We are powered by many big hearts & brains that volunteer time, money & services.
As a result, we’re able to put 100% of tax-deductible donations towards our brain matters projects. Our expenses are covered by our RCDF events which, after expenses are covered, also fund these fantastic brain projects. Here is the impact you’ve made.

RCD Fund Icons

As of January 2024

$15 million

Impact dollars raised


$11 million

Sourced for the cause


mRNA Vaccine Gives Hope to Children with Brain Cancer

The Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation has partnered with The University of Queensland and is committing over $1.2 million to  develop a brain cancer vaccine. With in-kind support from the University, and a total project investment of approximately $2.4 million over a three year period, it is the first of its kind to apply this cutting edge technology to treat paediatric brain cancer.

More about the project

The Gideon Gratzer PhD Scholarhip

$90,000 over 3 years

The PhD project funded by GIDEON GRATZER family, aims to identify and validate new druggable targets for paediatric HHGs. It focuses on a biological molecule that allows damaged cells and those with genetic changes which would normally be destroyed and removed from the normal population to survive and become cancerous. By stopping the action of this molecule, we can potentially prevent tumour growth, also allow those tumour cells to undergo the natural programmed cell death. In its second year, it has already confirmed the role of this molecule in paediatric tumour cell lines.

The Grace Money Molecular Oncology Grant

Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

$196,278 over 2 years

Together with the GRACE MONEY family, we are supporting a molecular oncologist position at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. This funding allows brain tumours to be accurately classified according to their genetic signature, which, in some cases, influences treatment options. It also advances research into more precise, individualised treatments for children with solid and/or brain tumours. As a direct result of funding this position, the RCH will increase its participation in brain cancer and/or solid tumour paediatric and adolescent clinical trials beyond the trials currently open.

The Alfie Chivers Project

Hudson Institute of Medical Research

$462,266 for two fellowships over 4 years

In memory of Alfie Chivers, and in collaboration with the Chivers family, RCD funded a research fellow at the Hudson Medical Institute to characterise and screen a cohort of over 30 childhood high grade glioma models for new therapeutic targets, as part of a large international collaboration with the Children’s Brain Tumour Network (CBTN) and other groups. Already, in the first two years, this project has yielded significant discoveries, with a number of druggable targets identified, specific to childhood brain tumours as compared to adult brain cancers. Next steps are validating these effects in animal models before progressing into human trials for which a second fellowship has now been funded for another two years.

CERN Robert Connor Dawes Fellowship Scientific Fellowship

US $200,000 (RCD $100,000) 2 years per fellowship

We now proudly congratulate the 2022 Fellowship recipient, Dr Kendra Maass, based at the Hopp Children’s Tumor Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). She is studying the cellular transport pathways in which Ependymoma cancer cells can spread via the blood to other sites in the body. By better understanding and characterising the role of extracellular vesicles in Ependymoma metastases, Dr Maass hopes to identify points in the transport pathway which can be targeted to stop the spread of the cancerous cells.





Clinical Trials

Australian & New Zealand Children’s Haemotology / Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) & Australian Brain Cancer Mission (ABCM)

$10 million over 5 years

We have joined forces with the Financial Markets Foundation for Children (FMFFC), the Australian Federal Government, and Carries’ Beanies 4 Brain Cancer (CB4BC) to pledge a total of $10 million over five years for paediatric brain cancer clinical trials.

We have committed to $1.25 million over five years. with funds going towards the Australian Brain Cancer Mission (ABCM) and The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) to help accelerate and participate in global trials to help build Australian infrastructure across the nine Australian children’s hospitals, allowing kids around the country equal access to paediatric brain cancer trials.

AIM Brain Project

Australian & New Zealand Children’s Haemotology / Oncology Group (ANZCHOG)

$2 million total investment (RCDF $333,000) over 3 years + now a further $300,000 to translate.

Our foundation has partnered with the Federal Government and Carries Beanies 4 Brain Cancer to validate new diagnostic test for patients with brain cancer, that changes the diagnosis and treatment in up to 20% of cases.

More about the project

Robert Connor Dawes Research Program

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI)

$500 000 over 5 years

Headed up by Dr. Misty Jenkins (pictured) the program will investigate how immunotherapy – treatments that harness the body’s own immune system to fight their cancer – can be tailored to treat paediatric brain cancer.


More about the program

Listen to Liz talk with the brightest researchers in brain cancer here


Monash Children’s Cancer Centre

$50,000 / 12 months

This year RCD became a funding partner of the COllaborative Network for Neuro-oncology Clinical Trials. Involving nineteen hospitals and institutions across Australia, North America and Europe, CONNECT, conducts clinical trials in high-risk paediatric brain tumours to investigate combinations of novel drugs with traditional therapies. It provides a unique, agile platform for basic science discoveries to be rapidly tested around the globe. As a funder, we contribute to enabling infrastructure, ensuring participation from Australia and America and the evolution of an operational framework meeting theunmet needs across the globe.

Robert Connor Dawes CERN Fellowship

Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN)

$120 000 over 2 years

In partnership with our US charity, $30,000/year from each and CERN,  the best and brightest will be selected for this coveted Fellowship investigating Ependymoma.

More about the project.


Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

$40,000 over two years

Tumour tissue samples are vital to understanding how paediatric brain cancers occur, spread and how to treat them, especially given the differences between the types and heterogeneity even within a single tumour type and individual patient. RCD continues to contribute funding to the Children’s Cancer Centre Tissue Bank based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute which collects tissues from patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital for research purposes. Samples are shared with other research institutions locally, nationally and internationally to facilitate more than 20 projects.

Zero Childhood Cancer Program

Children’s Cancer Institute Australia

$100 000 over 3 years

Personalised medicine is literally the cutting edge of cancer treatment. Through new discoveries about how DNA and cancer are linked, individually targeted therapies can be investigated for each child.

All big things have small beginnings

Music Matters Grants /  RCD Foundation  /  $250 000 (to date)

Providing patients throughout Australia (referred via various children’s hospital referral program) with accredited music therapy at home to help the heart sing and the mind heal.

Travel Grants /  RCD Foundation  / $135,355

Giving young researchers an opportunity to attend and present at important national and international industry conferences. LEARN MORE HERE

DIPG Collaborate / $27,300

RCD is an active member of the DIPG Collaborate, Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN) and Children’s Brain Tumour Network (CBTN). RCD represents the Australian funding community, stays abreast of the latest research, participates in funding and determining proprieties.

Industry Collaboration & Awareness Activities /   $80 000

Sponsoring conferences and seminars that gather the industry’s best minds and put the spotlight on brain tumour projects. This enables collaboration and begins forming a platform for the industry to form a plan for paediatric brain cancer.

Pippa’s Trust DIPG326, Royal Children’s Hospital/CIKA / $75 000

Assisting RCH’s brain cancer tissue bank. This donation is in memory of Pippa Rea with generous support from her family and friends.



Radiology Videographer /  Patient Care Equipment / Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre /  $40 000

As part of care support, we’re increasing the radiology resources at Peter Mac to expand the patient video program. Including funding virtual reality technology to help prepare young patients for treatment. Learn more

Telethon Kids Cancer Centre Research Project (co-funding) $50 000

The Ion Channel Drugs for the Treatment of Aggressive Childhood Brain Tumours project, led by Professor Terry Johns, grew out of the Institute’s innovative Blue Sky program – a project aimed at encouraging high-risk high-reward research.

CERN International Study /  RCD Foundation  /  $40 000

Researchers in the risk factors associated with developing ependymoma
Read more about the Risk Project

Ependymoma Classification Project (co-funding) / Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne /  $10 000

The project involves further research into classifying different types of ependymomas and looking at empirical treatment data.  The science of genetic sequencing of the tumours  is improving and this can allow for better matching of treatment programs based on an individual’s tumour classification. This is a collaboration with Sick Kids Foundation Toronto.

ABI Outpatient Music Therapy + Music Equipment /  Monash Institute /  $10 000 + $2 500

A new pilot program offering support for outpatients being treated for an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Additional funds have been provided to upgrade the equipment used in music therapy.

Synchrotron Brain Tumour Study /  Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre /  $25 000

An exploration into whether brain tumours could be  better treated and have less long-term side effects by using synchrotron radiotherapy.

University of Wisconsin  / Connor’s Erg Challenge / $18 000

Neurological Surgery Brain Tumour Research and Education Fund, including work on Brain Painting and Immunotherapy

Stanford University  / Connor’s Erg Challenge / $25 000

Michelle Monje’s DIPG Research

Working Together

We’ve always said it’s better with more brains on the job. That’s why we’re collaborating with the two largest children’s cancer charities in Australia, the Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Kids’ Cancer Project Sydney, on key paediatric brain cancer projects.

Become a Keeper

Think of the things we could achieve in a long-term relationship! For as little as $10 per month you can become a regular donor to the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation and make a real difference for kids facing brain cancer. Find out more about becoming a Keeper.