Despite survival rates of cancer patients improving dramatically over recent decades, young people 16 – 25 are counted as having the lowest rate of survival. Alarmingly, less than 6% of all cancer research funding is applied to youth cancer research, where vital breakthroughs can stop our young people from being lost.

Incredible breakthroughs have already been made with the application of Virtual Reality (VR) to cancer research from the immersive 3D mapping of tumours that open up collaboration for researchers, to innovating surgery techniques and even supporting patients with pain management. Imagine a world where this game changing technology is the lynchpin to finding the cure. 

In an Australian first, Sony Foundation Australia, the charity arm of Sony group of companies, and Australian cancer research charity, Tour de Cure have joined forces with an AU$500,000 funding grant for a brilliant idea combining the research and development of Virtual Reality Content to be used for the benefit of youth cancer patients.

The adoption of virtual reality (VR) technologies to provide innovative frameworks for research and collaboration is accelerating at rapid pace around the world. In an Australian first cooperative development, Sony Foundation will partner with Tour de Cure to make available grant funding to qualified research organisations to support innovative research in the application of VR technology drawn from industry in the area of cancer research, treatment or care.


Project Description:

Sony Foundation, the charity arm of the Sony Group in Australia, will take the lead in supporting innovative projects that use VR technology in cancer research, cancer treatment and the support of cancer patients and their families. In an Australian first, Sony Foundation and Tour de Cure, one of Australia’s leading cancer research fundraising organisations, will partner to award up to $500,000 to fund the research, and a further $20,000 funding for the VR content creators to be used for the benefit of youth cancer patients.


Virtual Reality has already made the impossible, possible. The immersive technology is in active use around the medical world on projects that make a difference, such as helping the blind see, managing chronic pain and enabling scientists to walk around inside cancer cells to investigate their projects at a much deeper level than ever before.

This truly unique research grant will require the close collaboration of traditional cancer research organisations with virtual reality content creators from the technology and interactive media industry to take the application of VR beyond pain management and distraction techniques and into a completely new realm.


The winning grant application will propose an innovative approach to applying Virtual Reality technology to deliver insightful research with a view to discover ground-breaking and translatable outcomes to assist young cancer patients.  Possible areas of research to include, but are not limited to:

  • assistance in the understanding and diagnosis of underlying cancer pathologies;
  • assistance in the treatment of cancer;
  • enhancement of treatment compliance;
  • assistance with pain management or rehabilitation;
  • enhancement in the provision of survivorship strategies;
  • education of young people with respect to cancer prevention strategies.

This program will operate in addition to the normal annual Tour de Cure grant application program.

Grant Process:

  • Formal Announcement of the Sony Foundation Virtual Reality Cancer Program took place on Saturday June 23 at the Tour de Cure’s annual fund raising Snow Ball, held in Sydney
  • Grant Applications will be open to prospective cancer research organisations starting Monday, July 2, 2018 and will remain open until Friday, September 28, 2018
  • A joint multidisciplinary Evaluation Committee comprised of the Tour de Cure Research, Support and Prevention Committee and representatives of Sony Foundation, Sony Interactive Entertainment (UK) (SIE), Sony Global (US) will evaluate all applications
  • Depending on the applications received total funding in the order of $500,000, and a further $20,000 funding for the VR content creators; this may comprise one or more projects
  • Announcement of successful applicants will be made in early 2020


About Sony Foundation: Sony Foundation’s mission is to capitalise on the unique qualities of Sony and contribute to the advancement of the Australian community by assisting youth and fostering their talents. Through its fundraising and activities, Sony Foundation is affirming the global unifying brand message that drives Sony: believe that anything you can imagine, you can make real. The Sony companies contribute to the administrative costs of the Foundation, allowing the net proceeds of funds raised to be distributed in full to all of its youth-focused causes. Sony Foundation is not only about giving a donation, its role is to facilitate engaged philanthropy. It is about becoming the voice of our young people; the champion of the cause; the answer to the gap in the system. Since 1998, driven by the vision of helping young people, the Foundation has provided opportunities, support and assistance to thousands of young Australians. Sony Foundation partners with existing charities as well as initiating a number of unique campaigns, all of which aim to offer solutions to some of the problems young people in Australia face today. Sony Foundation Australia is a company limited by guarantee and registered under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, and is exempt from income and sales tax. All donations are fully tax deductible.

About Tour de Cure: Through magical, challenging and inspirational tours and events across Australia, Tour de Cure raises money to fund the boldest research, the most talented scientists and the groundbreaking projects that will have the biggest impact on cancer. Tour de Cure seeks to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of operations and the research funded, while focusing on its overall mission to cure cancer. With the efforts of thousands of volunteers within the ‘Tour De Cure family’ and the invaluable support of outstanding corporate partners, Tour de Cure has raised more than $40 million, funded 306 cancer projects and 24 significant cancer breakthroughs since starting in 2007. Tour de Cure has also helped to raise awareness about cancer prevention through programs delivered to more than 120,000 school children across Australia. Tour de Cure is a registered Australian Tier 1 Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.



Evaluation Committee Members


Tour de Cure:


“We’re delighted to be working with Sony Foundation on this exciting program. This is an excellent example of how industry and the research community can collaborate to create new frameworks and funding for vital cancer research.” 

Paul Mirabelle, Chair, Research, Support and Prevention Committee, Tour de Cure


“It is important to see industry and medical research collaborating to fund new and innovative initiatives in medical research such as this.”

Chuck Bailey, PhD Senior Research Officer Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Centenary Institute


Sony Foundation:


“We identified a unique role that Sony Foundation could play in bringing together cancer researchers and the best in the VR tech industry globally.  We hope that we will uncover a brilliant idea to fund the application of VR to support youth cancer patients that hasn’t been seen before.  And, we are excited to foster new networks for collaboration between some of the leading VR developers around the world with cancer researchers to ignite future interest and investment in this type of game-changing research.”


Sophie Ryan, CEO Sony Foundation