The Queensland Sexual Health Research Fund provides seed funding for translation research to assist in improving the delivery of sexual health services, and support implementation of the Queensland Sexual Health Strategy 2016-21 (Queensland Sexual Health Framework from 2022) and its associated action plans.

ASHM is pleased to administer this Fund on behalf of the Department of Health.


Funding amounts 

Approximately $500,000 is available for disbursement through the Fund for Round Four. Consideration will be given to grants of up to $100,000 (including GST) as well as smaller-scale grants.



We are pleased to open Round Four of the Sexual Health Research Fund from 15 November 2021, and we invite applications in alignment with the round priorities outlined below.

Translational research proposals must demonstrate partnership arrangements with relevant service providers in a range of sectors including health, education, and social services.

Preference will be given to innovative proposals which add to the body of knowledge and have direct relevance to enhancing service delivery in Queensland.

Novel research proposals which do not meet the priorities but do align with the Queensland Sexual Health Strategy 2016 – 2021 (Queensland Sexual Health Framework from 2022) are encouraged and eligible for submission. Submissions from early career researchers are welcomed and may receive priority consideration.

Round Four will close on Friday 15 April 2022.


Strategies and Priorities  

The Sexual Health Ministerial Advisory Committee Research Sub-Committee assess and recommend applications for translational research which align with the priorities of the Strategy and associated action plans, noting that the Queensland Sexual Health Framework will be launched in December 2021 and will replace the Strategy from 2022.


Round Four priorities
  • Research on barriers to sexual health prevention measures, screening activities, and early interventions in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in North Queensland.
  • Feasibility and/or acceptability research into periodic presumptive population-based treatment of asymptomatic and symptomatic STIs among young sexually active people as a model of prevention and treatment service delivery.
    • Research is to focus on communities where there may be poor access to healthcare and/or there is acknowledged to be high risk and high probability of infection.
    • Proposals should clearly identify and address key components of this model of care, such as potential service provider partnerships and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Research exploring drivers around blood-borne virus and STI disease burden experienced by older people, with particular foci on Hep B, Hep C, HIV and infectious syphilis.
    • Research may investigate sector knowledge levels, sexual health literacy levels, engagement with testing/treatment, and knowledge and utilisation of prevention measures, with a view to informing prevention approaches and improvements to models of care.
  • Underpinning research exploring determinants of health and behavioural norms which may be contributing to the presence and spread of the current syphilis epidemic, to further inform prevention approaches.
  • Research in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse populations with separate foci on refugee populations and migrant populations more generally. Research may target the following areas:
    • Country of birth-specific epidemiological data on STIs to inform sexual health promotion/prevention programs
    • Effective sexual health service models
    • Qualitative research and further analysis of existing data
    • Effective approaches to reduce stigma around sexual health within Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, including peer-led and/or community-led interventions



Successful applications

The Sexual Health Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Department of Health are pleased to support the research efforts of the grant recipients from Rounds One, Two and Three:


Lead investigator: Clare Nourse

Project title: Management of syphilis in pregnant women and their newborn infants in Queensland 2014-2018: assessment and recommendations to optimise management and outcomes.

Project description:

This project aims to identify gaps and potential barriers to optimise management of syphilis, and will use this information to make recommendations to improve practice and optimise prevention of congenital syphilis.

Lead investigator: Amy Mullens

Project title: Increasing capacity and capability of GPs to provide Hepatitis B testing and follow-up management for Chinese and Vietnamese community members.

Project description:

This project aims to assess current practices, clinical pathways, and resources available for hepatitis B testing and follow-up; as well as develop frameworks for a culturally responsive pilot program to ensure that patients and doctors are aware of, and uptake, these best practices. 

Lead investigator: Lisa Fitzgerald

Project title: Investigating sexual health trajectories of gender variant/sexually diverse young people to inform and enhance clinical pathways and care

Project description:

This project aims to assess current practices, clinical pathways, and resources available for hepatitis B testing and follow-up; as well as develop frameworks for a culturally responsive pilot program to ensure that patients and doctors are aware of, and uptake, these best practices. 

This project investigates the sexual health experiences and needs of gender variant, sexually diverse young people (GVSDYP) as well as their health trajectories to examine the role of personal communities in GVSDYP's health and wellbeing.

Lead investigator: A/Prof David Whiley

Project title: Precision public health for enhanced syphilis management in Queensland

Project description:  Project aims to understand social and sexual networks driving infections, allowing for optimisation of precision and timeliness of interventions.

Lead investigator: Adina Piovesana

Project title: Enhancing pathways, workforce and capacity for HAND (HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders) assessment for people living with HIV (PLHIV) throughout Qld-including regional

Project description: Project aims to develop and improve referral pathways (including through the development of workforce development resources) and capacity for HAND-screening assessments.

Lead investigator: Judith Dean

Project title: GoLoCypro: Titrating lowest effective dose of cyproterone acetate for treatment of transgender and gender diverse people who request feminising hormones

Project description: Project aims to determine minimum effective dose (and identify a dose response gradient) to suppress testosterone production, leading to reduced side effects for people transitioning using androgen blockers.

Lead investigator: Jo Durham

Project title: Reducing disparities for Australian culturally and linguistically diverse overseas-born people in relation to sexual health and blood-borne viruses: Queensland sub-study

Project description: To develop recommendations for health promotion and public health initiatives that seek to improve STI and BBV outcomes for Queensland CaLD overseas-born people

Lead investigator: Judith Dean

Project title: Sexual and Reproductive Health Literacy of Young Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Queenslanders.

Project description:

Explores sexual health and reproductive health literacy (SRHL), attitudes, beliefs, and practices of culturally and linguistically diverse young people (CALDYP) with the aim to use findings to develop a health promotion strategy to improve and promote healthy sex-positive sexual and reproductive health conversations.

Lead investigator: Andrew Smirnov

Project title: Enhancing harm reduction services (BBV and STI) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who inject drugs through improved engagement.

Project description:

Seeks to support development of accessible, culturally appropriate and responsive harm reduction services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who inject drugs (PWID), to reduce HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis infection and transmission in these population groups.

Lead investigator: Lisa Fitzgerald

Project title: Exploring the relationship between HIV literacy, risks, and networks of newly arrived Asian-born gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Project description:

Seeks to outline the role that social and sexual networks play in the development of sexual health literacy among newly arrived Asian-born gay and bisexual men in QLD, and how community-base providers can navigate these networks to develop interventions to improve HIV literacy and reduce HIV risks.

Lead investigator: Joanne Durham

Project title: Co-design of a Health Literacy Framework (CALD): Supporting sexual health providers meet the needs of CALD young people.

Project description:

Seeks to establish the first baseline of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young peoples’ sexual health literacy and co-design an acceptable Health Literacy Framework to implement across Queensland to strengthen engagement with CALD youth, support their health literacy, e-health literacy, and sexual health literacy, and enable them to have sex-positive conversations.