Pilot Grant Program - Application Closed

Applications opened on: Jul 6, 2021 9:00am AEST

Ended on: Aug 30, 2021 5:00pm AEST

Announcement Info: December 2021. Funding commences January to March 2022, or by arrangement

Late application not accepted.

The information in this booklet is designed to help those intending to apply for funding through the Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Dementia Grants Program. Applicants should read this document thoroughly to understand the grant conditions and application procedure. In most cases the answers to the ‘frequently asked questions’ are covered in this document.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation

The Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF) is the research arm of Dementia Australia. The Foundation provides funding to support new and emerging dementia researchers, works with people living with dementia and carers to ensure that research reflects their concerns and promotes understanding and awareness of dementia research among the general community. The Foundation is entirely funded by donations and support from members of the public and Australian businesses and is managed by Dementia
Australia. Further information about the Foundation including previous grant rounds and outcomes can be found here.

Race Against Dementia

Founded by Formula 1 racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart, RAD raises and allocates funds to support international research into the prevention or treatment for dementia. To do this, RAD:

  • Identifies and financially backs the most talented early-career researchers.
  • Provides catalyst funding, enabling researchers to pursue innovative ideas at the highest level that might not get funded by the mainstream.
  • Aims to instil a ‘Formula 1 attitude’ in attention to detail and urgency, to accelerate the pace of solutions development.
  • Forms strong alliances with research centres of excellence on a global basis.

Further information including previous fellowship recipients is available on their website here.

Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration

Funded by the Australian Government, the DCRC operates under the governance of the NHMRC to advance the Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation. The DCRC’s primary research foci within the broader topic of dementia research are prevention, assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment, care and living with dementia. The DCRC’s primary goals are to increase knowledge and implementation of research findings in these areas and to address the priority research areas as shown here.

The DCRC is funded to support world class research by way of pilot grants, large grants, production of guidelines, scholarships and capacity building. The Post-doctoral and MidCareer Fellowships and Pilot Grants advertised here are part of this program. The DARF Scientific Panel is reviewing all applications on behalf of the DCRC, acting as third-party adjudicators for transparency and reducing the likelihood of any conflict of interest.

Download Information for Applicants (PDF)

This document contains important information for applicants regarding the process of applying for, and the eligibility conditions of, the 2021 Dementia Australia Research Foundation Project Grant, Post-doctoral Fellowship and Mid-Career Research Fellowship schemes. The awards include a Race Against Dementia (RAD) Post-doctoral Fellowship as well as Post-doctoral and Mid-Career Research Fellowships and Pilot Grants funded by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC). Innovation Grants will also be advertised this year; further details will be provided on the Dementia Australia Research Foundation website.

Applicants should read all the information included in this document and liaise with their host institution’s research office before contacting the Foundation with any queries regarding the application process or eligibility conditions.

• Applications Open: Tuesday 6 July 2021 (9.00 am AEST)
• Applications Close: Monday 30 August 2021 (5.00 pm AEST)


• Successful Applicants Notified: December 2021
• Funding Commences: January to March 2022, or by arrangement

The total value of the 2021 Dementia Grants Program is almost $5 million and includes:

  • Project Grants
  • Post-doctoral Fellowships
  • Mid-Career Fellowships
  • Innovation Grants (details will be provided here).An overview of these awards is presented in the documentation linked below (Table 1).
Download Information for Applicants (PDF)



Grant Type Number Available (up to) Funding Total Amount Details
Project Grants
1.   Dementia Australia Research Foundation


7 $75,000 $525,000 New, early and mid- career researchers in any area of dementia research
2.   Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Victoria 1 $75,000 $75,000 New, early and mid-career researchers in clinical or psychosocial areas of dementia research
3.   Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration -Dementia Australia Research Foundation 5 $75,000 $375,000 New, early and mid- career researchers in clinical or psychosocial areas of dementia research
4.   Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care 1 $75,000 $75,000 New, early and mid- career researchers in dementia care

Overheads (e.g. an infrastructure levy) are not covered by the Project/Pilot Grant. The Dementia Australia Research Foundation meets the requirements to be considered Category 1 – Australian Competitive Grant Income and as such, infrastructure costs should be covered by the Commonwealth Government’s Research Block Grants scheme.







Research needs bright and talented scientists to focus on the growing challenge dementia poses to current and future generations of Australians. The purpose of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Project Grant scheme is to build capacity in the field of dementia research by supporting new, early and mid-career researchers. The Project Grants are intended to help new investigators establish their careers as independent dementia researchers by supporting small, time-limited research projects, or pilot projects.


Project Grants can be used to fund stand-alone research projects or projects that are attached to larger research programs. In such cases, there must be clear demarcation between the activities and the outcomes of the funded project and those of the larger project. The funds may also be used to support pilot projects. If an application is made for pilot study funding, then this should be clearly stated and explained in the application.


Please note that the Dementia Australia Research Foundation will not consider projects that significantly overlap with existing in-house projects of Dementia Australia, or projects that do not align with the mission of Dementia Australia.


Examples of the types of research projects funded in the past can be found on the Foundation’s website: https://www.dementia.org.au/research/our-researchers.



Topic and Scope


Dementia Australia Research Foundation Project Grants


The Dementia Australia Research Foundation Project Grants are open to Australian-based dementia researchers undertaking projects across all forms of dementia and in any topic area; biomedical (lab-based), clinical, psychosocial, or knowledge translation research projects will be considered. Topics may include, but are not limited to:


  • Gaining a better understanding of the causes of dementia.
  • Developing strategies to reduce dementia risk and slow the progression of the disease.
  • Providing accurate and timely diagnoses.
  • Improving treatment and care options for people living with dementia.
  • Increasing the awareness and understanding of rights, needs and experiences of people with dementia, their carers and families.
  • Finding a cure for dementia.


Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Victoria Project Grants


Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Victoria Project Grants are open to Australian-based dementia researchers, but priority will be given to projects based in Victoria, or with potential benefits especially relevant to Victorians living with dementia, their carers and families.


Dementia Australia Research Foundation – Victoria Project Grant will be awarded in clinical or psychosocial research areas only. Lab-based biological and/or non-clinical research, including animal studies, will not be considered. Priority will be given to funding research that is likely to directly benefit people with dementia, their carers and families, especially, but not exclusively, in the six priority areas listed below:


  • The less common forms of dementia, i.e. non-Alzheimer’s dementias including frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Applications for projects addressing the unmet needs of people living with these conditions, their carers and families are invited.


  • Assistive technologies that can help improve the quality of life of people with dementia, their carers and families i.e. research about what is needed and what works to inform future service provision planning.


  • Supporting carers and familiese. research that addresses how carers and families can be better supported, including those living in rural and remote areas, or how carers and families can better support the person with dementia, will receive priority for funding.


  • Timely detection and management of medical comorbidities in hospitals and residential aged caree. research addressing models of care describing what hospitals need to do to provide optimal care for people with dementia.


  • Translational research e. moving evidence into practice.


  • Care systems and resourcing in residential caree. research into clinical care practices, pain management, workforce skills and training, specific care systems.





Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Pilot Grants


The DCRC will offer five Pilot Grants with supplementary funding provided by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation. These Grants will be awarded only in clinical or psychosocial research, population health, epidemiology and policy areas, that align with the NNIDR research priorities (these can be found at https://www.nnidr.gov.au/about-institute/strategic-roadmap). These Pilot projects must also have a clear path to translation into practice and the research proposal must include “next steps” and/or plans for leverage. Pure Knowledge Translation projects will also be considered. Lab-based biological and/or non-clinical research, including animal studies, will not be considered.


The Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care


One Project Grant has been made available through funding from the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer’s Research and Care Fund. The Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care is awarded for research aimed at improving the quality of dementia care across Australia and the services that people living with dementia and their carers receive. Further information about the history and aims of the Fund can be found at https://www.dementia.org.au/research/hazel-hawke-alzheimers-research-and-care-fund.


Project Team


The individuals applying for funds must have the research credentials and appropriate strength in proposal and team. We encourage applications from multi-disciplinary teams including scientists, biotechnology, health professionals and public health researchers. It is highly recommended that people living with dementia, their carers and families are involved throughout the project.


Award Funding


Each Project Grant is worth $75,000 and may be used over 1 to 2 years.


To be eligible for a Project/Pilot Grant:


  1. At the time of acceptance and for the duration of a grant, the Applicant (Chief Investigator (CI)) must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, a permanent resident of Australia, or have an appropriate work visa in place at the time of acceptance and for the duration of the project. All applicants must provide evidence to their host institution to support this criterion. Host institutions are responsible for certifying and ensuring that these requirements are met. The Dementia Australia Research Foundation may request further information in relation to these requirements, including evidence of residency and/or citizenship.


  1. The CI must hold a PhD or equivalent (DPhil or M.D. by research), or have submitted a PhD thesis for examination prior to the proposed commencement date of the project.


  1. The CI must hold an academic position at or below Level C seniority (i.e., below the level of Associate Professor or equivalent if not employed within the university system).


  1. The research must be conducted in Australia and address the topic and scope of the funding round.


  1. The research must be approved by an authorised ethics committee, if applicable. It should be noted that grant payments may be withheld until ethics approval has been obtained.


Further, the CI must demonstrate that:


  1. People with dementia, their carers and families and the wider public (if appropriate) have been or are involved throughout the project (beyond their role as participants). This may be achieved in any number of ways:


  1. Consultation about the research proposal – to ensure that it addresses an identified area of priority.


  1. Inclusion as joint grant holders or co-applicants on your research proposal.


  1. Membership of a Steering Committee or Advisory Group or as a ‘research buddy’ for the researcher.


  1. Provide comment on and develop patient information leaflets or other research materials.


  1. Involvement in the dissemination of research outcomes and the development of plain language project summaries.


Further information on involving members of the public in research is available here.


  1. Appropriate language and terminology is used throughout the application. For example, many people with dementia prefer not to be referred to directly or indirectly as a ‘dementia sufferer’. A guide to dementia-friendly language is available at https://www.dementia.org.au/resources/dementia-language-guidelines.


Eligibility for multiple awards


Applicants are welcome to submit more than one Project Grant application for the same or different type of award. However, successful applicants can only be awarded one grant from any given Dementia Grants Program Round.

Eligibility of previous Dementia Australia Research Foundation award recipients


Previous recipients can apply to the Dementia Grants Program, as long as they meet all relevant eligibility criteria.


Resubmission of previous applications


Applicants are welcome to resubmit previously unsuccessful applications, which will be assessed on their merits alongside all other applications. It should be noted, however, that the Dementia Grants Program is becoming increasingly competitive, and applications who have been unsuccessful in previous years are very unlikely to progress to the final stages of assessment in subsequent years, unless substantial improvements have been made with respect to the assessment criteria.


Notification of additional funding


Applicants must notify the Dementia Australia Research Foundation if they receive funding from another source for a project that is the subject of a grant application to the Foundation.


Acknowledgement of support


Successful applicants must acknowledge the support of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation and the DCRC (for Pilot Grants) and its funding partners in all publications, presentations, summary findings and media announcements relating to the research. Grantees must also provide progress reports on the research and be prepared to assist the Dementia Australia Research Foundation or the DCRC, if required, by speaking at functions, attending specified conferences, hosting laboratory visits, or being featured in media articles/releases.

Online application form


Applications must be submitted online via an application portal available through the Dementia Australia Research Foundation website (https://www.dementia.org.au/research/grants). The portal will close at the advertised closing date, after which applicants will not be able to upload or modify any part of their application.


To start an application, applicants will click on the link that corresponds to the award that they are applying for (i.e. Project Grant). Please note that you will be asked to create an account prior to completing the online application form. Log-in details will be sent to the email address you provide.


To ensure that all relevant information is entered, each page of the application form needs to be completed in full before moving onto the next. A template may be downloaded from the website at https://www.dementia.org.au/research/grants/information-for-applicants to work on the application offline and to view each section of the application form.


If applicants experience technical errors when uploading an application, they can contact foundation@dementia.org.au.


Late applications, and applications sent by mail or email will not be accepted.


The online application form includes a number of required fields, such as:


  • Details of each investigator on the research team (up to 4 investigators are permitted on the application form)
  • Contact details of the host institution
  • Project title
  • Abstract (200 word limit)
  • How research findings will be translated into practice (250 word limit)
  • Lay project summary (200 word limit)
  • Implications of the research (250 word limit)
  • How people living with dementia, their carers, families and/or the wider public will be involved in the research (250 word limit)


When planning research involving people with dementia, applicants should make sure that they are familiar with the principles of and requirements for getting informed consent from people who may lack cognitive and/or legal capacity to provide written informed consent themselves.


If the application proposes to involve Dementia Australia staff or our dementia advocates in the project, this must be discussed with the Foundation prior to submitting the application.


Supporting documents and required attachments


As well as completing the online application form, applicants must provide the following supporting documents (in PDF format) on the application portal. Applications that do not include the required documentation will be considered ineligible and may not be assessed. Please note that attachments cannot not be amended or added to the application after the application closing date.


  1. Evidence of Australian or New Zealand citizenship, permanent residency or appropriate work visa (required for CI)

Provide a scanned copy of a birth certificate, passport, visa documentation or official documentation from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to your host institution (your institution may have this information on file). If applicable, an appropriate work visa must be in place at the time of acceptance and for the duration of the project. Statutory Declarations, Medicare cards, Australian driver’s licences or other documents will not be accepted as proof of permanent residency or citizenship.



  1. Qualifications (official record of PhD or equivalent higher degree, required for CI)

A scanned copy of an academic transcript or degree showing PhD or equivalent higher degree. Applicants who are currently completing a doctorate degree at the time of application must provide proof of submission to the Foundation as soon as this becomes available. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that confirmation of thesis approval is provided before funding can commence.


  1. Academic CV (maximum 10 pages, required for CI)

Include publications, grants (funding body, amount and investigator status), awards, conference presentations and service to the academic community.


  1. Research Proposal

The Research Proposal should not exceed 5 pages (not including references), with a minimum font size of 11 and standard margins. Any additional pages, or any explanatory appendices, will not be assessed. The research proposal should include details on each of the following sections:


  1. Aims: List specific aims and potential significance of the project. Clearly state the research question and hypothesis to be tested, as well as the rationale and objectives of the project.
  2. Background: Summarise previous work in this field which provides the basis for the proposed research project.
  3. Research Methodology: Include a clear description of methods and design, including the following, if applicable: participant recruitment strategy; participant inclusion/exclusion criteria; study design; intervention or manipulation; outcome measures; statistical analysis plan and rationale; safety and risk considerations; drug regimens; and special equipment or measures.
  4. Budget and timeline: Provide a high-level budget and project timeline, noting the amount of funding available from The Foundation and timeframe (i.e. over 1 to 2 years). Identify any other confirmed funding for the project. Funds can only be applied to costs that are directly related to achieving the objectives and outcomes of the project, including reimbursements to people with dementia, their carers and families and/or the wider public for reasonable costs associated with their involvement in the project (e.g. their time, travel costs, phone calls). The Dementia Australia Research Foundation meets the requirements to be considered Category 1 – Australian Competitive Grant Income; university infrastructure costs or levies do not need to be included in the budget.
  5. Key references: Please include a list of up to 20 key references cited in the proposal.


  1. Ethics Approval (if available)

Evidence of approval of the proposed project by an authorised Human Research Ethics Committee, if available. If not available at time of application, funding agreements (for successful applicants) will be conditional upon ethics approval.




  1. Endorsement Form(s) signed by:
  • Each investigator named in the application, confirming their contribution to the project as described in the application.
  • The Head of Administering Institution (or nominee) in which the research will take place.


An endorsement form template is available at: https://www.dementia.org.au/research/grants/information-for-applicants.

The assessment process for all grant types involves the following stages:


1.    Eligibility check


Foundation staff will check all applications after the application closing date to ensure compliance with eligibility criteria and conditions of award. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all eligibility criteria and conditions of the award prior to submitting an application. The Dementia Australia Research Foundation reserves the right to rule out of contention any application that does not include proof of eligibility without further assessment. Please note that applicants must inform the Dementia Australia Research Foundation if their eligibility against the stated criteria changes in any way during the assessment process. Funding will not commence until all relevant requirements, including eligibility, have been met.


2.    Initial Screening of applications


Members of the Scientific Panel will screen all eligible applications to identify those which are highly unlikely to receive an award due to weakness in one or more of the assessment criteria, or due to feasibility or other issues. Applications that are ranked in the bottom half of applications for a particular award by at least two members of the Scientific Panel are removed from the application process.


3.    External review (if required)


Applications will be assessed by the Scientific Panel; expert external reviewers may be approached for selected comment and/or rating against the assessment criteria if required. Applicants are invited to nominate external reviewers if desired on the application form, but the decision on external reviewers is made by the Scientific Panel.


4.    Final review and ranking by members of the Scientific Panel


Members of the Scientific Panel, including dementia advocates, will consider and rank all remaining applications for each category of award after reviewing the feedback from external reviewers.


Awards are allocated to applicants in order of ranking within each category and according to their eligibility for particular awards. Consideration is also made to supporting approximately equal numbers of applicants in biomedical and psychosocial research fields, except for joint DCRC-DARF Pilot projects, where applications are of comparable quality. Applicants whose projects are considered fundable but are not allocated one of the available awards are placed on a reserve list and may be offered an award in the event that an applicant with a higher-ranked project turns down the award.


The final decision on awards is made by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation Board on the basis of recommendations made by the Scientific Panel. DCRC Pilot Grants will require final approval from the DCRC executive.


Please be advised that all decisions are final, and there is no mechanism for appeal.


Notification of successful and unsuccessful applicants


Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by email by December 2019; unsuccessful applicants may be notified earlier in the year, depending on the stage of assessment at which the decision is made. To facilitate notification, applicants must ensure that their contact details are filled in correctly on the application form.


Announcement of awards


An official announcement of the 2019 award winners will be made on the Dementia Australia Research Foundation website by January 2020. This announcement will detail each successful applicant’s name, type of award, project title and institution. Award winners will be expected to assist the Foundation, if required, by being featured in media articles/releases and public announcements related to an award from the Foundation.


Feedback to unsuccessful applicants


Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with individual feedback upon request.


Feedback is provided for the purpose of helping unsuccessful applicants improve the quality of subsequent applications to the Dementia Australia Research Foundation or other funding bodies. No correspondence regarding the accuracy or merits of feedback will be entered into.

The following assessment criteria will be used for rating Project/Pilot Grant applications:


  1. Scientific Merit and Quality (50% weight)


The significance and value of the proposed research is considered, along with the clarity of the research aim/s, hypotheses or research objectives, and the suitability of the research methodology and research plan in achieving the research aim/s. The general scientific relevance should be evident in the project proposal, and the research methodology should be sound and clearly presented. Projects must also be feasible and realistic within the available timeframe and budget.


In reviewing DCRC-DARF Pilot projects, 10% of this weighting will go to assessing the potential for Knowledge Translation (KT) of project outcomes in the future and KT must be specifically addressed in the proposal.


  1. Track record of the research team (30% weight)


This criterion considers whether the research team’s previous research experience demonstrates that they are capable of successfully undertaking the proposed research and disseminating the outcomes. Track record of the CI (research training, publications, awards and other relevant experience) will be assessed relative to opportunity.


  1. Innovation and Originality (20% weight)


This criterion considers the novelty and originality of the proposed project and the extent to which it has the capacity, if successful, to introduce innovative and new research directions in the field of dementia research, with benefit to people with dementia, their carers and families and the wider public.

Further Information:

For any enquiries please email: foundation@dementia.org.au.