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Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships support early-career researchers who have not received significant funding to undertake research focused on discovering and improving prevention, detection, treatment, and care for people affected by cancer.
These fellowships provide greater career growth and certainty for individuals, as well as assist in building research capacity and continuity for Victorian institutions. 

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

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

2024 Key Dates 

Online information session: 1:00pm Wednesday 1 May (you can attend the webinar via clicking this link)
EOI close: 24 May
Full Applications open (via invitation only): 29 July 
Full Applications close: 23 August 
Outcomes advised: October/ November

Available funding

Up to two Fellowships are available with a maximum of $150,000 available per year, per Fellowship, for up to three years (maximum $450,000 per Fellowship). In addition to one (1) general Fellowship, there is one (1) targeted Fellowship available for research that supports the diagnosis and/or treatment of mesothelioma.


We invite applications from the full spectrum of Victorian cancer research activity, including psychosocial, palliative care, allied health, epidemiology, health economics, behavioural, and clinical research. Applications are encouraged from both clinical and laboratory-based early-career researchers.

To be eligible for this funding, the application must satisfy all the points below:

  • Awarded a PhD three or fewer years ago at the EOI close date. Evidence of award date (e.g., a certified, copy of notice of award) will be required at Stage 1 (Expression of Interest)
  • Has received less than $750,000 (AUD$) in total research grant funding as the Chief Investigator A or Principal investigator at the time of EOI closing 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). The 0.8-1.0 FTE commitment must be dedicated to the proposed research and applies across the Fellowship period. The application submission includes certification by 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 will take place
  • 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. The mentor(s) provides direct supervision and supports the Fellow’s career development
  • Confirmation from the 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)
  • Is an Australian citizen or graduate from overseas with permanent Australian resident status at the time of EOI closing date
  • Does not hold a Postdoctoral Fellowship that provides salary support at the time of EOI closure or at any time during the Fellowship if successful.

Grant selection process and criteria

All applications are assessed against the criteria described below. The selection criteria are consistent for all application stages. No weighting is applied at application Stage 1 (EOI). The weighting listed below apply at application Stage 2 (Full Application). Further information on the grant selection process can be found in the Guidelines

Criterion 1 Significance and scientific quality
The significance and potential impact of the project on discovering and improving prevention, detection, treatment and care for people affected by cancer, including quality of research design, methodology and rationale. [weighting 30%]

Criterion 2 Career development of the Early Career Researcher
The applicant’s achievements and contributions related to cancer research and the potential for the Fellowship to contribute to the applicant’s career development. [weighting 30%]

Criterion 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 (Stage 2 only) [weighting 15%]

Criterion 4 Involvement of people affected by cancer
This criterion has two parts:

(a)     Demonstrated active involvement of people affected by cancer in the design of the research [weighting 12.5%]

(b)     A plan to support ongoing active involvement of people affected by cancer throughout the conduct and dissemination of the research [weighting 12.5%].


Frequently asked questions and answers

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 before. However, 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.

Further information

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

Research Governance Unit


2024 Fellowship recipients

Dr Philip Arandjelovic
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Identifying the molecular and cellular mechanisms for the initiation of β-catenin mutated HCC (Jan 2024- Dec 2026)
Locating the cellular source of a major subset of liver cancer

Dr Yuchen Bai
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Promoting cell proliferation to block the invasion of head and neck cancer (Jan 2024- Dec 2026)
Promoting cell growth to prevent the spread of head and neck cancer

Dr Milad Ghomlaghi
Monash University
An Integrated Approach to Identify New Network Vulnerabilities for Mesothelioma (Jan 2024- Dec 2026)
Novel Combination Treatment Strategy to Fight Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Dr Laura Porter
Monash University
Unlocking the potential of CAR T cell therapy for prostate cancer treatment (Jan 2024- Dec 2026)
Manipulating the immune system for the treatment of prostate cancer

Previous Fellowship recipients 

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 

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

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)