At DRWA, our purpose is to:

  1. Fund and advance research for the prevention, control and cure of all forms of diabetes.
  2. Support scholarships, fellowships or travel grants for the purpose of promoting diabetes research.
  3. Raise funds to support the above.

Spearheading research that’s changing lives.

Diabetes Research WA, or DRWA, was established with a vision to fund and advance research for the prevention, control and cure of all forms of diabetes. Since our formation in 1976 our generous donors have contributed $26 million towards diabetes research programs that are undertaken right here in Western Australia.

We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most esteemed diabetes researchers in Western Australia, leading the way in the development of diabetes treatments and new preventative measures. At DRWA we are intensely passionate about the work our researchers do and are confident we are closer to finding the solutions to diabetes.

Our Researchers

The Diabetes Research WA journey

Diabetes Research WA (DRWA) was formed in 1976 with a purpose of stimulating research into all aspects of diabetes in Western Australia and, in particular, to finding a cure to this chronic and complex disease.

In 1978 DRWA awarded the first research grants with $8,200 in funding given to the following four projects or areas of interest:

  1. The Busselton Health Survey.
  2. Rapid testing of blood glucose.
  3. The development of coated oral insulin.
  4. Vascular disease computing equipment.

Some of these research themes were continued over the next ten years along with research at the Lion’s Eye Institute. Studies into sexual dysfunction in men with diabetes, trials of insulin pumps, research into diabetes mellitus and thyroid disease, and the epidemiological study of diabetes in Australia were added to the broadening DRWA portfolio and by the 1990s genetic and insulin study themes had emerged in WA.

Diabetes Research and DRWA provided additional support for research through the Diabetes Australia Research Trust but by the end of the 1990s, a more focused approach was needed. A team of passionate individuals joined forces with the goal of establishing a purpose-built WA centre that would bring type 1 diabetes research under the one roof. In less than 12 months $2.3m had been raised and the Centre for Diabetes Research was formed; a remarkable collaboration between DRWA, The University of Western Australia, the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (now The Perkins Institute), Diabetes WA and multiple corporate and individual donors. Under the leadership of Professor Grant Morahan, the initial $2.3m has now leveraged to bring in more than $17m of competitive grant funding for diabetes research and equipment.

In our early days financial support was provided by individuals and trusts, corporate sponsors, property, ‘donathons’ (Telethon and regional radio initiatives), Lotterywest (for research equipment) and the WA Government. Over 45 years the DRWA group (including the Centre for Diabetes Research) has enabled  more than $26m towards diabetes research in Western Australia – an achievement we take immense pride in.

DRWA now awards research projects on an annual basis with projects varying in funding from $60,000 to $80,000. Projects we have awarded over the past 10 years include:

  • Identifying the genes responsible for developing diabetes.
  • Developing insulin-producing cells.
  • Understanding how retinopathy (blindness) develops.
  • Investigating memory loss and type 2 diabetes.
  • Developing novel treatments diabetes and obesity.
  • Understanding the psychological impact of living with diabetes.
  • Preventing complications of diabetes developing.
  • Exploring sunlight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Therapeutic treatments for diabetes.
  • Use of artificial intelligence in retinopathy screening.
  • Preserving insulin producing cells following kidney transplants.
  • Identifying children at risk of type 1 diabetes to find ways to prevent or delay it.
  • Preventing heart attack in those with type 2 diabetes.
  • Improved testing of gestational diabetes for rural and remote women.
  • Trial of oral insulin as an adjunct therapy.
  • Intercepting cell inflammation which leads to serious diabetes associated complications.

Diabetes is a disease that touches people all over the world. There is little doubt that over the past 100 years research has considerably improved our understanding of diabetes. Treatment and management have also been made easier with better delivery systems such as pens and pumps but, more importantly, we are closer to finding a cure. The collaborative nature of research undertaken in right here in Western Australia ensures the outcomes we achieve are not only shared locally but around the world.

Your support directly leads to our discoveries.

Our researchers are global leaders in their field, but none of their projects would be possible without the support of our incredible donors. Donate to DRWA research projects today.