Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Media Release 20 October 2020

Research into genetic heart abnormalities, innovative stem cell therapies to regenerate blood vessels and new approaches to treat heart failure are among the projects to receive funding in this latest round.

The Heart Foundation today announced funding for 53 projects worth $13.1 million to investigate the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease, stroke and related disorders.

This is in addition to $4.1 million the Heart Foundation allocated earlier this year to boost funding for research into new ways to prevent heart disease and improve the care and treatment of Australians living with heart conditions.
Dr Emma Gordon at the University of Queensland received a Paul Korner Innovation Award on top of her Future Leader Fellowship to study the precise molecular signals that are activated when blood vessels become diseased and stiff and will test if these signals can be stopped.   

Dr Jatin Patel at Queensland University of Technology also received a Paul Korner Innovation Award to progress his research into using stem cell therapies to regenerate blood vessels.

Other successful applicants will investigate new anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent heart attacks and strokes, therapies to stabilise deadly aortic aneurysms, the link between stroke, abnormal heart rhythms and dementia and strategies to improve the cardiovascular health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Heart Foundation CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said $17.2 million was a significant investment when COVID-19 had created so much uncertainty for charities this year.

“We could have been forced to cut back our research program but this hasn’t been the case, thanks to the generosity of our donors who have supported us in this challenging year. This is an increase on last year’s total of $15.3 million, which is remarkable.

“As the biggest non-government funder of heart-related research in Australia, this is a priority for us. In the last 60 years we have invested $670 million, in today’s dollars, and we are proud to build on our legacy this year.
“Research is at the heart of what we do. Despite significant improvements in prevention and treatment over the past few decades, coronary heart disease remains Australia’s single biggest killer, claiming more than 17,500 lives each year.

“Major risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, physical inactivity and obesity are continuing to increase in Australia. At the same time, we have an ageing population and serious chronic conditions such as diabetes, which contribute to heart disease, are on the rise.”

The Heart Foundation, which received 504 applications for this funding round, will fund 10 Future Leader Fellowships that will allow cardiovascular researchers to build their research capacity and become leaders of research groups, 10 Postdoctoral Fellowships to support early-career cardiovascular researchers, 24 Vanguard grants to test the feasibility of innovative ideas, seven scholarships for health professionals to undertake a PhD and two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awards.

Awards for innovation and excellence

The Heart Foundation is pleased to announce five awards for the year’s most outstanding and innovative applications: 

The Heart Foundation Paul Korner Innovation Award is given to the most innovative successful Future Leader Fellowship and Postdoctoral Fellowship applications each year.

Future Leader Fellowships

  • Dr Emma Gordon University of Queensland
  • Dr Jatin Patel Queensland University of Technology

Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Dr Dean Picone University of Tasmania
  • Dr Rona Macniven University of NSW

The Ross Hohnen Award for Research Excellence recognises each year’s most outstanding and innovative Vanguard Grant application

  • Associate Professor Dion Stub Monash University
The full list of awards is available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/research/research-award-recipients-2020 

Media enquiries

Suzanne McKenzie Senior Media Adviser
M: 0434 691 461 E: suzanne.mckenzie@heartfoundation.org.au


Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Nutrition information panels and ingredients lists are a good way of comparing similar foods so you can choose the healthiest option....

Raffles & Lotteries

Raffles & Lotteries

Raffles & Lotteries

Give yourself a chance to win $20,000 while helping the Heart Foundation to raise essential funds for heart research....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm didn’t worry too much about his cholesterol problem – until an angiogram revealed he had an 80 per cent blockage in a major heart artery. ...

Types of physical activity

Types of physical activity

Types of physical activity

Nine out of 10 Australians could reduce the risk of heart disease by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day....

Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

QCVRN provides a framework to strengthen cardiovascular research in Queensland...

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Cardiac rehabilitation was a turning point for Kylie and essential to her heart failure recovery....

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Find heart healthy baking recipes ...

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition. ...

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

Heart Health Checks have been supported by Medicare since April 2019....

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

Let’s dive into nine common food and health myths and the facts behind them....

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Resources available for built environment professionals to help guide in the development of active outdoor and indoor spaces....

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

WEBINAR | Heart Health Checks: the critical role of the practice nurse

This webinar discusses the role of practice nurses in conducting heart health checks...