Establishing a career in medical research is no easy feat. Despite holding numerous degrees and having extensive practical experience, researchers can find it difficult to gain support, both financial and professional, in the early stages of their career.

The long hours, the hard work, and the financial constraints – there are so many reasons why someone might decide a PhD is not worth the sacrifice. Yet, each year brilliant young doctors, nurses and scientists apply to undertake a PhD, and rely on scholarships to commit to their further studies.

Heart Research Australia’s PhD scholarships play an integral role in nurturing and developing some of Australia’s most promising heart scientists. They enable our senior researchers to recruit brilliant students into their teams and give PhD students the support needed to set them on the course for stellar careers in medical research.

According to senior researcher, cardiologist and PhD supervisor, Professor Gemma Figtree, the scholarship program is one reason why the North Shore Hospital campus has such a vibrant community of researchers.

“Heart Research Australia’s scholarships are absolutely essential to the PhD students who get them,” says Gemma, “These individuals are giving up a lot to commit themselves to a career in high level research. The fact is, they could earn more money doing other things, but they want to do this. They want to research and learn. They want to make a difference.”

Our PhD scholarship program couples fledging researchers with our world-class, senior researchers, and provides students with financial support while their supervisors give them professional resources, guidance and the opportunity to learn from leading cardiologists and researchers.

With this financial and professional support, young researchers are then set on a trajectory for a long and remarkable research career. “During the PhD program, each individual becomes an expert in their focussed research area. Their discoveries often make significant contributions to their fields,” says Gemma.

Monica Rückholdt, one of our PhD scholarship recipients, is currently evaluating the effect of hospitalisation on family members’ psychological, behavioural and physiological cardiovascular risk factors.

While studies have identified increased anxiety, depression, anger and sleep disturbance among family members, little is known about the impact that this stress can have on our cardiovascular health. Monica believes this study will demonstrate an “interconnectedness of health” between patients and their family, and will recognise that family members have a therapeutic impact on patients, something which is not often recognised in a traditional clinical setting.

With your support, emerging researchers like Monica will continue to be mentored and supported by some of the world’s leading cardiologists and researchers.

Please consider making a generous tax-deductible donation today, or best yet, become a Heart Hero by signing up to make small, regular donations each month.

Because young, dedicated students need our support if they are going to be responsible for the medical breakthroughs of the future.