Past Funding

Jacka Foundation for Natural Therapies (JFNT) is a not-for-profit charitable fund that supports research in naturopathy and its related modalities, and the development of a community of researchers, scholars and leaders in the naturopathic profession.


2019: Australian Integrative Medicine Association – $5000 

This funding supported development of an online course introducing health care practitioners (including naturopaths) to the most appropriate and effective way to communicate with medical doctors, resulting in open successful communication pathways that meet both doctors’ and patients’ needs. Professional communications also educate doctors about the unique skills of naturopaths and help to build effective integrated collaborations. The course is now available, see:  

2017-2021: ARCCIM – $50,000 per year to support the work of ARCCIM and Professor Jon Adams. 

The funding enabled research on the natural therapy professions in Australia, and their potential in reducing the burden of chronic disease.  

2016 – 2021: ARCCIM – Support for Research Mentoring and Leadership program – $30,000 per annum  

The Fellows received mentoring from senior, highly published researchers and also collaborated with each other to identify and carry out research projects. While the pandemic seriously disrupted plans for face-to-face interactions, publication of research continued and writing and publication skills were further developed. 

2015 – 2019: National Institute of Complementary Medicine – $2 million dollars over four years$2_million_grant 

The major philanthropic effort of JFNT has been to support the work of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM Health Research Institute), based at Western Sydney University (WSU). The funding has supported academic leadership and promoted research into natural therapies. 

2015: Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM) – $45,000 

This grant enabled the establishment of a world-first international Naturopathy Research and Leadership mentoring program. The funding covered a series of research seminars plus networking activities to help identify potential bringing the Fellows to Sydney for a one week residential program. 

2015: Lifestyle Initiative – $60,000 

This grant funded an online comprehensive lifestyle change program, available to health practitioners for their patients and directly to the public. This initiative was developed to address a major gap in the healthcare system – prevention of lifestyle disease – and to reduce the incidence of chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  

2011: Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists – $10,000 

This grant was provided to support the establishment of a voluntary registration system for naturopaths and herbalists in Australia.  


The Jacka Foundation offers a range of postgraduate scholarships to natural therapists. Three were awarded in 2015 and enrolled in the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University, which generously offered a 50:50 funding arrangement with JFNT.  In 2020 the first Jacka Foundation scholarship at NICM was awarded.  

Nicole Bijlsma PhD

Title of Research Project 
Environmental Medicine and clinical practice. The role of toxicant and non-ionising radiation electromagnetic field exposure on health outcomes and the ramifications for clinical practice.  


Human exposure to environmental chemicals (toxicants) and non-ionising radiation electromagnetic fields (NIR-EMFs) has increased exponentially over the past four decades and a growing body of evidence suggests that these exposures contribute to many of the chronic diseases typically seen in clinical practice. This project investigated the substantial challenges to the emerging field of environmental medicine, including risk assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients, setting of exposure standards, regulation of toxicants and NIR-EMFs, issues with research methods and evidence, lack of information available to clinicians and health care decision makers, and training in environmental medicine.  

The thesis provides a call to action to upskill all clinicians in environmental exposures and to create a specialty discipline in Environmental Medicine.


Title of Research Project
Environmental Medicine

Nicole’s research initially explored the impact of toxicants on human health. She then conducted a qualitative survey of expert clinicians in the field of environmental medicine to identify how they test and treat patients with complex chronic illnesses arising from long term exposure to environmental toxicants. The outcome of the study revealed (amongst other things) that an exposure history tool was the most important clinical tool. She then conducted a double blind, cross over randomised control trial investigating the impact of radio frequencies on healthy adults’ sleep and brain function.

Publications from the project (past)

Bijlsma, N., Kennedy, G., Conduit, R. & Cohen, M. 2022. Ambient Radiofrequency Radiation and Sleep in Healthy Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Pilot Study.

Bijlsma N, 2020. ‘Environmental Medicine’ in Hechtman L, Advanced Clinical Naturopathic Medicine, Chapter 2. Elsevier.

Bijlsma N, Cohen MM, 2018. Expert clinician’s perspectives on environmental medicine and toxicant assessment in clinical practice. Environ Health Prev Med. 23:19. Available at:

Bijlsma, N and Cohen MM. (2016). Environmental chemical assessment in clinical practice – Unveiling the elephant in the room. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(2):181. Available at:

Lauren Burns PhD

Jacka Foundation Training Scholarship

Title of Research Project
Lifestyle Strategies and Elite Performance

The following story about Lauren and her project appeared in the 2019 edition of RMIT’s donor magazine Impact: Golden opportunity: from Olympic medallist to PhD researcher. 

Publications derived from the Project 

Burns L, Weissensteiner J, Cohen M, & Bird S (2022). A survey of elite and pre-elite athletes’ perceptions of key support, lifestyle and performance factors. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Burns L, Weissensteiner JR, Cohen M, 2019. Supportive interpersonal relationships: a key component to high-performance sport. Br J Sports Med 0:1–4. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100312 

The above 2019 publication earned the RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Research Impact – Higher Degree by Research in 2019. 

Burns L, Weissensteiner JR, Cohen M, 2018. Lifestyles and mindsets of Olympic, Paralympic and world champions: is an integrated approach the key to elite performance? Br J Sports Med 0:1–8. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-099217

Dr Joy Hussein PhD

Judy Jacka Scholarship for Doctoral Research

Title of Research Project  
Study of Whole Body Thermotherapy (Dry Sauna) in Human Health and Wellness 

Worldwide many people sauna-bathe routinely for reported health benefits but the medical evidence to support these practices has not been well established. Repeated sauna bathing, or whole-body thermotherapy, involving short-term exposures to elevated environmental temperatures with or without increased humidity levels leads to physiologic responses that involve increased sweating and likely hormetic stress-related metabolic responses that may be developed for clinical applications. 
Publications from the project 
Hussain, J.N., Cohen, M.M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Full text available at: 

Hussain, J. N., Mantri, N., & Cohen, M. M. (2017). Working Up a Good Sweat – The Challenges of Standardising Sweat Collection for Metabolomics Analysis. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, 38(1), 13–34. Full text available at: 

Jacka Foundation Scholarship at NICM
Alison Maunder is in the final stages of completing a PhD on ‘The role of naturopathy in the management of women with diminished ovarian reserve’.

Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) is the loss of normal reproductive potential in the ovaries due to a lower count or quality of the remaining eggs. DOR is a growing issue for fertility as couples delay their child-bearing years which can directly reduce reproductive potential of women with DOR. Optimal management of DOR remains unclear with no significantly beneficial medical interventions being proposed. Despite high use of naturopathy by women seeking pregnancy, there is very limited evidence for the efficacy and safety of naturopathy for women with DOR.

Alison’s PhD research project will investigate the use of naturopaths by women with DOR and their experiences, the treatment patterns of naturopaths in their management of women with DOR, and finally, the effectiveness and safety of a naturopathic treatment option for women with DOR.

Applications for JFNT scholarships are currently closed. The next round of scholarships will be advised on this website when open for application.

Scholarships Available at Other instituations

Postgraduate scholarships for CAM research are available at several Australian universities.

National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), WSU

NICM and Blackmores Institute Scholarships

UTS/ARCCIM PhD Scholarships

RMIT University School of Health and Biomedical Sciences