Indigenous cancer scholarship open now

2 minute read

The federal government has announced $5.9m for scholarships, hoping to increase the Indigenous cancer workforce and improve survival rates.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, health professionals and researchers in the cancer field can apply now for the First Nations Cancer Scholarship, providing up to $120,000 a year for three years.

The scholarship, led by the Aurora Education Foundation and funded for $5.9 million over four years by the Federal Government through Cancer Australia, is to support Indigenous scholars to undertake full-time postgraduate study or research in a cancer-related field covering health, research or policy.

“This scholarship creates opportunities for the best and brightest Indigenous scholars to develop specialist skills and expertise that will strengthen how cancer-related professions lead and contribute to cancer control,” said Ms Leila Smith, Aurora Education Foundation CEO. 

“I am excited about the potential of this Scholarship and look forward to the announcement of the successful scholars later this year.”

Scholarship applications can be made until 30 August.

“I encourage all eligible Indigenous students to seize this opportunity and apply for the First Nations Cancer Scholarship. Your research and expertise have the power to make a real difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples affected by cancer,” said Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health. 

The scholarship is part of a push to strengthen the Indigenous cancer workforce. Currently, fewer than 1% of all health professionals in Australia are Indigenous.

Cancer survival rates are high in Australia, but less so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have a five-year survival rate of only 50% compared to 65% for non-Indigenous people.

One element required to change that and improve access to culturally safe care is to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer professionals, according to speakers at the launch of the Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network earlier this year.

“As we work towards building a stronger, more inclusive cancer system though the implementation of the Australian Cancer Plan, initiatives like the First Nations Cancer Scholarship are crucial in empowering Indigenous voices and perspectives in cancer control efforts,” said Cancer Australia CEO Professor Dorothy Keefe.

“Together, we can drive innovation, improve outcomes, and ultimately, save lives.” 

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