Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Research Strategy: Targeting zero deaths


Since it was funded in 1994, National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has awarded $149 million to support 479 projects. Over the past year NBCF implemented a robust research strategy to reinvigorate the way breast cancer research is funded and to improve outcomes for people affected by breast cancer.

The strategy involves building on our existing programs so that the best projects are funded and outcomes impact breast cancer. It is focused on closer partnerships with top researchers and institutions, leveraging co-funding with other funding agencies for greater research outcomes and streamlining the grant process to ensure funds deliver a significant contribution to breast cancer survival.

In addition to the annual grant funding round, NBCF announced two outstanding clinician researchers as the inaugural NBCF Endowed Chairs in breast cancer research. An Australian-first, these long-term appointments of 10 years and a total value of $10 million are designed to foster the development of breast cancer’s ‘rising stars’ while they reach new heights in their careers as breast cancer thought leaders and progress new innovations that have the potential to deliver the next significant breakthroughs in breast cancer research.


This year NBCF also partnered with the Movember Foundation in an effort that truly embodies the evolution of medical research from organ-specific to precision medicine. Each foundation will contribute $1.25 million to fund research that jointly addresses treatment resistance in prostate and breast cancers.

NBCF also commissioned a $420,000 research project that will create a comprehensive e-health data linkage platform, to further understand who is most at risk of dying from breast cancer. This information will help inform and guide NBCF’s future funding investment to prioritise research that will positively impact patient outcomes.

The administration of the grants application process has undergone a major overhaul this year with NBCF pioneering a new online un-capped grant program designed to focus on support for outstanding emerging researchers, innovation and NBCF breast cancer priorities.

Through a more tightly defined and focused research investment direction, NBCF is committed to facilitating and accelerating improvements in breast cancer outcomes for the 17,730 women and men diagnosed each year.

Research Strategy


The basis for a new direction in research investment builds on an evaluation of the impact of the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) investment in research, conducted by the Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University in 2013, which found that the relative citation impact of NBCF funded research was double the world benchmark.

Importantly, the report also found that 14 per cent of grants evaluated reported having already made an impact on how breast cancer healthcare is delivered in Australia and 39 per cent expected to make such an impact in the future as a result of the research findings and return on investment.

NBCF is proud of the impact its funding has delivered and aims to continually identify better ways of investing in research to deliver maximum benefit to donors, patients and their families and the breast cancer research community. In 2016 NBCF introduced a new direction to its research strategy that would guide and optimise future investment decisions.

NBCF’s focus on research investment is what differentiates it from other breast cancer charities. Consulting a wide range of experts has set the Foundation on the right path for a strategic approach to investing funds where they will have the most impact

Professor Robert Saint

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Flinders University



Deliver a significant contribution to breast cancer survival through effective research investment

= Implemented in 2017


Focus on priority areas

Grant Scheme more weighted towards 2030 goal
Focus priority areas identified and agreed with stakeholders


Fund the best people

Appoint two 10-year Endowed Chairs
International skills exchange program


Accelerate and translate knowledge into care

Commission research to identify gaps in survival
World-class research results tracking


Game-changers for breast and other cancers

Collaboration in breast and prostate cancer linkage grant

Research Strategy: Nurturing scientific talent


To facilitate accelerated benefits of research to the Australian public the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has pioneered a new approach to investment.

Funded by money raised entirely by the Australian public, NBCF established the Endowed Chairs Program. The program includes two long-term 10-year research grants for a total value of $5 million each, which includes a co-contribution from the recipients host institutions.

A new and unique concept for research in Australia, Endowed Chairs are designed to create more stability for emerging leaders, in this instance breast cancer research, amid the uncertainty and shorter grant periods of the Australian medical research funding landscape. The longer term duration of Endowed Chairs will help researchers accelerate and advance groundbreaking breast cancer research projects that will have maximum impact on patient treatment and care, meaning that the benefits of the research will be passed on to affected women and men much faster.

This type of funding provides a length and breadth of support for talented researchers with long-term vision and allows for much greater impact.
This is a very visionary program set up by the National Breast Cancer Foundation

Professor David Thomas

CEO Garvan Institute of Medical Research


Associate Professor Elgene Lim

Researcher at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre Medical oncologist at St Vincent’s Hospital,
Sydney NBCF Endowed Chair Fellow

A major focus of Associate Professor Lim’s lab is overcoming resistance to the hormone treatments used on the largest subtype of breast cancer. 

Over the next 10 years, Associate Professor Lim’s research program will look at new ways to overcome hormone resistance and to sensitise metastatic breast cancer to hormone therapies.

The longer duration of the Endowed Chair funding gives a unique opportunity to pursue bold and more impactful projects which aim to improve the lives of breast cancer patients. said Associate Professor Lim.

Professor Sherene Loi

Researcher and oncologist
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
NBCF Endowed Chair Fellow

Associate Professor Loi’s lab is working toward significant advances in breast cancer survival and quality of life through the implementation of genomics and immunotherapy research.

Advanced or metastatic breast cancer is still considered incurable and affects women at the prime of their lives. I believe that understanding how to manipulate the immune response favourably to combat cancer via immunotherapy offers women the greatest chance of long-term survival. said Associate Professor Loi.

As part of her program, Associate Professor Loi will also investigate a clinical trial program that will give Australian women access to promising new therapies.

Research Strategy: Funding excellence


As a 100 per cent community funded organisation, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is responsible for ensuring only researchers with the greatest potential to make significant advances in the field of breast cancer research are funded with the money raised each year.

As custodians of community-raised funds, NBCF has always implemented a rigorous and transparent research investment process to remove any guesswork in deciding which projects should be funded, engaging experts to evaluate each application on its merit.

To ensure integrity, accountability and transparency when awarding funds, NBCF coordinates a rigorous peer and consumer review process. This is a critical service provided to donors by NBCF.

An open and competitive call is issued and applications are reviewed by external peer review committees which are balanced by gender, seniority and state of origin. This robust and administratively taxing process is important to eliminate conflicts of interest in the assessment stage. All applications are scored according to strict guidelines so that only the very best applications are considered worthy of funding.

The final ranking of the applications is reviewed by our Research Advisory Committee who make recommendations to the NBCF Board of Directors for approval.


The importance of research applications being reviewed by
peers and experts in the field cannot be underestimated - it takes the uncertainty away from deciding which research projects are most likely to have a positive impact on improving the lives of Australians with breast cancer

Professor Tim Shaw

Director Research in Implementation Science and eHealth,
Charles Perkins Centre, and a member of the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee


Research Strategy: Identifying the gaps


Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Although it has one of the highest survival rates, thanks largely to research, 10 per cent of those diagnosed with breast cancer still die from the disease within five years.

To inform research investment and more effectively work towards the goal of Zero Deaths from breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) plans to commission its first research project to understand who is most at risk of dying from breast cancer.

Which women are most at risk of poor survival outcomes?

  • How does geographical location impact women’s outcomes?

  • What difference does breast cancer subtype make?

  • How can every woman receive the best breast cancer care tailored to her needs?

  • How many women are impacted?

  • What difference does age and ethnicity make?

  • What health-system changes are needed to close the gap?

What research is needed to improve outcomes?

Research Strategy: Large scale collaborations


An emerging field of precision medicine focuses on understanding and treating cancers according to their molecular biology at the genetic level. Much can be learned from discoveries in other cancers.

By approaching cancer from its molecular make-up rather than its site of origin within the body, it’s possible to see that cancers such as breast and prostate cancer have some fundamental similarities.

Under the new research strategy set out in 2016, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is committed to extending the benefits of breast cancer research to other cancers.

This year NBCF announced a new partnership with the Movember Foundation to jointly fund research into both cancers to improve the health of both men and women in Australia.

Everyday in 2017, 48 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 45 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Combined, breast and prostate cancers are the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in Australia.

This collaborative fund strengthens NBCF’s goal to achieve Zero Deaths from breast cancer, as it helps us to speed up developments of new treatments for breast cancer. It also symbolises an enormous step forward for funding Australian cancer researchers in an increasingly challenging environment

Professor Sarah Hosking

CEO National Breast Cancer Foundation


Community Support


As a charity funded 100% by the community, it is essential that the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has a strong and engaged relationship with the Australian public.

This has resulted in $25.7 million being raised for life-changing breast cancer research in the 2016/17 financial year.

NBCF continues to evolve and innovate with fundraising initiatives, this year launching a new campaign, Bridge to 2030. Many organisations took the opportunity to climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to promote staff engagement while raising funds for life-changing breast cancer research.

In the last 12 months NBCF has initiated a move towards bringing new and existing partnerships and suppliers in line with a new ethical framework to ensure all brand alignments have shared community centric values. Keeping donors updated with the value of their donation is vital to ongoing support and income.

Throughout the year NBCF provides the latest breast cancer research news, snapshots of research projects in action, opportunities to get face-to-face with a researcher during lab tours and live Q&As with researchers.

NBCF is supported in many ways, including gifts in Wills, regular monthly gifts, participation in community fundraising activities and partnerships with the corporate community.

I give to NBCF because it focuses on understanding why and how breast cancer spreads. This area of research is very important to me because it’s what my mother went through. I also support NBCF because they receive no goverment funding and I know that long-term research is expensive.

- NBCF Supporter



NBCF operations for the year resulted in a surplus before grant expense and income tax of $13.1m (2016: $11.1m). After the provision of research grants of $17.4m (2016:$12.2m), the net deficit for the year was $4.3m (2016: deficit of $1.1m). No income tax is payable.

Total income was $27.7m (2016: $27.5m); fundraising income increased by 3% to $25.7m (2016: $25.6m); donations in kind were static at $0.7m (2016: $0.7m); interest and investment income increased to $1.4m (2016 $1.3m).



Charitable fundraising comparisons information



Giving in Kind

Thank you to our generous supporters who have provided assistance with products and services over the past year.

High Value Fundraisers

We would like to thank our loyal community fundraisers, both groups and individuals, who have kindly allowed their names to appear here.

• Amanda Maltabarow
• Apollo Motorhome Holidays
• Australian Vaccine Services Pty Ltd
• Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
• Chris Morsley
• Coca Cola Amatil
• Double A International Network (Australia) Pty Ltd
• Ernst & Young
• Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited
• Herbert Smith Freehills
• Jemella Australia Pty Limited (ghd)
• Lighthouse Print Group
• Luv Sum
• Silk Oil of Morocco
• Westpac Banking Corporation

In Memory

We are grateful to the families who have generously donated to NBCF in memory of their loved ones, and allowed their names to be printed here.

• Susie Birch (nee Johnson)
• Twilla Bone
• Tracey Britschgi
• Vanessa Casella
• Gladys Griffith
• Jacob Halik
• Robyn Jeffs
• Pooja Patel
• Deirdre Prussak
• Ann Salter
• Barbara Manley
• Wendy Mason
• Kate Scott
• Kerri Ward
• Belinda White
• Roy Worrall

• Abruzzo Club Ladies Committee
• Accenture
• Alex Arnold
• Blackbaud Pacific Pty Ltd
• Burleigh in Pink Committee
• Robyn A Cameron
• Carey Baptist Grammar School
• Casey Scorpions Football Club
• Charity Greeting Cards Pty Ltd
• Charter Hall Limited
• Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand
• Cobden & Hayson
• Combined Districts Kart Club
• Crown Perth
• Nicole Darcey
• Deer Park Club Incorporated
• Dirty Down Under 4X4 Qld
• ECCO Shoes
• Jessica Farrow
• FlameSafe Fire Protection Pty Limited
• Adrienne Gledhill
• Rosalie Handreck
• Hardy’s Bay Charity Luncheon Committee
• Hedland Well Women’s Centre
• Hike for a Cure: Great Alpine Walk Team
• John Kelly
• Knight Frank LLP
• Lack Group
• Venessa Loadsman
• Erin McMahon
• Vanessa Mancuso
• Mildura South Primary School
• Muswellbrook RSL Club
• Pacific Wholesale Distributors
• Path Towards a Cure: El Camino 2017 Team
• Peter’s of Kensington
• Brett Pooles
• Tom & Lucy Reed
• Carole Rogers
• The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’          Association - NSW Branch

• St Luke’s Anglican School
• St Petka Ladies Association
• Hayley Taylor
• Tweed Valley Equestrian Group
• Jake Ward
• Karen Webb
• Westpac Banking Corporation
• Wyong Rugby League Club
• Judi Adams and the Hobart Volunteer Committee
• Clare Barnes & Emily Townsing
• Suzanne Bounassif and Committee
• Wade Burns and The Ride
• Kiara Comans and Frances Comans
• Di Fincher and the Victorian Events Committee
• The Glen Hotel - Catherine Fitzgibbons
• Girls on the Porch and Wendy Scott and Melissa    Addison-Edgar
• Kayla Itsines - The Bikini Body Training Company
• Shari Ly and the Cornchip Crusaders
• Anthony Schifano & Team Shifty
• Shepparton News and Karen Gill

Gifts in Wills

Our thanks to those who have remembered NBCF and breast cancer research in their Wills and whose families have consented to be published here.

• Estate of the Late Agnes Ferguson Clark
• Estate of the Late Olive Dean
• Estate of the Late Mrs Jean Murray
• Estate of the Late Mrs Elivira Salnajs
• Estate of the Late Milton James Wilson
• Estate of the Late Robert W Wilson
• Estate of the Late Jean Wright

Circle of 10

Thanks to the generous ladies of the Circle of 10 who are committed to helping us achieve our goal of Zero Deaths from breast cancer.

• Ellie Aitkin
• Angelique Andrews
• Alina Barlow
• Sanchia Brahimi
• Kirsten Carriol
• Deeta Colvin

• Fell Family Foundation
• Jaclyn Gazal
• Eliza Grant
• Sarah Ingham
• Kelly Landry
• Skye Leckie

• Larissa Malouf
• Lucy May
• Blainey North
• Sam Owen
• Sally Ryan
• Sam White

High Value Supporters

Many thanks to our valued key supporters, who have graciously allowed us to include their names here.

• Roseanne Amarant
• Jason and Orathai Boladeras
• Bruce & Joy Reid Trust
• Doherty Swinhoe Family Foundation
• Ronald Kaiser & Louise Hassin

• Thomas Madsen
• Mann Family Settlement Mooloolaba QLD
• Susan Maple-Brown AM
• In memory of Jocelyne Markey
• In memory of Jo Moffat

• Dennis & Fairlie Nassau
• Julia Nicholls
• Skipper Jacobs Charitable Trust
• Jenny & Alan Smith
• Ian Wall OAM

NBCF Partners


Pink Diamond




Read the full NBCF Annual Report