May 10 2023

Grants Round Up April 2023

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Three perfomers and a puppet wombat in a canoe on stage.The performers are looking into the water at one side of the canoe. Two performers are wearing animal skins
Terrapin Puppet Theatre's 'A Not So Traditional Story' 2021. Image: Bryony Jackson

The latest funding round (Round 1 2023) awarded $22.8 million in grants. These comprised:

  • $14,155,000 across five major grants
  • $2,965,500 across seven Arts grants,
  • $1,980,000 across 17 Medical Research grants
  • two Early Childhood Development grants totalling $1,746,000, and
  • one Public Health Research grant for $480,000.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust was awarded $1,387,548 towards its latest round of emerging artist grants.


Major Grants


University of Melbourne (Doherty Institute)
The Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics
$5 million over 7 years

In late 2022, the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity announced the establishment of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics. This new centre has been made possible by a gift of $250 million from philanthropist Geoff Cummings. This cornerstone gift seeks 5:1 leverage from other funders. The Ian Potter Foundation is supporting the Doherty Institute in this mission with this $5 million major grant.

The vision of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics (CGCPT) is a world in which therapeutics for new viruses are ready to save lives at scale within months. COVID-19 highlighted that while therapeutics are a vital complementary tool in fighting pandemics, innovation in anti-pathogen therapeutics has lagged behind vaccines.

Led by the Doherty Institute, the CGCPT will address this gap with a high-risk, high-reward research model that will galvanise top global talent to focus entirely on developing the therapeutics we will need at speed for any future pandemic. With this approach, the Doherty Institute envisions a previously unimaginable future where novel therapeutics are generated within weeks of identifying a new virus and are swiftly delivered to patients in need, providing equitable access to treatments and saving millions of lives.


SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children
Capacity building grant to strengthen SNAICC’s operating model at a time of significant opportunity
$2.655 million over 5 years

SNAICC is the national non-government peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the organisations and communities that support them. Its goal is to see strong, safe, healthy, self-determining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children connected to family and culture.

SNAICC has been in operation for over 40 years and works in partnership with all levels of government as a national member of the Coalition of Peaks. They currently represent over 240 member services across the country and work with several strategic partners from across the sector in research, policy and practice.

Over the last few years, SNAICC has experienced significant growth in the scale and scope of its work, which has enabled the organisation to drive large-scale change for Aboriginal children and families across Australia. As a result, their systems, processes and structures need to be strengthened and tailored to a now much larger program of work and more complex organisation, while additional capacity and resourcing are required to run the organisation and deliver core functions.

This major grant invests in SNAICC’s organisational capacity to strengthen both the organisation and the broader Aboriginal Controlled Community services sector, helping to drive improvements nationally for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through policy and practice reform.


Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Remarkable – accelerating disability technology to drive inclusion for all
$2.5 million over 6 years

Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) is a global centre of expertise for cerebral palsy research, advocacy, intervention and assistive-technology innovation. CPA operates through four pillars: Service intervention, Research, Advocacy and Innovation. This major grant will support CPA’s division, Remarkable, which focuses on developing technology, product design and innovation that can significantly reset the future for people with disability.

Remarkable facilitates the development of technological solutions (products, services, platforms) for people with disabilities. These solutions are then created by enterprises that employ and service the end users. Remarkable has created a unique ecosystem that includes researchers, designers, engineers, clinicians and people with disabilities.

It is augmented by a venture-building methodology to translate research into commercially viable technology products, devices, systems and services that improve lives. It is an incubator that allows people with disabilities to create solutions to fill a gap not covered by existing mainstream non-profit, government and commercial services or products.

This major grant supports Remarkable in building its core capacity and achieving impact at scale.


Seed Foundation
Capacity Building for Seed Foundation
$2.5 million over 5 years

Seed Foundation Australia (Seed) is a not-for-profit organisation that provides end-to-end wrap-around support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students looking to pursue careers in health or social services across Queensland and in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Seed uniquely takes First Nations students from school through training to employment. Its operations involve collaboration between Seed, CnG Employment and Connect’n’Grow that removes the barriers that many First Nations students face in becoming job-ready and then employed.

This is the second major grant the Foundation has awarded Seed. The first was a foundational grant in 2017 for $1.75 million in conjunction with $750,000 from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, which enabled Seed to grow: supporting a large cohort of students (approx. 1400) in-school and post-school undertaking its pathway program, adding a social enterprise (CnG Employment) to diversify its income stream and develop strong networks with employers and industry partners.

This $2.5 million major grant will provide additional core funding to allow Seed to consolidate the strong position and outcomes achieved in the last five years. With this support to build its systems and capacity, Seed is now in a strong position to service the needs of more students/young people and grow in the next five years to a size that will ensure ongoing sustainability through traineeship/apprenticeship fees for services and government contracts.


Smiling Mind
Capacity building grant to support Smiling Mind to expand its reach and impact
$1.5 million over 5 years

Smiling Mind’s vision is to help every mind thrive by providing accessible life-long tools to support healthy minds.

Launched in 2012, Smiling Mind has cemented its role in the mental health and educational landscape as a highly impactful, evidence-based, accessible and engaging provider of preventative mental health programs for all ages. Taking a digital-led approach, Smiling Mind’s goal has been to take evidence-based psychological interventions and approaches to the general public, at scale, to equip Australians with the skills they need to thrive, face challenges with resilience, and, ultimately, reduce the prevalence of mental ill-health across our communities.

The organisation has made significant progress towards its goals, reaching more than 7.7M downloads of the Smiling Mind app, delivering its structured school-based programs into more than 1,200 Australian primary schools and reaching more than 7 million Australian children and young people through the app and school-based programs.

This capacity-building funding will support Smiling Mind over the next five years to expand the reach and scope of the organisation, grow its self-generated revenue, and invest in its innovation and leadership capability and impact measurement.


Early Childhood Development


Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth Limited (ARACY)
Convening the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children (IDAC)
$1.625 million over 5 years

The Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children (IDAC) aims to establish a long-term cooperative relationship between philanthropy and Federal Government, with a shared intergenerational focus on disrupting the conditions which hold children, their families, and the places they live in cycles of disadvantage.

This collaboration currently involves over a dozen leading foundations and philanthropists and is about improving collaboration and investing to achieve more for more children, mobilising the capacities of philanthropy and government to support local communities as they lead the change.

The lead partners from philanthropy have asked ARACY to be the convener and provide facilitation and secretariat support for the IDAC.




Australian Print Workshop
Securing the Future – Fostering the next generation of Collaborative Fine Art Printers
$337,500 over 3 years

The Australian Print Workshop (APW), established in 1981 in Fitzroy, Melbourne, is a centre for original printmaking. APW includes a shopfront gallery space and purpose-designed studios equipped with a range of printing presses and equipment and has a team of highly skilled Collaborative Fine Art Printers and experienced print specialist staff. These printmaking resources uniquely position APW to deliver an 'apprentice-like' Collaborative Fine Art Printer training program to nurture and develop technical and collaborative printing skills. This program has been designed in response to the urgent need to ensure the continuance of this important collaborative visual arts medium in Australia.

Under the guidance of the APW Director and two Collaborative Fine Art Printers, the program will be conducted over three years, with two ‘apprentices’ appointed each year to undertake a 12-month placement at APW. Apprentices will gain practical experience in various print mediums and printing techniques, including stone lithography, plate lithography, copper plate etching, and relief printing.


Desart Inc
Desart Curatorial Development Project
$432,000 over 3 years

Desart is the association of Central Australian Aboriginal Arts Centres. The organisation comprises 38 independently governed Aboriginal art centre members representing around 2500 artists. Based in Alice Springs, Desart supports art centres in the remote and regional areas of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and the far eastern border areas of Western Australia.

The Desart Curatorial Development Program aims to improve its member centres’ relationships with the art market. Lead curator, Hetti Perkins, assisted by an emerging Indigenous curator and supported by the Desart team, will identify various opportunities to promote artists’ works, including in the digital space. The program will strengthen the quality of artworks produced, provide managerial, governance and business support to the select art centres, and help develop the careers of individual artists.


The Push
Music Industry Mentoring
$550,000 over 3 years

The Push is an Australian youth music organisation based in Melbourne that has supported young people for over three decades to gain access to contemporary music programs and ‘All-Ages’ events. As part of its activities, The Push trains young people (18-26) interested in participating in the production of musical events.

Building on a pilot program delivered in 2022, The Push will expand its national Music Industry Mentoring program delivery for young people in the early stages of their careers in the contemporary music industry.

In partnership with the Australian music sector, The Push will provide a bi-annual program that will imbed both a mentoring framework and a structured workplace learning program to build job readiness across various streams, including technical production, marketing and publicity and event management. Industry partners, including Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Warner Music and Universal Music, will act as host mentor organisations. These partners are highly engaged as they look to the program to meet the skills shortage experienced across the sector.


The Song Company
The Song Company Apprentice and Emerging Artist Program
$695,000 over 4 years

The Song Company is a Sydney-based professional vocal ensemble with a proud tradition of fostering the careers of Australian vocal performers through training and development activities and annual performance programs.

This grant will support The Song Company in delivering a vocal artist training and development program designed to build careers and create performance opportunities for the next generation of emerging singers for The Song Company and for all performing ensembles who rely on a vibrant and well-trained supply of talent. The development program is split into two: the apprentice program and the understudy program.

The Apprentice Program will target talented university-aged singers from skilled amateur and semi-professional ensembles across Australia, including the Choir of Trinity College (Melbourne); Adelaide Chamber Singers; The Choral Collective (Perth); The Australian Voices (Brisbane); Luminescence (Canberra); Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir. Apprentices will experience rehearsals, masterclasses by leading practitioners, and mentorships by The Song Company Principal Artists.

Participants for the Understudy Program will most likely be chosen from the Apprentice Program. These singers will be engaged on professional, paid contracts by The Song Company to understudy each Principal Artist in every Song Company performance. There will also be Understudy Performances to ensure these individuals do have the opportunity to gain performance experience.


Terrapin Puppet Theatre
$551,000 over 3 years

Terrapin is a Hobart-based performance puppetry company that, for over 40 years, has developed a local, national and international reputation for producing award-winning puppet theatre and public interactive installations for all ages.

Over the next three years, Terrapin will provide employment and upskilling for up to 75 early and mid-career creative professionals, building capacity for individuals, organisations and the sector. This new professional development program is designed to initiate and foster long-term careers for Tasmanians in the performing arts.

Terrapin intends to provide long-term support for participants, connecting them to paid opportunities with Terrapin and other Tasmanian performing arts organisations. The program has three parts:

  1.  Attachments: Extended paid engagements with focused training and mentoring in key roles
  2. Masterclasses: Intensive learning opportunities targeted at specific skills
  3. Stewardship: Ongoing mentoring support for program participants and facilitated sector connections to generate ongoing employment.

The attachments stream will offer paid puppet-making, producing and stage management traineeships. The masterclasses stream will focus on puppet-making mechanics; stage management; technical production (lighting and sound, operation, OHS); and directing. These areas have been selected in response to ongoing needs in the Tasmanian arts sector, as identified in discussions with program partners (such as the Theatre Royal and Hedberg at the University of Tasmania). This program seeks to address the skills shortage currently being felt in theatres and festivals around the state and nationally.


Medical Research


Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
A small animal irradiator to improve the effectiveness of therapy for cancer patients

Nearly half of cancer patients receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Immunotherapy, which is increasingly applied in the clinic, is enhanced by combination with radiotherapy, but only when the correct radiation doses and frequency are established. Access to a small animal irradiator will enable preclinical testing to understand tumour responses to radiotherapy. This research aims to improve the clinical application of radiation in combination with chemotherapy or targeted therapies in the clinic, with a view to better patient outcomes.


The Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Development of epigenetic PCR blood tests to monitor cancer relapse

There is a compelling need to develop new technologies to detect cancer via blood tests. The Garvan Institute has identified novel breast and prostate cancer DNA methylation biomarkers that can detect cancer in a ‘liquid biopsy’ (blood) sample. The aim is to advance these biomarker panels into clinically validated in-vitro diagnostic DNA tests using droplet-digital PCR (ddPCR), an accurate and extremely sensitive method for detecting DNA methylation biomarkers.

The state-of-the-art Biorad-QX600 ddPCR machine – Biorad is a world leader in this technology – will enable the Garvan Institute to develop clinical tests for methylation biomarkers.


University of Technology Sydney
Safety testing of advanced bioengineered heart tissues

This grant assists with purchasing the MappingLab Electrical and Optical Mapping System, which is needed to test the safety of bioprinted tissues before moving to clinical trials. This equipment allows fast recordings of field potentials (responsible for heart contractility) and accurately detects abnormalities, such as arrhythmia. Currently, this testing is not possible in Australia, creating a critical barrier to translating findings from bench to bedside.

Bioprinted tissues are a core part of a novel treatment to help patients better recover from a heart attack.


 Details of all grants awarded in this round can be found in the Grants Database.