Scholarships & Awards

Pancare Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarship opportunities for talented researchers to pursue full-time research at varying stages in their career. This is generally possible through the generosity of Pancare friends and supporters, aided at times by industry professionals.

Pancare Foundation provides various prizes at times with the aim of supporting researchers.  The award is generally used to cover some of the researchers costs of attending and presenting at meetings.

Phil Sly Research Scholarship – Pancare Foundation

This Scholarship was first awarded in 2013. Phil Sly was  an entrepreneur, building developer, racehorse owner, philanthropist and cancer survivor.  He  battled colorectal cancer, liver and lung metastases with the same determination as applied to all aspects of his life.  Phil has been a supported and friend to Pancare Foundation from the beginning and believer in fostering world-class research to improve the management of pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers. This scholarship acknowledges his generosity, passion and inspirational approach to life. The Pancare Foundation offers the Phil Sly research scholarship to support a dedicated PhD candidate to achieve success in important research related to pancreatic, liver, and biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers.

Frequency of award: every 3 – 5 years

Award Recipients:

2013 – Dr Vanessa Chin, Garvan Institute, NSW. Biomarker and Targeted Novel Drug Development in Pancreatic Cancer



RMA Network – Pancare Foundation Scholarship

In 2013, the Pancare Foundation started its partnership with the Rural Marketing Agents (RMA network). The RMA network is established throughout the Eastern and Western states of Australia and aims to provide its members with networking facilities for the marketing of Livestock and Property, and to increase their business skills and management performance. Proceeds raised by the RMA has allowed the formation of scholarship designed to support a researcher undertaking a PhD related to pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers, with preference given to candidates with a rural background and those research projects that have a direct or indirect link to the treatment of regional patients.

Frequency of award: every 3 – 5 years

Award Recipients:

2015 – Dr David Lau, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Institute, LaTrobe University, VIC.
“Novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers in biliary tract and gastric chambers”

Dr David Lau is a qualified medical oncologist enrolled in a PhD at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and La Trobe University.  His current work is centered around sequencing the genome of a panel of biliary tract cancer cell lines to discover new therapeutic targets. In addition, he is examining the new multikinase inhibitor, regorafenib in gastric cancer. He hopes to make steady progress and is thankful to the RMA Network and Pancare for the Scholarship to progress his studies.



Moshe Sambor – Pancare Foundation Scholarship

This award was established in 2015 and has been made possible by Mr Perry Sambor, businessman, advocate of Victoria’s racing industry and Founding director of Live Life Foundation.  This award is in honour of Perry’s late father (Moshe) who battled with stomach cancer.  There are many talented international students wanting to undertake research in Australia that have enormous academic skills, but are unable to because of a lack of financial support for themselves and their intended institutions. This award enables a talented researcher or physician to undertake research in Australia as part of a Doctorate in Philosophy degree, which may go a long way to improving outcomes of patients with pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers.

Frequency of award: every 3 – 5 years

Award Recipients:

2015 – Dr Kai Wang, Austin Health, Heidelberg, VIC.

Dr Kai Wang is a medical doctor form Zhejiang University in China.  He has excelled in the field of medicine and was granted a PhD position by the University of Melbourne, commencing October 2015.  The Moshe Sambor scholarship has provided the required funds needed for him to undertake 3 years of full-time research, including adequate funds for his experimental projects.  His project is focused on Pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest death rates of all cancers, with only about 6% of patients surviving to 5 years after diagnosis. To improve outcomes, there has been interest in therapies that target the genetic changes within the cancer. The p21-activated kinase (PAK) family of proteins appears to be over-activated in pancreatic cancers and are important in cancer growth and spread. Drug therapies that target PAK may significantly improve patient treatment and survival. Dr Wang will investigate the role of PAK in this disease to see if with the use of PAK blocking agents combined with current chemotherapies can improve treatment response and survival.  In addition, he will examine the mechanisms of action involved.



Richard Williams – Pancare Foundation Award

This is a prize awarded at the Australasian Pancreatic Club to the oral presentation judged as most innovative and likely to make the greatest impact to the management of pancreatic cancer by a student, registrar or fellow.

Richard Williams OAM was a devoted husband, respected father, loving grandparent and a man who has been all about helping others. Even when diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in 2013, this was seen as an opportunity to share experiences, increase public awareness and work towards nationally improving the management of pancreatic cancer, by actively supporting Pancare Foundation. His list of life achievements are great and commenced at the early age of 5 years after Richard lost 2 fingers in a lawn-mowing accident and began his charitable work for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Pied Pipers & Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH)
Richard was a founding member of the Pied Pipers Inc. fundraising group for Victoria’s RCH. Formed in 1969 the Pied Pipers Inc. have raised well in excess of $7m (in today’s value some $16m) for RCH.  For 63 consecutive years Richard was involved in the Annual Good Friday Appeal and has organised various groups to help him collect valuable funds. He is an honorary life member of Pied Pipers Inc.

The Smith Family
Richard was involved with The Smith Family in their pre-Christmas delivery of toy and food hampers to needy families for over 20 years.

Life Education Victoria
For 5 years Richard was an active Board member of Life Education Victoria with the primary responsibility to build and re-build the committees throughout metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Life Education is a non-government, not-for-profit Australia-wide business, which visits our Primary Schools and Pre-schools (in Victoria) with large mobile teaching centres to skill our young to make healthy life choices, including drug & alcohol abuse prevention. Life Education works to bring programs into schools to educate children to be able to make informed and safe decisions in their lives (especially around drugs, alcohol and cyber safety).

Order of Australia Association Victoria
For his dedication and efforts over many years Richard was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours day in June 2012. Richard has also served on the Order of Australia Association Victoria Committee.

Tally Ho Fitness Group
Richard has served as the Vice President of this group and active participant for over 20 years. The Tally Ho Fitness Group (THFG) is involved in supporting men’s health and caters for men of all ages, backgrounds and levels of fitness. The THFG numbers in excess of 100 males and is all about camaraderie and fitness.

AFL International Cup: Supported Samoa to participate in International AFL Cup by procuring sponsorship funding and support services.

Commonwealth Games: Hosted international visitors during the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Australian of the Year Award:  Victorian finalist in Senior Australian of the Year 2007.

Olympic Games:  Torch carrier for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Marathons: Competed seven times in the Melbourne Marathon (Best time of 3 hrs 8 mins).

Business: Richard is a certified accountant who has developed several financial planning businesses, helping everyday Australians to achieve their financial goals.

Frequency of award: Yearly ongoing


The 2015 Lord Richard Williams Award went to Dr George Sharbeen

George completed his PhD at the Centenary Institute on the interaction between cell cycle and DNA repair.  In 2012, he joined the Pancreatic Cancer Translational research group UNSW Australia led by Dr Phoebe Phillips studying tubulins as therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer, and in 2014 was awarded a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellowship.

You can view George’s abstract for his work here.


The 2016 Lord Richard Williams Award went to Aleksandra Adamska.

Aleksandra is a PhD student at The Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University where she is studying under the supervision of Prof Marco Falasca. Aleksandra graduated from Wroclaw University of Technology (Wroclaw, Poland) in the field of pharmaceutical biotechnology. She also completed one-year internship at The University of Chicago in the group of Dr. Anthony Kossiakoff. Currently Aleksandra’s interests are focused on the investigation of GPCRs and ABC transporters as potential targets in pancreatic cancer therapy.

You can view Aleksandra’s abstract for her work here.