04 May 2022
The Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre announces the IgnitED Fund to unearth bright ideas from around the country that have the potential to solve the problem of eating disorders.
The IgnitED grants offer of up to $25,000 to Australian residents with new solutions or concepts to work in a co-design process with a researcher, lived experience expertise, and clinical or community practitioners. Successful applicants will bring to life inspired ideas to be tested in a research methodology and translate research to good practice.
Centre Director, Associate Professor Sarah Maguire of the University of Sydney, said the fund aims to support the generation of innovative ideas and facilitate the creation of novel teams among researchers, people with lived experience, practitioners and others who are relevant to the proposed project:
“We need to think differently to find better ways to treat the 1 million Australians living with an eating disorder and to prevent their development in the first place,” said Associate Professor Maguire. “This is an exciting opportunity to develop bold solutions that haven’t been previously tested in the eating disorders field, and to tap the diversity and wisdom in our communities.”
“We hope that the IgnitED Fund will be the starting point for new and important scientific work that drives better treatments, better supports and better outcomes for people living with an eating disorder, their families and carers.”
– Associate Professor Sarah Maguire, Director, Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre and InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious and complex mental illnesses with significant physical and mental health impacts, high mortality rates and low rates of detection.
Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Executive Director of Centre Lead Partner Orygen, highlighted that eating disorders represent a huge and growing – yet, overlooked – public health issue: “The nature of these illnesses is poorly understood. Treatment has not advanced for decades and the evidence base is weak. This means that a fundamental rethink – a mini-moonshot – is required.”
“Discovery and innovation are key processes in which we must invest,” said Professor McGorry.
People with lived experience and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples are strongly encouraged to submit an application. At least one IgnitED grant will be respectively awarded to Lived Experience-led and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander-led applicants.
Centre Lived Experience Co-Production Co-Lead Shannon Calvert said the IgnitED grant opportunity ensures that people with lived and living experience are at the core of scientific work.
“The IgnitED Fund is about bringing people who have diverse strengths and perspectives together to support and enable much-needed breakthroughs that help prevent illness and help people get better.”
Centre Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-Lead Leilani Darwin said one of the grants is for First Nations Australians who are believed to experience high rates of eating disorders, disordered eating and food insecurity issues.
“The IgnitED Fund facilitates Indigenous innovation. For the first time, we are uniquely positioned to elevate the need to better understand eating disorders, and to build the evidence and best practice for our communities.”
– Leilani Darwin, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-Production Co-Lead
IgnitED is the first funding initiative of the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre.
Chairperson Robyn Kruk AO said the Centre has been established to enable Australia’s best researchers to collaborate with practitioners and lived experience experts to transform how eating disorders are diagnosed and treated: “The Centre will coordinate a national approach to eating disorders research that focuses on driving innovation – with the goal of improving outcomes for people living with an eating disorder and supporting their loved ones.”
Centre Chief Operating Officer Peta Marks highlighted that new ideas are warranted to help solve the problem of eating disorders in Australia: “They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – and we urgently need to better prevent and treat people with eating disorders.”
Led by InsideOut Institute at the University of Sydney, the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the National Leadership in Mental Health program.
NSW Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said eating disorder research is a priority for the NSW Government: “There is evidence that early intervention into eating disorders can reduce the duration of the illness and improve outcomes for patients. With the right treatment, it is possible for many people to make a full recovery.”
"The NSW Government is committed to driving innovation in the eating disorders field," said Minister Taylor. "These vital changes to clinical delivery must be complemented by research breakthroughs in innovation – that's why the NSW Government is sponsoring the IgnitED Fund."