Asthma Australia is inviting applications for our new Translation/Advocacy Grant which aims to improve lives of people with asthma who are at risk due to landscape fire smoke exposure.

Poor air quality has a significant impact on people living with asthma and can worsen the symptoms of asthma. The recent 2019-20 Australian bushfires highlighted the devastating impact of sustained poor air quality on all Australians, but particularly those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Asthma Australia’s Smoke Impact Survey of more than 12,000 people found that of the respondents with asthma, almost all (93.6%) experienced symptoms as a result of the bushfire smoke.1 People with asthma were 4 times more likely to attend Emergency Departments or be hospitalised and 7 times more likely to report systemic steroid use due to a flare up, than respondents without asthma.

Despite their best efforts, participants described how the smoke was unavoidable and often out of their personal control. Participants reported the many challenges faced to minimise their exposure to smoke including lack of information about air quality to make informed decisions, financial burden of taking preventive actions, access to and appropriate use of masks, and lack of clear guidelines or policies in workplaces and schools.

As the climate crisis intensifies, natural disasters, such as bushfires and related smoke haze events, are anticipated to become more frequent and prolonged.

Aligned with Asthma Australia’s strategic research priority of ‘Environmental Impact on Asthma’, we are committed to investing in research that promises to change the lives of people with asthma who are or may be affected by landscape fire smoke.

About the Translation Grant

The purpose of this grant is to fund work which translates existing, high quality evidence into policy or practice change. It must include activities which seek to translate research into policy or practice via appropriate consultation, benchmarking, evidence synthesis, engagement and implementation which aims to result in demonstrable impact.

This could include research which demonstrates the feasibility, replicability, effectiveness, scalability and/or cost effectiveness of a public health intervention or strategy which will protect people with asthma from harm during periods of smoke pollution.

This grant is not available for proof-of-concept or new research experiments/investigations.

Asthma Australia will work with the successful applicant to advocate for policy or practice change, where relevant.

Examples of areas of established evidence which we believe may be ready to be translated into policy and/or practice include these recommendations taken from Asthma Australia’s air quality policy platform:

Recommendation Example 
Implementation of indoor portable air cleaners for use during prolonged periods of poor air quality. This may include research which delivers an implementation model for the subsidisation or distribution of portable air cleaners during extenuating smoke pollution circumstances.
Evidence-based health promotion messaging during periods of poor air quality. This may include synthesis of existing evidence and co-design of evidence-based messaging for dissemination by state and federal health departments. It might also include a focus on messaging for vulnerable populations.
The distribution and mobilisation of air quality monitors during periods of poor air quality This might include an implementation model for the distribution and use of mobile and/or low-cost sensors locally during periods of poor air quality to enable community action and exposure minimisation. reduce health impacts.
Improvements to housing or public buildings to protect people from air pollution and during periods of poor air quality. This might aim to simulate design adaptations or building remediation and its integration in public housing planning.

Applicants are not required to answer the above questions, they are provided as examples only.

Information for applicants

Interested applicants are requested to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to confirm their project idea is eligible for this funding. Eligible projects will be invited to submit a full application.

Please submit EOIs and applications to research@asthma.org.au
Grant Type Translation research grant
Priority Area Environmental impact – landscape fire smoke
Location National
Amount Available $150,000 (up to 2 years)
Eligibility See Translation Grant Guide for Applicants
Application dates 

No late applications accepted

EOI Applications open: 16th July

EOI Application close: 6th August

Full applications open: As soon as EOI approved

Full applications close: 10th September

Relevant documents Translation Grant EOI form

Translation Grant Full Application form

Consumer Review Form

Translation Grant: Guide for applicants

Asthma Australia’s Smoke Impact Survey

Any questions please contact research@asthma.org.au