Grant applications


Applications for grants to be awarded in 2019 open on 1 April 2019 and will close on 30 April 2019. 


Application guidelines

The AOA Research Foundation Fund performs an important role in providing support for short-term studies (in general up to two years) and initiating long-term studies carried out by AOA members. The fund is also an important backup source of funding for established orthopaedic research groups who receive their major financial support from other funding organisations. The Fund does not provide long-term support for projects or 'top-up' funding for ongoing studies.

Research proposals must be a clearly identifiable segment of work, even though it may be part of a much broader-based research initiative. All grant applications will be treated confidentially and will only be viewed by approved assessors and the AOA Research Foundation Board. 

Early Researcher Grants

The Early Researcher Grant has been introduced to encourage younger surgeons to engage in orthopaedic research activities.

The grant will be restricted to Associates (registrars) or Fellows who have been awarded FRACS no more than three years prior.

These grants are intended to be ‘seed’ funding and will be restricted to up to $10,000 per grant (excluding GST). It is recommended that individuals who are eligible for an Early Researcher Grant seek an experienced research mentor to assist them with their application. A list of potential mentors can be found via the AOA Research Networking Map.

Scope of research

Research projects may cover a broad range of clinical and laboratory investigations only if relevant to the field of orthopaedics.

Special consideration will be given to applications that propose to open up new areas of research as well as to projects that cover areas that would not be expected to attract funds from other funding organisations. For the purpose of encouraging clinical research (defined below), this will be considered separately for funding from laboratory research. Clinical research may be funded over two years on application to the AOA Research Foundation Board.

Clinical research

Clinical research is a study in human volunteers to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications, biologics, diagnostics or medical devices by monitoring their effects on large groups of people.

Volunteers are recruited and written informed consent to take part in the study is obtained. Subjects are generally divided into two or more groups, including a control group that does not receive the experimental treatment, receives a placebo (inactive substance) instead, or receives a tried-and-true therapy/diagnostic for comparison purposes.

There are different kinds of clinical trials, with some examples listed below:

  • prevention options
  • new treatments or new ways to use existing treatments
  • new screening and diagnostic techniques
  • options for improving the quality of life for people who have serious medical conditions.

Clinical trials are conducted according to a plan called a protocol. The protocol describes what types of patients may enter the study, schedules of tests and procedures, drugs, dosages, and length of study, as well as the outcomes that will be measured. Each person participating in the study must agree to the rules set out by the protocol.


Targeted research

The Research Foundation has two methods of overseeing sponsored research:

  • A request for independent research in a particular field can be tendered and supervised by the AOA Research Foundation, or
  • A sponsor of requested research may nominate a researcher but the supervision and auditing of the research is overseen by the AOA Research Foundation.

The latter method attracts an administrative cost of 10 per cent of the research grant, up to a maximum of $1000.

This initiative on the part of the Foundation removes any potential for conflict of interest with a known company supporting known research by known researchers.  

All research funds will be allocated by the Research Foundation Scientific Committee, with awards being based purely upon scientific merit.

The program will allow a significant enhancement of the current symbiotic relationship.


Eligibility

The chief investigator must be an AOA Affiliate, Associate or Fellow. In addition, one of the principal investigators must be an AOA Affiliate, Associate or Fellow.

The first principal investigator will be deemed to be the Research Project Coordinator (RPC), who is responsible for communication between the AOA Research Foundation and the research institution, and the direction of the research. The RPC is responsible for the timely submission of the application, and the annual audit forms and financial statements to the AOA Research Foundation. The RPC is responsible for the subsequent presentation of the results of the research at the AOA Annual Scientific Meeting within three years of receiving the grant.

Grant applications are open to investigators at academic/university settings and others in the public and private sectors.

All applications will be judged on a competitive basis, without regard to the academic rank or title of the investigator. The researchers involved in patient care must be certified to practise their profession at their institution and must obtain institutional ethical approval.

New Investigators

New Investigators will not be disadvantaged under this system, particularly as it relates to track records. New Investigators will receive a score for track record, assessed as an average score from the top current successful experienced investigators. New Investigators will need to supply a curriculum vitae with their application and to not have been principal investigators previously. This is intended to encourage our new and younger colleagues to apply for AOA Research Foundation grants.

Use of Research Foundation funds

In general, funds can be allocated for:

  • a part-time salary of a research assistant but not for salaried employees of research institutions, and
  • consumable items and inexpensive items of equipment.

Expensive pieces of equipment (greater than $5000) cannot be funded unless it is shown they will be used by an orthopaedic research group over a long period. At least two quotes for the purchase of such items must accompany the grant application.

Funds are not available for:

  • full-time secretarial assistance
  • personal computers
  • items considered standard equipment for any research institution
  • travel expenses.
In addition, an applicant may not apply for, use or accept Foundation funds for a research project or part of a project already supported by the Foundation or supported by funds from another public or private source. Accordingly, full disclosure of all available and pending funds for research support must be made in the grant application. If funds from other sources become available to the applicant during the review or tenure of a Foundation research grant, the RPC must inform the Foundation in writing. The award will terminate and the unexpended balance will be returned to the AOA Research Foundation.

Support from other sources

An applicant may not apply for, use or accept Foundation funds for a research project or part of a project already supported by the Foundation or supported by funds from another public or private source. Accordingly, full disclosure of all available and pending funds for research support must be made in the grant application. If funds from other sources become available to the applicant during the review or tenure of a Foundation research grant, the RPC must inform the Foundation in writing. The award will terminate and the unexpended balance will be returned to the AOA Research Fund.
 

Human and/or animal subjects/tissues

When human subjects or tissues are to be used in a research project, it is the responsibility of the grant recipient and their institution to ensure that the institution has a complete copy of the research protocol approved by the institution's human subject review board, a copy of that board's current approval notice, and a copy of the patient informed consent form(s). If awarded a grant, these documents must be submitted before funding can begin.

The AOA Research Foundation observes the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)'s Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. Applicants for grants must accept and abide by the NHMRC animal experiment guidelines. All applications must be accompanied by an institutional ethics committee report whenever studies are to be carried out using humans or animals. If awarded a grant, this report must be submitted before funding can begin. Institutional ethics committees must be constituted according to the guidelines of the NHMRC. Applications should also be signed by the head of the department and of the institution.

All entities that receive funding from the AOA Research Foundation must adhere to the following principles:

  • animals shall be used in biomedical research only when no other means of obtaining scientifically sound, valid and useful results are available
  • the minimum number of appropriate animals required to obtain and validate results shall be used
  • the acquisition, care and use of animals must be in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations
  • Certification must be received from research facilities prior to being approved for a research grant that the facility, its researchers and employees adhere to the guidelines of the NHMRC
  • in cases requiring the death of an animal, only the most appropriate and humane form of euthanasia shall be used consistent with the purpose of the research.