Research Award

The Research Award aims to support veterinary/biology/ecology projects investigating aspects of health and disease in Australasian wildlife. A research stipend of up to $2000 is awarded annually, to a member of WDA-A Section.

The Applicant will be awarded on the understanding that funds will be used to meet the running costs of a project and not for salaries or major equipment. Find out more under "How to Apply".

A panel of 4 WDA-A members will review the applications and choose the successful applicant. Closing date for the WDA-A Research Award applications generally is the end of March with the award made in April/early May.

Award holders will be expected to present their findings at an annual conference of the Australsian Section of the Wildlife Disease Association and to acknowledge the Section Research Fund in any presentations or publications.

Applications have closed for 2020.

Winners of the 2020 Research Award

Due to our commitment to supporting our members and their research, particularly in this uncertain time, it was decided to award grants of $2000 to four applicants this year. The successful applicants and projects are:

Brett Gardner, MVSc candidate at Melbourne University - 'Mycoplasma and Brucella as potential aetiological agents of abortion in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferos) in Victoria'.

Fiona Knox, Resident in wildlife population health at Murdoch University - ‘Disease surveillance project for Dirk Hartog Island’.

Thais Sasso Lopez, PhD candidate at Griffith University - ‘Exploring the role of skin microbiota of the endangered Mixophyes fleayi as a potential defense against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis’.

Berta Blanch, PhD candidate from Deakin University - ‘Uncovering beak and feather disease virus persistence in tissues and the immune system’s response'.

How to Apply

Applications for the Research Award are requested, via an email to WDA-A members, each year around February - March. 

Conditions of the Award

  • Applicant must be a current WDA-A member at the time of application
  • Application to be made by the individual conducting the research
  • Monies to be used to fund the project and not for salaries or major equipment
  • Results to be presented at annual meeting of the Australasian Section
  • Section to be acknowledged in any publication of results.

All those who have applied unsuccessfully in previous years are encouraged to submit proposals again if their projects are still running or able to be run.

A panel of 4 members will review the applications and choose the successful applicant.

Application details
Applications should be sent in an electronic format to Jenny McLelland at

Project outline should be brief and concise (one A4 page excluding references) and include: 

  • a title, 
  • a description of the project and its expected duration, 
  • a budget including any other support expected for the project and 
  • the name (s) and occupation(s) of the principle investigator(s)
  • If part of a larger project (e.g. PhD), please indicate specifically what the funds would be used for.

Selection criteria for the Award

Merit: What is the intrinsic merit of the proposed project to wildlife health? How worthwhile would the project be if it did what it set out to do? For example, is there a target species? If so, what is its conservation status? What is the threat posed by the disease? Scoring range 1 (low) to 5 (high).

Relevance and Scope: What is the relevance of the project to this threat? How likely is this project to do what it sets out to do? Is the proposed research well focused, can the anticipated results be applied and has there been care and clarity (writing/thinking) in the preparation of this proposal? Scoring range 1 (low) to 5 (high).

Support: If this project is worthwhile by your assessment and already funded, would a “top-up” of $2000 boost it into another realm of value and benefit to wildlife health?Scoring range 0 to 1.

The value for the Support category has been chosen in order not to penalise unduly those who do not have other funding for their proposed project.

Please Note: Awards should be exempt from tax and administrative charges of individuals or organisations receiving the grant. It is expected that Award holders will obtain permission for any work that requires animal ethics committee or environmental government authority approval.

Previous WDA-A Research Award Winners
2020  Brett Gardner Mycoplasma and Brucella as potential aetiological agents of abortion in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferos) in Victoria
Fiona Knox  Disease surveillance project for Dirk Hartog Island
Thais Sasso Lopez Exploring the role of skin microbiota of the endangered Mixophyes fleayi as a potential defense against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
Berta Blanch Uncovering beak and feather disease virus persistence in tissues and the immune system’s response
2019 Maria Puig Ribas Characterising the immune response to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in larval stages of the endangered Fleay’s barred frog
Philippa McKay Toxoplasma gondii in Burrowing Bettongs (Bettongia lesueur): Comparing prevalence in feral cat-exposed and feral cat-free populations in the Arid Recovery Reserve (ARR), South Australia
Tamika Lunn  Investigating immune function, disease susceptibility and viral shedding during gestation in Pteropodid bats 
2018 Jessica Whinefiled Investigation into the disease status of Melbourne's recently-established feral newt population
2017 Aylnn Martin Understanding genetic health and diversity of wombats in-light of the increasing sarcoptic mange threat
2016 Peter Holz Health survey of two subspecies of bent-wing bats (Minopterus schreibersii bassanii and M. r. oceanensis)
2015 Alisa Wallace Psittacine beak and feather disease, avian polyomavirus and raven attacks in forest red-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus bansksii naso): implications for managing a threatened species.
2014 Chris Niebuhr The role of avian malaria in native bird declines in New Zealand
2013 Kim Skogvold A comparative heath and disease investigation of the Woylie – captive vs free-range enclosure vs wild.
Hamish Baron                                     
Beak and feather disease and avian polyoma virus in budgerigars in New Zealand as a disease model for endangered New Zealand native psittacines.
2011 Bronwyn Fancourt      Drought, disease or destiny? Identifying the causes of decline of the eastern quoll, Dasyurus viverrinus.
2010 Jade Patterson   
Epidemiology of Chlamydophila infection in three geographically distinct, southern populations of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).
2009 Carol Esson       An investigation of the Northern Quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) in health and disease in far north Queensland.
2008 Joanne Connolly
& Geoff Dutton     
Mucor amphibiorum infection trial in trout.
2007 Stephanie Shaw Mapping chytrid in Leiopelma populations in New Zealand.

Stephanie Godfrey Social structure and parasite transmission in the Tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus. (Ecology Project award)
Bonnie McMeekin Investigation of the effectiveness of a range of antifungal medications and disinfectants against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis over the period of metamorphosis. (Veterinary Project award)
2005 Tamsin Barnes  The significance of hydatid disease and other parasitic infections in the conservation of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata).
2004 Jo Smaller Developing an ELISA for ante-mortem diagnosis of Angiostrongylus cantonensis in macropods.