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


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....

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. ...

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....

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...

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.  ...

How we fought heart disease in 2020

How we fought heart disease in 2020

How we fought heart disease in 2020

Everything we do is possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

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....

NSW Cardiovascular Research Network

NSW Cardiovascular Research Network

NSW Cardiovascular Research Network

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW ...

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

Pauline is a nurse and shares advice for young people who have had a heart event or are recovering from surgery....

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

The Heart Foundation supports initiatives that guide people to healthier food and drink choices. ...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

CVD and COVID-19 Grant

CVD and COVID-19 Grant

Grants to support ground-breaking research focused on COVID-19 and its interaction with heart conditions....

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Discover our Annual reports from 2013 onwards. ...

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Discover more about our various funding programs, requirements, and application dates now....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

Information and resources for health care professionals....

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Working together to save Australian hearts...

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack. ...

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Having a mental health condition can have a negative impact on your heart health and increase your risk of heart disease....

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

The Heart Foundation is delivering a research webinar series for Heart Foundation research alumni....