Funding Outside the Box, Sydney Event Plus Livestream

When it comes to traditional government grants, we are sadly all too aware of the low success rates, especially for women and other under-represented groups. This means that many of us involved in research projects have had to look outside the box to completely, or partially, fund our work. Despite this, there have been few opportunities to learn about different funding avenues, let alone how to access them or make the most of them in our careers.

For this event, we’ll be highlighting 3 alternative funding opportunities for those in the health and medical research ecosystem: Community Groups, Philanthropic Grants, and Commercialisation Grants. We’re very excited to be joined not only by women from our sector who have successfully accessed these funding opportunities but also the funders themselves – so we’ll be hearing from both sides of the funding equation!

Our guest speakers will tell us about their research and funding arrangement, how they’ve adapted their approaches for different funding streams, and, importantly, share some practical tips to apply to our own careers. We’ll then hear from the broader panel as they discuss the value of alternative funding avenues, current challenges, emerging opportunities, and insights they have gained throughout their careers. 

As always, there will be plenty of opportunities to ask the panel your own questions as well as connect with our wonderful community of women working in diverse roles across the health and medical research ecosystem.

Event Information

Date & Time

Thursday 30 March 2023
5.30 – 8.30pm

*Livestream starts 6.15pm (AEDT)


Cicada Innovations
145/4 Cornwallis Street, Eveleigh NSW 2015

Or via Livestream

In Person

Members – $45
Non-members – $75
* Your ticket includes food and drinks!

In-person registrations close Sun 26 March 11:59PM


Live Stream

Members – $15
Non-members – $35

Livestream registrations close Thurs 30 March 5:00PM

Our Guest Speakers

Headshots for each of the speakers listed below
A/Prof Emma George - Director, Centre for Male Health

Emma George is the Director of the Centre for Male Health and an Associate Professor in Health and Physical Education at Western Sydney University. Emma’s research aims to promote lifelong physical activity, reduce chronic disease risk, and improve physical and mental health outcomes, with a particular focus on men’s health and wellbeing. She works closely with partners including the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network, Wests Tigers Football, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Rugby Australia, and the Cricket NSW Foundation, to co-design and evaluate impactful, evidence-based community health initiatives.

Connect on socials: Twitter and LinkedIn

Keehan Diamond - Community Manager, Wests Tigers

I have worked in the sports sector for close to a decade. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Western Sydney University. I began work at the NRL for 5 years, before leaving for France where I played rugby league for a season winning the French Rugby League Elite 1 title. I then returned to Australia and commenced work with Wests Tigers where I now Head the Community department.

Connect on socials: LinkedIn

A/Prof Meru Sheel - Global Health Researcher & Epidemiologist, University of Sydney

A/Prof Meru Sheel is a global health researcher and epidemiologist, and leads research on infectious diseases, immunisation and health emergencies. She holds a PhD in vaccinology and an MPhil in Applied Epidemiology. Meru has worked in the Asia-Pacific region for over 10 years including having responded to international emergencies in Fiji, Dominica, Rohingya Crisis in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Meru has been awarded ~AUD1.1million as a CI and is a co-investigator on grants worth AUD13.1million. Funders include Westpac Scholars Trust, the Asian Development Bank and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the WHO and the UNICEF.

In 2019, she was awarded a Westpac Research Fellowship (2019-2022) to conduct operational research in health emergencies in the context of infectious diseases and global health security. 

She is a founding steering committee member of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance and the WHO Roadmap for Public Health Workforce. In 2019, Meru was recognised as the Science and Medicine winner for 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians.  In 2020, she was awarded the ANU Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Impact and Engagement. Meru is a passionate science communicator & an advocate for gender and diversity in leadership roles.

Connect on socials: Twitter and LinkedIn

Amy Lyden - CEO, Westpac Foundation

Amy is CEO of Westpac Scholars Trust and Westpac Foundation. She has over 25 years’ experience across corporate, foundations, SME and not-for-profit sectors as a senior manager, founder and CEO in Australia and North America. She’s long been devoted to providing education and development opportunities to aspiring individuals with generosity of spirit, having previously held the positions of CEO as the Australian Scholarships Foundation and Chair on the Selection Committee for the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Connect on socials: LinkedIn

Prof Gemma Figtree AM - Cardiologist, University of Sydney and Royal North Shore Hospital

Gemma is a Professor in Medicine and Chair of the multi-disciplinary Cardiovascular Initiative at the University of Sydney and an Interventional Cardiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital. She has an international track record across a diverse range of fundamental, translational and implementation research areas, and is recognised for her strategic leadership.

Gemma is committed to preventing heart attacks through innovations to detect and treat silent coronary artery disease (CAD). She leads a diverse team unravelling key mechanisms underlying susceptibility and response to heart attack, with studies extending from the bench to large cohort studies and clinical trials. Discoveries in her Laboratory have been published in leading journals including the Lancet, Circulation, JACC and European Heart Journal, with > 220 publications. Gemma is a principal investigator on grants >$21 Mill. She has 1 awarded patent and 5 provisional patents and is the Chief Medical Officer for Prokardia. She is the lead investigator of CAD Frontiers, a NFP Venture that pulls together an international team of clinicians, researchers, healthcare, and industry leaders into an effective platform combining discovery science, clinical trials and commercial translation, with a vision of a world without heart attacks.

Gemma was awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Excellence Award for Top Ranked Practitioner Fellow (Australia- 2018), NSW Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence (2019) and awarded Member of the Order of Australia (2023). Gemma serves as a member of the Editorial Board of leading international journals including Circulation and Cardiovascular Research and an Associate Editor for Heart, Lung and Circulation.

Professor Figtree’s advocacy work and strategic leadership as President of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance helped secure Federal commitment to the $220 Million MRFF Mission for Cardiovascular Health, which she now Chairs. The Mission provides an historic opportunity for a broad range of Australian CV researchers to work closely with policy makers and health care practitioners to tackle major clinical hurdles with translational impact. She is intimately involved in guiding the introduction of diagnostic strategies and management algorithms into clinical practice through her role as Chair of the Heart Foundation Heart Health Committee, as well as via regular consultation to the NSW OHMR and NSW Health (e.g. on the Expert Advisory Group for Premature Cardiovascular Death). She is co-author on the recent Lancet Commission for Women and Cardiovascular Disease (with initial Lancet publication in April 2021). She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves as a non-executive Director on multiple community Boards.

Connect on socials: Twitter and LinkedIn

Dr Amanda Vrselja - Program Head, CUREator, Brandon Capital

Dr Amanda Vrselja is Program Head for CUREator, Australia’s national biotech incubator, and joined the program as a part of the founding team in 2021. Backed by Brandon BioCatalyst, CUREator is a $43m program funded by the MRFF and CSIRO to improve Australia’s research translation outcomes by supporting the next wave of Australian biotech start-ups. Prior to this, Amanda was a Clinical Scientist at QUE Oncology, a venture-backed clinical stage company developing treatments for women suffering from hot flashes associated with hormonal cancer therapy. Amanda has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Monash University.

Connect on socials: LinkedIn

Sign up to receive our newsletter and updates

Our monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date on the news from our sector, shares stories by women on their career journey, and provides updates on our events and initiatives. You will also find bits and pieces on our favourite things – good food, health and wellbeing, and maybe a few cute animals.

Thanks for subscribing to the Franklin Women Newsletter!

Sign up to receive our newsletter and updates

Our monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date on the news from our sector, shares stories by women on their career journey, and provides updates on our events and initiatives. You will also find bits and pieces on our favourite things – good food, health and wellbeing, and maybe a few cute animals.

Thanks for subscribing to the Franklin Women Newsletter