Advancing Spinal Cord Injury Research: Introducing the I. Peter Farrell SpinalCure Fellowship

Advancing Spinal Cord Injury Research: Introducing the I. Peter Farrell SpinalCure Fellowship

By Duncan Wallace, Exec Director SpinalCure

As someone who lives with a spinal cord injury (SCI), I know first-hand the impact it causes. Having an SCI casts a long shadow, devastating lives and leaving families grappling with profound emotional and financial burdens. In addition to this personal toll it costs the Australian economy a staggering $3.7bn a year. Yet, despite these consequences, SCI research remains severely underfunded, impeding progress towards finding a cure.

The I Peter Farrell SpinalCure FellowshipIn the realm of scientific inquiry, the journey from curiosity to discovery is often fraught with challenges, especially for early to mid-career researchers. Insufficient funding and a lack of job security stifle innovation, while the funding gap for indirect costs further impedes progress. With a significant portion of researchers employed on a contract basis, the environment hampers the translation and commercialisation of research findings, perpetuating a cycle of uncertainty.

Recognising these struggles, Caroline Farrell, spurred by her earlier experiences as a young researcher, worked with SpinalCure to establish the I. Peter Farrell SpinalCure Fellowship. This prestigious award, named in memory of her late husband Peter, a distinguished computer scientist who battled tetraplegia following a tragic car accident, aims to help to address the dire situation confronting SCI researchers.

By targeting outstanding early/mid-career researchers, the Fellowship bridges the gap in funding and offers much-needed stability, empowering researchers to take risks, innovate, and pursue breakthrough discoveries.

The Fellowship, offering AUD$1.5 million over five years, provides crucial support to an exceptional researcher. It targets research aimed at investigating novel ways to restore and/or protect communication between brain and body after a spinal cord injury, or to enhance our understanding of the spinal cord, thereby advancing the field of cure-related research. Basic science and pre-clinical projects are particularly encouraged, reflecting our commitment to fostering talent and novel thinking.

Eligible candidates, 3–10 years post-award of their PhD, will have the opportunity to work in Australia for the term of the Fellowship. Applications close on 31st July 2024, with the Fellowship term commencing in January 2025.

We encourage the scientific community to share this opportunity widely with your networks. Spread the word and help us in our quest to transform lives and unlock the potential for a cure.

We invite the global SCI research community to join us in encouraging brilliant young minds to choose a career in SCI research by offering more funding opportunities like this, that provide security and support, and incentivize innovation. Together, we can make a difference and propel SCI research towards the next big breakthrough.

For more information and to apply, please visit: