In July 2016, AAG was notified of a bequest of over $1 million dollars from the estate of William Peter Steele Nicholson. Mr Nicolson's wish was that the funds be used to further research in ageing. This is the largest bequest to date received by AAG.
Following legal advice, the AAG Board approved the establishment of a separate entity called the Australian Association of Gerontology Research Trust (AAG Research Trust). The AAG Research Trust is structured as a public ancillary fund with deductible gift recipient (GDR) two status. This means that all donations of $2 and over are tax deductible. AAG is the Corporate Trustee of the AAG Research Trust, and, as such, the AAG board has separate responsibilities to meet the requirements set out in the Trust Deed of the AAG Research Trust. The first meeting of the directors of the corporate trustee was held on 5 November 2016.
The Trust has been registered with the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission.
In June 2017, AAG approved the move of $454,000 funds of the RM Gibson Research Fund (previously held within a separate account within AAG) into the AAG Research Trust. Now known as The RM Gibson Program, this funding continues to support early researchers to further their careers in gerontological research through its annual grants program.
In June 2018, a new program called Strategic Research Grants (now Strategic Innovation Program) was made possible through the Nicolson bequest. The first funding round for the Strategic Innovation Program was made available in August 2018.
In April 2019, the AAG Research Trust received a donation of $730,000 for the establishment of the Hal Kendig Research Development Program, from the family of Emeritus Professor Kendig, who passed away in June 2018. Professor Kendig was a leader and a powerful influence in shaping a national and international discourse on ageing, as well as a great advocate for the needs of older people, and was an Honorary Life Member of AAG. This program reflects Hal's many outstanding contributions, as well as his wish to continue to support early career researchers in their pursuit of research excellence. The inaugural funding round of the Hal Kendig Research Development Program opened in June 2019.
AAG and AAG Research Trust acknowledge with sincere gratitude the generosity of these bequests, and are proud to manage these funds in honour of the donors and their families.
AAG champions evidence-based research, policy and practice in ageing. The AAG Research Trust provides a specific opportunity to fund strategic initiatives and develop research capacity. In this way, we encourage new and experienced researchers and practitioners to develop careers in ageing.
The Steering Committee was established by and reports to the AAG Board in its capacity as Corporate Trustee of the AAG Research Trust. Steering Committee members set priorities and the strategic direction of the grant programs. The Steering Committee also opens the door to donors who recognise the urgent need to fund knowledge development in areas of ageing that are not well addressed by current research funding. Funds donated to the Research Trust are used for innovative projects that cross traditional, professional and disciplinary boundaries, and explicitly aim to change policy and practice in the broad space of ageing.
The current chair of the AAG Research Trust Steering Committee is Professor Linda Rosenman.
The Grants Committee of the AAG Research Trust reviews the process and timing for each funding round, assesses grant applications and recommends grant awardees to the Trustees. The Grants Committee reports to the AAG Research Trust Steering Committee via AAG's CEO.
The current chair of the of Grants Committee is Professor Anne-Marie Hill from the University of Western Australia. She is supported by four program leads:
- RM Gibson Program Lead: A/Prof Tim Windsor, Flinders University
- Strategic Innovation Program Lead: Prof Keith Hill, Monash University (Vic)
- Hal Kendig Research Development Program Lead: A/Prof Kate O'Loughlin, University of Sydney (NSW)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Review Panel Chair: Prof Ray Mahoney, Flinders University (SA)