Angie Cunningham

PhD Scholarship & Project Grant-In-Aid

It is said that the qualities of a good PhD Student are perseverance, tenacity, courage, and the ability to communicate. The Angie Cunningham FightMND PhD scholarship and project grant-in-aid award honors the life and qualities of a woman who was the embodiment of all of these traits and more.

Angie was a girl from Tassie who had not only a natural ability, but an undying perseverance. She applied this to her passion – tennis. At the age of 11, she conquered the national tournament and came to the attention of sports selectors. Her tenacity saw her leave home at the age of 14 to attend the Australian Institute of Sport, and she went on to hit a peak junior doubles ranking of No.2 and appeared in the Wimbledon girls’ doubles final in 1991 as well as two Australian Open girls’ doubles finals.

Later she went on to work as the vice president of player relations and on-site operations at the Women’s Tennis Association. Her colleagues have said that it took 3 people to replace the work that she did for years on her own.

These qualities allowed Angie to stare down the barrel of MND with steadfast courage when she was diagnosed with the devastating disease at the age of 38. A wife to Pat, and a mother of 2 young girls aged 6 and 3, within days of the diagnosis Angie made a firm decision to “focus on the things that I have, not what I have lost”.

Her ability to communicate and share her compassionate, loving spirit is something all her friends can attest to. She was a mentor for young tennis players, a firm support for professional tennis players and colleagues, and a true friend.

Her spoken word was full of humour and love, and it was these qualities that allowed her to navigate her journey with MND with dignity, grace and a complete appreciation for the value of life and love. She and Pat started the Laugh to Cure Campaign in 2014, before joining forces with Dr Ian Davis and Neale Daniher to form The Cure for MND Foundation.

Angie’s legacy is that of courage, selflessness and eternal positivity against all the odds

Angie Cunningham PhD Scholarship

Click above to download PhD guidelines


FightMND supports biomedical research in the field of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in all relevant research disciplines. The objectives of the Angie Cunningham FightMND PhD Scholarship and Project Grant-in-Aid funding programme are:

  • to support research aimed at understanding the causes of sporadic MND, elucidating disease mechanisms and facilitating the translation of therapeutic strategies from the laboratory to the clinic.
  • to encourage new interest within the field of Motor Neurone Disease research from exceptional new postgraduates.
  • to help develop PhD graduates who demonstrate academic leadership, independence, creativity and innovation in their work and foster a passion for future MND research.
  • to honour the memory and legacy of Angie Cunningham

For detailed Scholarship and Grant Criteria please download the guidelines by clicking here

  • Applications for a specified project may be submitted from potential supervisors for projects commencing in 2017. Collaborative projects between departments are welcomed, provided the relative roles of the supervisors and departments are addressed.
  • Supervisors should recruit and nominate the student of their choice. The CV should be passed to the Foundation for final approval before the student’s appointment is confirmed. Students should hold a high achieving H1 Honours/Masters degree .
  • Grants are activated on receipt of notification of award from the Foundation. If for any reason, the project does not start within 6 months of award notification, the Foundation may withdraw the grant and stipend offer.
  • Applications should be forwarded to our Research Coordinator Dr Bec Sheean at [email protected]
  • Awards will be offered for three years to allow students who are Australian citizens or permanent residents to undertake full-time research for a PhD. An option for a 6 month extension is available with approval by the Foundation for PhD projects/studentships extending to 3.5 years.
  • FightMND will provide: a student stipend of $30,000 per annum, $65,000 per annum for laboratory/project expenses directly related to the prospective students PhD; and a total budget of $5,000 per annum for conference attendance. The value of the full award available is $100,000 per annum for 3 years. 
  • Applications will be assessed on three key criteria; scientific merit, relevance to sporadic MND and the value of the research training offered. Supervisors and institutions should have demonstrable experience of postgraduate student supervision.
  • Project proposals should include:
    • Completed Cover letter: download example by clicking here
    • Lay summary of the proposed project (600 words max): for inclusion in Cure for MND Foundation newsletter and communications and on our website. 
    • Aims of the project (1 page max): list the general aims of this project outlining hypotheses that will be tested and the relevance to increasing the understanding of the causes, treatments and/or cure for sporadic MND. It is understood and allowed that the specifics of the PhD student’s project may change from the date of application (please refer to the full terms and conditions – a Grant Amendment Application will need to be submitted). 
    • Background and supporting data (2 pages max)
    • Research Plan (4 pages max)
    • Budget: proposed expenses for a 3 year project. If you intend to apply for a 6 month extension for a 3.5 year PhD studentship please include these additional costs in your budget. 
    • References (1 page max)
    • Supervisor and Institute Background (2 page max): please provide a brief summary on your track record and experience of PhD supervision and details on the training opportunities and support for the student available within your institution.  
  • Applicants should familiarise themselves with the reporting requirements associated with this award. To read the full terms associated with this award please download the grant criteria by clicking here.
  • Successful applicants will be notified in March 2017, to allow recruitment for projects commencing in 2017. 

Applications Close 5:00pm Monday March 13th 2017 

FightMND is the largest independent financial supporter of MND research and clinical trials in Australia

We fund the best and brightest MND researchers across Australia to help develop promising new therapies in the lab to the roll into clinical trials for Australians living with MND.

No. of Australian Research Grants Awarded

No. Of Australian Clinical Trials Funded

$million Spent on Funding Research Grants

$Million Spent on Funding Clinical Trials

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