Cynthia Banham Burn Fellowship

Fiona Wood

Cynthia Banham, the Sydney Morning Herald’s foreign affairs and defence journalist, was critically injured in the Yogyarkarta air disaster in March 2007, when she was part of a delegation travelling with the then Foreign Minister, the Hon Alexander Downer MP. 

Cynthia received burns to 60 per cent of her body and subsequently had both legs amputated.  She was treated by burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood at the Royal Perth Hospital and underwent extensive surgery and an arduous recovery process.

Like so many Australians we were deeply affected by Cynthia’s terrible and traumatic experience.  Her survival and recovery, made possible by the life-saving treatment she received from Dr Fiona Wood and the burns unit at Royal Perth Hospital, is inspirational.  Cynthia’s experience is a poignant reminder of the vital importance of burn injury research and ongoing investment into treatments to further improve patient outcomes. 

Burn injury is one of the top three causes of accidental death in children under five years of age and is one of the three most common injuries suffered by an Australian each year, so this is an area that has relevance for us all. 

We are delighted to be working with Cynthia to offer this Fellowship of $20,000 per year to support an early career researcher to undertake research that has direct clinical applicability to improving patient care and outcomes in burn injury.  

The Foundation has a well-established track record of medical research grant-making and this, combined with our additional funding, will help to ensure that Cynthia’s generosity has maximum impact and creates an enduring legacy.  The Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship is our shared commitment to supporting Fiona Wood’s world-leading work and encouraging the next generation of burn research expertise in Australia.  We hope that this initiative will inspire others to give and lend their support to ensuring even better outcomes for burn injury sufferers in the future.

In Cynthia's own words, "I am very honoured to be supporting this burn injury research fellowship.  Having received emergency lifesaving treatment from Dr Fiona Wood and her team, I know first-hand the high level of expertise and talent we have in Australia in this most challenging field of medical practice.  Even so, burn injury treatment remains a discipline in which much more knowledge is needed, particularly to improve the quality of life of survivors of severe burns trauma.”


The Fellowship is open to early-career clinical researchers within 10 years of their initial medical qualification planning to develop their career in the area of burn care and with the ability to work in Western Australia.

  1. The Fellowship is awarded every two years. E.G. applications will open in 2020 for immediate commencement and/or commencement in 2020 (subject to the approval of the research project).
  2. The total Fellowship is $40,000 for the term of the project.
  3. It is open to early-career researchers within 10 years of the initial medical qualifications.
  4. The applicant must be planning to develop their career in the area of burn care and with the ability to work in Western Australia.
  5. Applicants must be employed by an Australian institution or have been living in Australia for at least 2 years. Preference is given to Australian citizens and Permanent Residents.

Please find further information on the Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship and how to apply here.

If you would like to support this work and help to expand the scope of the Fellowship, we welcome donations to this important project. 

Learn more about the work of the Fiona Wood Foundation.


Support Australia's most innovative projects through a donation to The Ian Potter Foundation. Your donation will support projects that address areas of particular need or opportunity, managed by credible organisations with solid track records in their particular fields.

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