Venture Grants Scheme

Our Venture Grants Scheme is an innovative research program that funds high risk, high reward research projects that could lead to major leaps forward in our understanding and treatment of cancer. These projects are 100 percent funded by donors and given their pioneering nature, would not have attracted conventional funding.

After a rigorous selection process, our Venture Grants Committee chose four projects out of 89 applications that they believe have the potential for significant breakthrough.

Each of these projects went through a peer review process and met the following criteria:

  • Potential to significantly change our thinking about the causes, prevention, detection, treatment or management of cancers. We want big ideas about improving outcomes for cancer patients and/or benefits for the community at large.
  • Demonstration of exceptional innovation in the approach, and with sufficient risk as to make the application unlikely to be funded through conventional grant schemes.
  • Project proposal that has a sound hypothesis, scientific rigour and feasible experimental design. As a whole, the research team will be considered capable of world-leading research outcomes.
  • Appropriate and clear research milestones in which to assess progress. Each project will be monitored on the basis of expressed milestones, and decisions to continue funding will depend upon meeting these milestones.

The research projects began in 2015 and will continue under the current Venture Grants Scheme funding until 2018.

Download the Venture Grants Scheme overview

The successful researchers are known as Metcalf Venture Grants recipients to honor the late Professor Don Metcalf AC's commitment to and achievements in cancer research.

A vision of the cancer landscape in 10 years

Project one: Discovering new therapies to eradicate cancer stem cells

Associate Professor Mark Dawson
Associate Professor Mark Dawson, Dr Marnie Blewitt and Dr Chris Burns.
Project location
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Project outline
"Only by peering into the mechanics of cancer initiation and progression will we uncover frailties that may lead to therapeutic progress." - Associate Professor Dawson

Download the first year project update

Project two: Identification of new therapeutic strategies for aggressive breast cancer

Professor Roger Daly

Professor Roger Daly, Professor Vinod Ganju, Cancer Council's Colebatch Fellow Associate Professor Sherene Loi, Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson, and Professor Christina Mitchell.

Project location

Monash University, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics.

Project outline
"We want to identify new personalised treatments by advancing molecular sub-classification of triple negative breast cancer - a world first." - Professor Daly

Download the first year project update

Project three: New treatments for multiple myeloma

Professor Ricky Johnstone

Professor Ricky Johnstone, Dr Jake Shortt, Dr Philip Thompson, and Professor Miles Prince.

Project location

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Project outline
"This entire project is blue sky, risky and highly ambitious. However, should we be successful in discovering biologically important targets, thousands of sufferers of multiple myeloma around the world will be the beneficiaries." - Professor Johnstone

Download the first year project update

Project four: Novel method to find genes that control cancer development

Professor Andreas Strasser

Professor Andreas Strasser, Dr Marco Herold, Professor, Jane Visvader and Professor, Geoffrey Lindeman.

Project location

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

Project outline
"We want to discover mechanisms that impose breaks on cancer development and expansion of malignant tumour cells in order to develop new therapies." - Professor Strasser

Download the first year project update

How can you support the Venture Grants Scheme?

By supporting Venture Grants your generosity will:
  • Enable four world-class research teams to push the boundaries of cancer research.
  • Change the way we think about the causes, prevention, detection, treatment and management of cancer.
  • Support innovative projects with sufficient risk that are unlikely to be funded through conventional grant schemes.
How we acknowledge you
As a supporter you:
  • Receive regular updates on the work and the impact of your support.
  • Attend exclusive events, lab tours and receptions.
  • Meet some of our world-leading scientists and their teams.
  • Can link you donation to one specific project or your choice.
What Next?

Contact Olivia Baillie to discuss how you could ‘Be there at the Breakthrough' by supporting our Venture Grants Scheme. Email or call +61 3 9514 6546.

Updated: 06 Sep, 2017