Striving for a cancer-free future

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Postdoctoral Fellowships support early career researchers who have not received significant research funding to undertake research into the causes, prevention, detection, and supportive care or treatment of cancer. These fellowships  provide greater career growth and certainty for individuals, as well assist in building research capacity and continuity for the Victorian institutions. 

Professor Erica Sloan, Chair of 2023 Postdoctoral Research Fellowships Assessment Committee, explains what makes a great application.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Key Dates

Expression of interest: Closed
Full applications open (invitation only): 31 July 2023
Full applications close: 25 August 2023
Applicants notified: November - December 2023 

Please note: individual institutions may have earlier closing dates to allow for internal processing before su

Available funding

Up to four fellowships are available with a maximum of $150,000 available per year, per fellowship, for up to three years (maximum $450,000 per grant).
In addition to two (2) general Fellowships, there are two targeted Fellowships available:

  • One that supports the diagnosis and/or treatment of mesothelioma.
  • One that focuses on at least one of the following tumour streams: brain cancer, bone cancer, gynaecological cancer, head and neck cancer, or skin cancer (inc. melanoma).

The majority of the funding must support the early career researcher's salary (max. $120,000 per year).


The applicant: 

  • Awarded a PhD three or fewer years ago at the EOI close date.
  • Undertakes the Fellowship with a primary appointment (0.8-1.0 FTE) in a research role at a Victorian administering organisation (e.g., university, health service, medical or scientific research institute). For the purposes of clarity, the 0.8-1.0 FTE needs to be dedicated to the proposed research.
  • Applicant must be under the direct supervision of a mentor(s) for the duration of the Fellowship. At least one mentor at the applicant’s institution is required. 
  • Is an Australian citizen or graduate from overseas with permanent Australian resident status.
  • Has received less than $750,000 (AUD$) in total research grants as the Chief Investigator A or Principal investigator.
  • Not holding a current Postdoctoral Fellowship that provides salary support at the time of EOI submission.
  • Confirmation from administering organisation of support for the application and guarantee the organisation will cover any funding gaps (e.g., corporate services charges, salary and leave payments).

See Guidelines for full details.

Selection criteria

  1. Significance and scientific quality -  The significance and potential impact of the project on the causes, prevention, detection, treatment or management of cancer, including quality of research design, methodology and rationale.
  2. Career development  -  The applicant’s achievements and contributions related to cancer research and the potential for the fellowship to contribute to the applicant’s career development.
  3. Milestones, deliverables and budget -  The appropriateness and clarity of the research milestones and deliverables (including how the research team supports milestone achievement); A detailed budget that aligns with the project plan. 
  4. Community engagement -  (a) Demonstrated involvement and specific contribution of community members in the design of the research project and (b) Describe a clear and meaningful plan to support ongoing involvement and contribution of community members throughout the project

Grant selection process

We consider eligible Postdoctoral Research fellowship applications through a  two-phase competitive process (Expression of Interest and Full Application). The grant Assessment Committee, comprising researchers and community members, will assess each application against the selection criteria. 

Important documents

By applying for this grant: 

  • you and your Administering Organisation acknowledge that you have readCancer Council Victoria’s standard funding agreement (which can be found below); and
  • you and your Administering Organisation agree to these terms for the purpose of applying for, and if successful receiving, your grant from Cancer Council Victoria.

Funding agreement

Applicant Guidelines

Further information

If you have any questions about this funding, please contact:   

Research Governance Unit

Frequently asked questions and answers

I’ve had a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from Cancer Council Victoria, am I eligible? 
Yes, previous Cancer Council Victoria Postdoctoral Research Fellows are able to apply. As this year’s round has seen some major changes the program is substantiality different to previous years. 

I’m looking to apply but have also applied for other funding, do I need to declare this?
Yes, an applicant is able to apply for/ have already applied for funding however, this must be declared.

I’m interested in researching mesothelioma but don’t have experience in this area, can I apply for a targeted grant?
Yes, researchers are encouraged to consider applying for cancer types they have not researched beforeHowever, it’s important that an applicant can showcase the significance of their project and exhibit the skills they currently withhold and how these will assist research in this area. 

I am currently work in a senior-level/ management position am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you are eligible to apply. You will need to ensure that  that 0.8-1.0 FTE needs to be dedicated to the proposed research. 

Can my proposed research focus on survivorship? 
Yes it may. We encourage applications from a wide variety of research areas.

I have applied to become a permanent resident of Australia, am I eligible to apply? 
Applicants must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia at the time of submitting the application and throughout the entire duration of the grant.
Successful applicants may be asked for proof of citizenship, residency status. 

I currently work in a contracted/ casual position. Am I eligible to apply for this year’s round?
The 0.8-1.0 FTE requirement relates to the Fellowship period and not a person’s current contract. If you would like to apply, you will need certification from the Administering Organisation (certifying they agree to cover any funding gaps such as salary, leave, corporate services) and head of department of where the research work would take place.
For the purpose of clarity, you will need support from the place where you would do the research if successful with the grant application.

Current recipients

Dr Shengbo Zhang  
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Engineering type 1 conventional dendritic cells using lipid nanoparticles to deliver mRNA that coding the novel chimeric antigen receptor to
initiate innate immune responses for tumour immunotherapy (Jan 2023 - Jan 2024)
A new approach to treat solid cancers

Mr. Peter Georgeson

University of Melbourne
Linking gut bacteria to the development of colorectal cancer using multi-omic profiling (Jan 2023 - Jan 2024)
Identifying individuals at risk of developing bacteria-associated bowel cancer with DNA analysis

Dr Sibel Saya 
University of Melbourne 
Multi-cancer genomic risk assessment to target screening in general practice (Apr 2022 - Jan 2024)
DNA testing to predict risk of cancer in general practice 

Past recipients

Dr Joanne Lundy  
Monash University 
The Endoscopic Ultrasound Molecular Evaluation of Pancreatic Cancer (EU-ME- PC) Study (Jul 2022 - Jun 2023) 
Validating endoscopic biopsies to guide better treatment selection in pancreatic cancer 

Dr Feng Yan
Monash University
Deciphering abnormal epigenetic characteristics in chemo-resistant stem cells using a transgenic mouse model of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Jul 2022 - Jun 2023) 
Examine chemo-resistant T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cells and understand how they escaped from chemotherapy 

Dr. Marc Rigau Cortal  
University of Melbourne 
Optimisation of the phosphoantigen-reactive gamma-delta T-cell receptor for use in adoptive T-cell therapy against the most common blood and solid tumours in the Australian population  (Jan 2022 - Dec 2022)
Empowering human immune cells against blood and solid cancers

Dr. Stefan Bjelosevic
University of Melbourne
Delineating mechanisms of metabolic regulation of epigenetic state in FMS-liketyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3)-driven acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) 
(Jul 2021 - Jun 2022)

Dr. Heidi Fettke
University of Melbourne 
Dissecting therapeutic vulnerabilities of advanced prostate cancer harbouringcompound androgen receptor alterations
(Jul 2021 - Jun 2022) 

Dr Edmond Kwan
Monash University 
Comprehensive circulating nucleic acid analysis to identify biomarkers for immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
(mCRPC)  (Jan 2021 - Dec 2021)

Dr Peter Savas
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Extending genomic profiling to understanding outcomes in clinical trials (Jan 2021 - Dec 2021)

Mr Charles Bell
The University of Melbourne
Identifying new drug targets to specifically reduce the activity of genes that are essential for cancer cells (Jul 2020-Jun 2021)

Dr Tanjina Kader
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Development of a new test after a mammogram to help doctors and patients decide whether they should operate or save their breasts (Jul 2020-Jun 2021).

Dr Margs Brennan
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Testing MCL - 1 inhibitor treatment in humanised MCL - 1pre-clinical mouse models of Philadelphia-like paediatric acute lymphoid leukaemia (Jul 2019-Dec 2020)

Dr Na Li
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Discovering new genetic causes of familial breast cancer (Jan 2020-Dec 2020)

Dr Mohamed Saad
Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Identification of ADAM17-driven Molecular Events in Lung Cancer (Jan 2020-Dec 2020)

Dr James Whittle
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Targeting cell survival pathways in breast cancer (Jan 2020-Dec 2020)

Dr Simon Preston
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Targeting caspase-8 in T-regulatory cells as cancer immunotherapy in Hepatocellular carcinoma (Jan 2020-Jun 2020)

Dr Lara Edbrooke
The University of Melbourne
Rehabilitation in inoperable lung cancer - a cost-effectiveness evaluation (Jan 2020-Jun 2020)

Dr Pasquale Fedele
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Targeting IRF4 in Multiple Myeloma (Jan 2019-Dec 2019)

Dr Mark Miles
La Trobe University
A healthy life after cancer: curing cancers without creating new ones

Dr Rebecca Delconte
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Increasing Natural Killer cell ability to detect and kill cancer cells (Jul 2018-Jun 2019)

Dr Shuai Li
The University of Melbourne
Understanding why and how environmental factors change breast cancer risk by studying genes (Jul 2018-Jun 2019)

Dr Hendrika Duivenvoorden
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science
Validating markers that predict early breast cancer invasion (Jan 2018 - Dec 2018)

Dr Simon Hogg
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre  
Developing drugs that promote the immune system to eliminate cancer  (Aug 2017-Jul 2018)  

Dr Tan Nguyen
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Can we inhibit RNA degradation to help treat cancer?  (Jan 2018 - Dec 2018)

Dr Tuong Linh Nguyen
The University of Melbourne
Predicting a woman’s future risk of breast cancer from her mammograms (Jan 2018 - Dec 2018)

Dr Ashleigh Poh
The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
Improving responsiveness to anti-cancer immunotherapy  (Jul 2017-Jun 2018) 

Dr Antonia Policheni
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
How does cell competition and cell death prevent childhood blood cancer? (Jan 2018 - Dec 2018)