The big, bold $100,000 idea

In late July 2021, the Florey set out a big, bold challenge for our researchers.

The Challenge

A six figure, $100,000 internal grant was on offer for an innovative and collaborative project that explored a novel scientific idea and supported the mission of the Florey Institute to advance humanity through brain and mind science.

Clinical Director and lead architect of the challenge, Professor Trevor Kilpatrick, said the inspiration for this idea came from the understanding that innovation thrives when you gather the best and the brightest together and challenge them to solve a problem.

“The Florey is home to over 600 staff and students, and we wanted to encourage the creative and multidisciplinary spirt of our researchers.”

“In science, bold new ideas are sometimes constrained by traditional funding limitations. The 100k challenge allowed our researchers to think outside the box, form new scientific teams within the Florey and tackle a problem that had previously been untouched.”

Ideas were submitted in the form of a research proposal and assessed by The Florey’s Director, Clinical Director and Division Heads with joint deliberation by Heads of Enterprise and Innovation and Strategy and Public Affairs.

Proposals had to meet a range of criteria, including impact to the field of neuroscience and mental health, feasibility and uniqueness of idea, expected research outcomes, and scalability into a larger, future research endeavour.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of high-quality, worthy proposals that we received. We congratulate Associate Professor Yugeesh Lankadeva and Scott Ayton whose proposal was selected,” said Professor Kilpatrick.

“This challenge is an investment into the future. We hope the results can one day change the course of how we think and impact peoples’ lives.”

Associate Professor Scott Ayton and Associate Professor Yugeesh Lankadeva

The big, bold idea: A new therapy to prevent acute brain and kidney injury arising from heart surgery

Associate Professors Lankadeva and Ayton are working to establish a world-first large animal platform for drug and biomarker discovery to preserve brain and kidney health in patients undergoing heart surgery requiring the use of a heart-lung machine. Their work aims to fill an existing unmet therapeutic need and significantly improve health outcomes.

“Until now, Scott and I have never had the chance unite our research behind a common purpose. This 100k challenge is a really exciting opportunity because it enables us to generate strong pilot data to take forward into further investigatory opportunities,” Associate Professor Yugeesh Lankadeva.

“This consolidation of our multidisciplinary approaches will help us gain better understanding of disease mechanisms. We thank The Florey for the investment in our research teams and this opportunity which will act as a foundation to a new long-term collaboration,” Associate Professor Scott Ayton.