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Foundation hero


The Bupa Health Foundation is one of the leading charitable foundations dedicated to health in Australia.

We are committed to improving the health of the Australian community and ensuring the sustainability of affordable healthcare.

Our vision is to have enduring strategic partnerships with the research community, particularly those associated with universities to help improve the health of the Australian community and ensure the sustainability of affordable healthcare.

Over the past decade we have invested close to $30million in projects that aim to improve health outcomes for the Australian community.

Through our collaborative partnerships, we play a leading role in nurturing new ideas and approaches that can improve the health. Our work is directed towards encouraging innovations and pioneering efforts through:

  • Partnerships that help translate evidence into action
  • Educating and empowering the community in their own health
  • Supporting new and enhanced service delivery
  • Investing in health programs that impact on policy and practice

To further our commitment to improving health, we foster a collaborative approach to our partnerships. Through active engagement with our partners and by sharing the incredible resources of Bupa, we help translate ideas into reality.

We are proud to have invested in over 110 partnerships across the country and remain committed to contributing to a strong economy by helping promote and ensure better health for all Australians. Our latest highlights report, Towards sustainable healthcare (PDF 33.2Mb) showcases a range of initiatives that are doing just that.


Foundation management
  • Annette Schmiede, Executive Leader
  • Alana Fisher, Operations Manager
  • Dr Melina Georgousakis, Research & Policy Manager
  • Donna Peek, Assistant to Executive Leader
Foundation Steering Committee
  • Dr Paul Bates, Chief Medical Officer, Bupa ANZ (Chair)
  • Adam Longshaw, Director, Health & Benefits Management, Bupa Australia
  • Jane Power, Chief Marketing and Customer Officer, Bupa ANZ
  • James Howe, Head of Media and Corporate Communications, Bupa ANZ
  • Richard Bowden, CEO, Bupa ANZ
Foundation Board
  • The Honourable Nicola Roxon (Chairman)
  • Mr Richard Bowden
  • Ms Jane Harvey
  • Mr John Lorimer
  • Mr Trevor Matthews
  • Mr Bryan Mogridge, ONZM
  • Ms Nicola Wakefield Evans
  • Dr Lisa O’Brien
  • Mr Hisham El-Ansary
  • Mrs Emma Zipper (General Counsel and Company Secretary)
Foundation partnership


The Foundation has invested close to $30m in national initiatives focused on improving health outcomes for the Australian community.
  • Wellbeing
  • Chronic disease
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Empowering people about their health
  • Promoting affordable healthcare

Current Wellbeing Initiatives

The Bupa Health Foundation supports programs that encourage people to take up and maintain healthy behaviours - at home, at school, and in the workplace.

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Investigating a novel method to predict weight loss outcome
University of Melbourne, Austin Health (2014)

Around 60 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese. This research builds on preliminary clinical trial data suggesting the outcome of a very-low-energy diet (VLED) can be predicted using participants' variables.

The project will examine if 12-month weight loss results can be predicted at the outset of a VLED-based program. After completion, the findings will be used to guide more careful direction with VLEDs, a commonly used treatment in hospital weight-control clinics, to better match people to suitable treatment options.

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Investigating oxytocins to improve social difficulties in patients with autism
Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney (2012)

Oxytocin nasal spray can powerfully impact a range of social cognition and social behaviour variables relevant to the diagnosis of autism. Previous research of the Brain & Mind Research Institute suggests substantial variation in response to the spray across individuals in regards to observed benefits. 

This project employs a 12-week open label trial of oxytocin nasal spray in children with autism to identify patients who benefit from this treatment and the associated neurobiological changes that predict such changes. Outcomes provide the necessary leap in knowledge to advance oxytocin as a treatment for autism and our knowledge of the nature of improving social dysfunction. If proven, this project could significantly enhance the quality of life for children with autism and their families.

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Bupa Health Foundation Health and Wellbeing after Breast Cancer Study
Monash University (2008)

This is a longitudinal study of 1600 women in Victoria diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Over a period of at least five years, these women give us an insight into their lives following treatment by providing information through annual questionnaires to follow the physical, psychological and socio-economic consequences of breast cancer, looking at the broader outcomes of treatment beyond simply surviving.

The women were recruited both directly from the community and through the Victorian Cancer Registry in their first year after diagnosis. The findings will help provide a basis for the development of targeted management strategies to address issues affecting women with breast cancer. It will also guide further specific research where issues of significant need or poorer than expected outcomes can be identified. Other issues that may not otherwise have been considered significant may also be discovered.

This is the first Australian study to evaluate the broader health and social outcomes as well as women's needs after their breast cancer has been diagnosed and treated. It is also one of only a few studies worldwide that tracks women in this way from early diagnosis through subsequent years.

The study has been extended to explore the long-term health outcomes 3-5 years post treatment.

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The Beyond Ageing Project: Phase 2
University of Sydney (2010) Brain and Mind Research Institute

From a public health perspective, efforts to prevent depression are crucial if we are to reduce costs and improve health in the whole community. However few trials have tested interventions aimed at reducing symptoms and preventing depression.

Following studies which show that fish oils may prevent depression and suggestions that they are an acceptable remedy to older adults, this initiative is the first to investigate whether omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) supplements are effective in reducing rates of depressive symptoms, reducing incidence of new cases of major depressive disorder and reducing cognitive decline associated with ageing. The study also looks at whether brain changes in those risk factors for vascular disease are reduced by administering fish oil.

Diagnostic blood test for screening of colorectal cancer (CRC)
CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship (2013)

The CSIRO has developed a blood-test that can diagnose CRC at an early stage when the chance of cure is 80%. This blood test could also significantly improve CRC screening participation and compliance in the Australian population. The project will evaluate this non-invasive blood test with current screening programs for CRC to ascertain the following: 1. Determine its usefulness as a secondary screening tool to stratify patients for colonoscopy, or to reduce the number of unnecessary colonoscopies, thereby decreasing health costs; 2. Confirm that this test is superior in performance to faecal occult blood testing (FOBT).

UNSW logo
Can antibiotics cure refractory urge incontinence? – A randomised clinical trial
St George Hospital and University of NSW (2014)

Approximately one in six people (17 per cent) aged over 40 suffer from urge incontinence: urine leakage when there’s an urgent need to use the toilet, often requiring those affected to wear pads to prevent clothing being soiled. One third of sufferers do not benefit from standard treatments (anticholinergic tablets) and therefore they seek expensive surgical treatments that have limited benefit.

Previous research has shown almost half of those affected have urinary tract infections, with two small studies finding that antibiotics benefit these patients. The proposed randomised clinical trial will examine whether antibiotic treatment significantly relieves urge incontinence in refractory patients.

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Maternal vitamin D in pregnancy and childhood growth
Deakin University (2012)

This collaborative project between Deakin University, The University of Melbourne, Barwon Health and the Royal Melbourne Hospital extends a study initiated in 2002, which demonstrated that maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) level during late gestation was associated with infant long bone length at birth. The infants in this birth cohort turn 9 years old from late 2011 though to 2013, which presents a novel opportunity to investigate the relationship between gestational vitamin D levels and important indices of childhood growth. These include body size, proportions and composition, adiposity, muscle mass, and bone geometry, density and estimated bone strength.


Mode of birth and long-term childhood health
  • The Parenting Research Centre, Australian National University & La Trobe University (2013)
A national advocacy plan to drive the attack on obesity in Australia
  • Obesity Australia - (2012)
HOW TO BE BRAVE: program to prevent anxiety and depression
  • Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) UNSW at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney - (2012)
Evaluating an antenatal depression treatment program
  • Austin Health/Parent-Infant Research Institute (2008)
Remote area dental care pilot
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Australia, Central Operations (2011)
Bupa Health Foundation B-Active Schools
  • Managed by Active Edge (2011)
Bupa Health Foundation Kidfit triathlon (Tasmania)
  • Life Be In It (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Weet-bix Kids TRY-athlon Series
  • Sanitarium Health Foods Company (2008, 2009, 2010)
Optimising recovery after breast cancer surgery
  • Pain Management Research Institute (2008)
The Magic Garden: Bupa Health Foundation Healthy Kids Unit
  • Powerhouse Museum (2007)
Tuckshop snapshot 2008
  • Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) (2007)
Lifestyle seminar forums
  • Lifestyle Medicine Pty Ltd (2008)
Relapse prevention intervention for bipolar disorder
  • St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne (2008)
Internet Based Cholesterol Assessment Trial (I-CAT)
  • School of Public Health and Department of Medicine, University of Sydney (2005)
Self-management support for people with bipolar affective disorder
  • Mental Health Research Institute (2005)
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The Bupa Heath Foundation seeks nominations each year for its Emerging Health Researcher of the Year Award.
This award recognises the dedication of early career researchers and their valuable contribution to improving health outcomes for all Australians.
  • 1. Eligibility Criteria logo Image
  • 2. Submit Nomination decorative Image
  • 3. Outcome ecorative Image

To be eligible, nominated researchers must be:

  • An early career researcher - anytime from qualification but no more than 5 years past PhD or research higher degree. (Exceptions will be granted for career disruption due to carer’s responsibilities, illness, or disability.)
  • An Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Currently engaged in applied research activities that fall under one (or more) of the Bupa Health Foundation key focus areas of:
    • Promoting wellness
    • Chronic disease
    • Empowering people about their health
    • Promoting affordable healthcare
    • Healthy ageing

Only one application is permitted per person.

Who can nominate?

Nominations must be completed by research supervisors and/or department heads who are directly involved in the work of the researcher. Organisational approval of nominations is required.

What are we looking for in a nomination?

Nominations should clearly detail information about the Emerging Researcher, their area of interest, an overview of their research area and its potential impact on the health of Australians.

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The Bupa Health Foundation aims to fund new initiatives that are likely to deliver clear benefits to the health of the Australian community.

The Foundation is interested in funding innovative interventions and projects that:

  • Empower people to either prevent or better manage health conditions
  • Positively impact on health policy and practice to improve the health and care of Australians.

The annual funding round is currently being reviewed to ensure a more efficient application process for potential partners. Our funding commitment to health research will continue and remain at the same level as in previous years.

The Foundation will be refining key areas of focus for funding and sharing these areas via the website and with existing partners via email in due course.

To register to receive expression of interest notifications please email your contact details to



General questions:
My organisation is a not for profit/charity. Can I still submit an application to be considered?
The Bupa Health Foundation funding is open to all organisations.
Is the Foundation interested in local community initiatives?
The Foundation wants to get involved in projects with a potential for national or state level significance in order to help as many Australians as possible.
How much funding is available?
In the past the Foundation has given up to a total of $3 million each year to various initiatives, both targeted and those awarded through the Expression of Interest (EOI) process.
Questions related to the application process:
Is the Expression of Interest (EOI) a precursor to another round of funding?
The EOI is essentially one process where you submit the application for funding form and the project is reviewed and approved on that basis. There is no need to submit any further funding form. However, the Foundation reserves the right to discuss with either potential or successful applicants possible modifications of proposals that could contribute to the success of the application or improve the potential outcome of the project to contribute to the Foundation's objectives.
How long is the EOI application process and when should I expect to hear back regarding my application?
The window to submit an application is around 6 - 8 weeks. The application process thereafter normally takes 3 months. Please do not call in regards to the status of your application as no information can be given until the conclusion of the review process. All submissions will receive a letter advising them of our decision. Letters will be addressed to the Principal Researcher contact name on the application for funding form.
Does the Foundation advertise the EOI?
Yes. In previous years we have advertised in the Brisbane Courier Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age, Weekend Australian and the Research Australia website when we are open to receive applications.
Does the Bupa Health Foundation have its EOIs reviewed externally?
Yes, where necessary the Foundation undertakes an external review process.
Will any applications be reviewed if submitted after the deadline?
No, applications will not be reviewed if submitted after close of business on the deadline. The date for submission is final.
Is the round of funding only open once a year?
The Foundation normally only extends an open invitation to apply for its funding once a year.
Can I submit multiple applications?
Yes. You can submit more than one application from the same or different organisations. Please ensure each application is attached to a separate email. Each application will be judged on its own merit. There is no value submitting the same proposal more than once from separate organisations.
Is the Foundation able to meet or provide guidance by telephone on applications?
No, in order to be fair to all applicants, personal reviews of projects and comments on applications are not available prior to submission.
How do I know if my project fits the criteria and objectives?
As long as the project fits our strategies and objective listed on the website, all applications will be considered.
Questions relating to the application for funding form
How much information should be entered on the application overall/per question?
Each answer should give enough information to cover the question. On average each completed application for funding form is between 10-12 pages.
Is the total cost of the project based on cost per year or per project life?
The total cost of the project should be listed on the first page of the application for funding form with a breakdown per year at the end of the document.
Do I have to use the application for funding form?
Yes, only the official form will be accepted. Please do not PDF the form or change the format or font of the form.
If your question has not been answered here please contact the Foundation via email at


Since inception, the Foundation has committed close to $30million in over 100 initiative across Australia