support the Arts sector at this time.

All grants awarded in this round can be found in the Grants Database.