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Kidney Health Australia Research

Established in 1968 as the Australian Kidney Foundation, Kidney Health Australia has a long tradition of supporting kidney research in Australia.  In fact, since 1968 Kidney Health Australia has raised funds and distributed more than $30 million towards kidney research in Australia.

In 2016-2017 Kidney Health Australia conducted a review of our research grant system, during which we consulted widely with people affected by kidney disease, major kidney research groups, and others interested in kidney-related medical and scientific research.

The previous process of funding, which invited applications for project grants and scholarships to commence the following year, was suspended in 2015 at the beginning of this review process. 

As a result of our review, Kidney Health Australia Research has undergone a transformation with a focus on community participation, a research agenda endorsed by our community, and organisational collaboration. Our long-standing commitment to research funding continues unchanged.

In line with Kidney Health Australia’s focus on its community we have been looking to our community to tell us what they think are the important research topics we should be supporting. Therefore, rather than support a number of different research topics, in the future we are going to support a specific research agenda as prioritised by the Australian kidney community.

We are also using our strong community base to build a network of consumers that want to be involved in all aspects of research from conception to involvement in clinical trials.

In line with Kidney Health Australia’s focus on collaboration we have been working closely with other Australasian research organisations, including the Research Advisory Committee of ANZSN, BEAT CKD and AKTN to name but a few, with the aim of forming a unified Australasian research voice.

Kidney Health Australia Research has a number of different research streams including the Priscilla-Kincaid-Smith Kidney Research Foundation and the Beccky John’s Discovery Fund supporting specific areas of research.

KHA will start to support kidney research in the last quarter of 2017 in the form of a pilot to ensure the robustness of our new structure. Expressions of Interest for program funding that is aligned with our research agenda will be available towards the end of 2017.

Moving forward we will then be in the position to seek more substantial funding for the program and so support further research from 2018 and beyond.

If you are a researcher and would like to register to receive updates about Kidney Health Australia Research, please email research@kidney.org.au.

If you are a person affected by kidney disease and would like to help shape the future of kidney research by getting involved in any aspect research (including development of research, member of consumer councils, participation in clinical trials), please email research@kidney.org.au.

If you would like to discuss how you can support Kidney Health Australia Research, please contact fundraising@kidney.org.au.



Funding Research Initiatives for Better Kidney Health Tomorrow

The Funding Research Initiatives for Better Kidney Health Tomorrow report showcases the cutting-edge research we have funded since our organisation was first registered in 1968.

Download it here.

As a major funder of kidney research outside the National Health and Medical Research Council, we have underpinned the evidence base that drives strategy and policy development for the advancement of public health, with specific regard to kidney health.

Support of kidney research is crucial for:

  • the long-term improvement of health outcomes for those with, or at risk of, kidney disease
  • the development of state and federal government kidney-related health policy
  • building Australia’s evidence base to drive and underpin an accessible and equitable healthcare service.

In funding our research program, we receive support from institutions, organisations and, importantly, individual benefactors.

A notable example is the bequest that enabled the establishment of the Bootle Award Medical Research Grant.

Bootle Award research

The Bootle Award Medical Research Grant, dedicated to research in nephrology, was established in 2003 with a $1 million dollar bequest from the estate of Miss Elizabeth Bootle.

Our Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee recommended the Bootle bequest be used for developing and securing the academic careers of Australian scientists or medical graduates in nephrology.

The bequest enabled the awarding of four grants, the last in 2006 to fund a five-year research project

For each grant, participating institutions matched the funds awarded, effectively doubling the funds. Through wise management, this generous bequest injected more than $5 million into kidney research.

Read about the research funded by the Bootle Awards here.

The AusDiab Study

AusDiab is the largest Australian longitudinal population-based study examining the natural history of diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease. The study, which is run by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, was awarded the 2006 Victorian Department of Human Services Public Health Research Award for Excellence. KHA considered this work to be of enormous importance to Australian’s affected by kidney disease and as such provided significant seed funding to enable the inclusion of a ‘kidney component’ in the AusDiab study.

The baseline study conducted in 1999–2000 provided benchmark national data on the prevalence (or number of people) with diabetes, obesity, hypertension and kidney disease in Australia. The second phase of AusDiab, completed in December 2005, was a five year follow-up of the people who participated in the baseline survey. A twelve year follow-up was completed in 2012, with the results released in August 2013.

The results of these studies provide a unique picture of the incidence (or number of new cases) of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease over 12 years, and allows us to improve our understanding of the factors that increase the risk of these conditions. The results have been presented at key National and International meetings, and have been used by health services and Governments in planning provision of health services, providing Consensus Statements and in considering screening for CKD.

KHA provided seed funding of $20,000 to enable the inclusion of a “kidney component” in the AusDiab study, comprising the addition of urine testing (ACR, PCR and dipstick analysis) to the planned measurements of biochemical status (which included serum creatinine and diabetic status) plus measurement of blood pressure, behaviours relevant to health and an assessment of quality of life using the SF-36 instrument. A second round of strategic funding from KHA of $300,000 over 2003-5, matched by funds provided by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, enabled the ongoing AusDiab Kidney study which continues to this day.

The following is selected publications resulting from the AusDiab Kidney Study. The research was primarily designed and supervised by Professor Steve Chadban, A/Professor Kevan Polkinghorn and Professor Bob Atkins, however the work has been performed by many talented researchers.

In addition to key AusDiab-Kidney papers, this list includes papers which arose through collaborative efforts whereby AusDiab contributed to pooled data, most importantly and strategically through the CKD-Prognosis Consortium, or served to provide an Australian adult control population for comparative studies with indigenous Australians and with kidney transplant recipients as examples. Both avenues will continue to provide important papers, with ongoing collaborative work in train through the CKD-Prognosis Consortium and with ANZDATA. The list below does not include several manuscripts in preparation, which currently include important papers on changes in Quality of Life over time in CKD and another on progression of CKD in a community cohort.

Open publications here.

The value of bequests

As the Bootle Awards show, a bequest is a simple yet significant way to support the early detection, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. To provide a bequest in your will is to provide a gift for the future. You can read more here.

If you wish to discuss making a bequest to support our research program, please contact:

By email to: bequests@kidney.org.au

By post to: GPO Box 9993, Melbourne VIC 3001

Phone  1800 454 363

ResearchThe Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Kidney Research Foundation
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