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Funding Activities

Since its inception in 2010 the Jacka Foundation’s major focus has been the awarding of grants to support research and development in areas relevant to the naturopathy profession. In 2015 the Foundation also began offering scholarships for postgraduate studies.

All monies granted by JFNT to date have been for the purpose of supporting naturopathy and natural therapies in both practice and research. The Foundation is also interested in joint research enterprises involving medical and alternative approaches.

Information for research funding seekers 

In line with our primary mission of supporting research relevant to naturopathy and western herbal medicine (WHM), the following information is provided to help you determine whether your project might attract funding from the Jacka Foundation.

Most of our funding is provided to universities with centres dedicated to complementary and integrative medicine. The Jacka Foundation does not have the resources to deal independently with a large volume of funding applications from diverse sources.

If you are considering the Jacka Foundation as a possible source of funding, the following are our main criteria for assessing whether to fund a project:

  1. Is the project relevant to the professions of naturopathy and/or western herbal medicine? – i.e. the professions or their practices or therapies
  2. Are any of the people conducting the research naturopaths or WHM practitioners? We support the growth of the naturopathy and WHM community of scholars and researchers so preference is generally accorded to projects where the research is being conducted by naturopaths or WHM practitioners, e.g. Masters or PhD candidates or early career researchers
  3. For postgraduate scholarships, go to the scholarships page to check whether applications are currently open https://www.jackafoundation.org.au/scholarships/scholarships


The following outlines current and recent recipients of grants and scholarships.



2021: JFNT announces Funding for “Advancing an Aboriginal Pain Remedy” - $40,000

On February 1st 2021, the Board of the Jacka Foundation of Natural Therapies announced a $40,000 grant to Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Community in partnership with Griffith University.  The grant will support further significant work in advancing the acceptance and opportunities for Australian Indigenous medicine into the future.  

Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Community (JBAC) and Griffith University jointly presented a novel opportunity to support the development of an indigenous sourced, over-the-counter pain medication based on an Australian Aboriginal traditional herbal remedy. The Nyikina-Mangala peoples of the Kimberley region of WA have used the plant for millennia to treat serious pain from puncture wounds, cuts and sores. 

If this long running project is successful, it may establish a pathway for further opportunities for scientifically validated indigenous materials to succeed, where ownership mainly resides in, and helps the support growth of,  indigenous communities. 


2020: The Victorian Foundation of Survivors of Torture (VFST) - $39,000
December 2020

We are supporting an evaluation of the longstanding Complementary Therapies (CT) program at the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture (VFST), or Foundation House, as it is known. The mission of Foundation House is to advance the health, wellbeing and human rights of people from refugee backgrounds who have experienced torture or other traumatic events. The modalities employed by the CT team include herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, dietary therapies, massage, shiatsu and yoga. JFNT’s funding will be used for a developmental evaluation project with the CT team. The project will both look at outcomes for clients receiving CT, and design an individualised assessment and monitoring tool which will enable ongoing recording of treatment goals and outcomes to be incorporated into the existing client database.


2019: NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University

The Jacka Foundation pledged six million dollars to NICM Health Research Institute for research into complementary and integrative medicine. The funding augments the original 2015 Endowment and consists of $400,000 per year for 15 years from July 2019.

The new funding agreement supports research in complementary and integrative medicine, the Jacka Foundation PhD scholarship for a candidate with a naturopathic background, and the Jacka Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. It also contributes to the position of the Jacka Foundation Senior Research Fellow (Inaugural Fellow Dr Carolyn Ee), and the development of the new Jacka Foundation Conference Centre in the NICM building at WSU’s Westmead campus. The conference centre will become a hub for the exchange of information, research and best practice in complementary and integrative medicine, and facilitate NICM’s reach to a global audience.

Signing Pledge

Judy Jacka and Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor WSU, sign the new pledge in October 2018


group at signing

Jacka Foundation Board members with Dr Penny Caldicott at the signing of the new Pledge.
L-R: Sandra Dillon (Secretary/Treasurer), Terri Albert (Chair), Dr Penny Caldicott (President AIMA), Dr Pauline McCabe (Director), Dr Judy Jacka (Vice-Chair and Hon Fellow WSU)


Alan Bensoussan

Professor Alan Bensoussan, Director NICM Health Research Institute

Carolyn Ee

Dr Carolyn Ee, the Inaugural Jacka Foundation Senior Research Fellow


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

In 2015 JFNT made an important grant of $45,000 to ARCCIM at UTS to enable the establishment of a world-first international Naturopathy Research and Leadership mentoring program. $15,000 covered a series of research seminars plus networking activities to help identify potential applicants. Over 40 applications were received from around the world and eleven Research Fellows were competitively selected. The remaining $30,000 funded the first year of the program which included bringing the Fellows to Sydney for a one week residential program.

2016 to present: ARCCIM - Ongoing support for Research Mentoring and Leadership program - $30,000 per annum


The Fellows receive mentoring from senior, highly published researchers and also collaborate with each other to identify and carry out research projects. Writing and publication skills are further developed. Each Fellowship includes travel and accommodation allowances for attendance at an annual four day residential program at UTS in Sydney, plus ongoing mentoring and collaboration.

2017-2021: ARCCIM - $50,000 per year to support the work of ARCCIM and Professor Jon Adams in researching the natural therapy professions in Australia, and their potential in reducing the burden of chronic disease. 

2015: National Institute of Complementary Medicine - $2 million dollars over four years


In recent years the Foundation’s major philanthropic effort has been to support the work of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), based at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). The funding supports academic leadership and promotes research into natural therapies.

NICM has put in place processes for the establishment of the Jacka Foundation Chair of Integrative Medicine Research, a milestone for natural medicine in Australia. Research led by the Chair will contribute to judicious use of complementary medicine and better integration into conventional care. It will contribute data on safety, quality and efficacy of interventions and provide greater guidance to consumers.

2015: Lifestyle
 Initiative - $60,000


The Lifestyle Initiative is an online comprehensive lifestyle change program It will be available to health practitioners for their patients and directly to the public, and people will be able to enrol in the program and track their progress online. This initiative will address a major gap in the healthcare system - prevention of lifestyle disease - and aims 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. 


In 2015 the Jacka Foundation awarded three postgraduate scholarships. All students are enrolled in the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University, which generously offered a 50:50 funding arrangement with JFNT. The recipients and their projects are:

  1. The Judy Jacka Scholarship for Doctoral Research was awarded to Dr Joy Hussein MD for a PhD project titled Repeated Sauna Therapy – investigating the benefits, risks, and potential mechanisms of action in terms of health, wellness, and its effects on bioaccumulated levels of environmental toxicants/ xenobiotics in humans using metabolomics analysis.
  2. The Alf Jacka Postgraduate Research Scholarship was awarded to Ms Nicole Bijlsma for a Masters degree project titled Environmental Chemical Assessment in Clinical Practice: Uncloaking the elephant in the room.
  3. The Jacka Foundation Research Training Scholarship was awarded to Ms Lauren Burns for her project Investigating the effects of pesticides on human neurocognitive function and physiological performance.

Update 2018-2019

Dr Joy Hussein

Joy Hussein

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

PhD Abstract
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 derived 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: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/aip/1857413/

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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548369/


Nicole Bijlsma – PhD Candidate (Masters converted to PhD 2017)

Nicola Bijlsma

Title of Research Project (revised)
Environmental Medicine

PhD Abstract
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 derived from the Project

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: https://environhealthprevmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12199-018-0709-0

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: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/2/181


Lauren Burns – PhD Candidate (Masters converted to PhD 2017)

Lauren Burns

Title of Research Project (revised)
Lifestyle Strategies and Elite Performance

Overview of Research Project

The project consists of two major components:

1. Lifestyle Practices of Elite Athletes (completed interviews)
Ten world, olympic and paralympic champions were interviewed about their lifestyle practices. The results have shown emergent themes in 3 main areas:
Psychological Aspects (intrinsic motivation, work ethic, dominance and visualisation), Lifestyle and Performance Strategies, and Interpersonal Relationships.

2. Clinical research on the effect of organic food and herbal beverages on human neurocognitive function, performance and metabolism.

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. https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2019/jun/lauren-burns-olympic-medallist

Publications derived from the Project

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

This publication earned the RMIT Vice-Chancellor's Prize for Research Impact - Higher Degree by Research in 2019 - Well done Lauren!

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 


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 Institutions

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

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