Enrolment status New students, Currently enrolled students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Health and Behavioural Sciences, Medicine, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value $5,000 per annum for 3 years. This scholarship is open until filled.


Sanfilippo syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes fatal brain damage. It is a type of childhood dementia and most patients never reach adulthood. But there is hope. Researchers around the world are working hard to find effective treatments.

Sanfilippo is considered a rare disease: 1 in 70,000 children are born with the inherited condition. The exact prevalence is not known, but it is estimated that there are between 75 and 100 children living with Sanfilippo in Australia.

Sanfilippo is a metabolic disorder which means there is a problem with one of the chemical reactions that naturally occurs in the body. It is caused by a lack of an enzyme that normally breaks down and recycles a large, complex sugar molecule called 'heparan sulphate'.  

The disease has four subtypes (A, B, C and D). Each subtype corresponds to a lack of a different enzyme, each one responsible for a different step of breaking down heparan sulphate.

Sanfilippo is also sometimes referred to as a lysosomal storage disease or LSD, because the heparan sulphate is stored in a part of the cell called the lysosome. It also belongs to a group of diseases called Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) all of which involve the abnormal accumulation of complex sugars (called mucopolysaccharides or glycosaminoglycans 'GAGs'). Another name for Sanfilippo is Mucopolysaccharidoses type III or MPS III. See for more information.

This top up supports HDR candidates studying Sanfilippo. 


  • the research must align with the constitutional objectives of the Foundation
  • be nominated by the Principal Advisor and enrolling school or institute at UQ
  • be receiving a base living scholarship equivalent to the RTP rate. 
  • be assessed by the Graduate School as meeting all conditions for admission to the higher degree by research program and be competitive for scholarship.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

Apply for this scholarship when you apply for a higher degree by research program at UQ. This scholarship is open until filled. 

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, make sure that in addition to the base scholarship application you note that you wish to be considered for the Sanfilippo top up scholarship as well.



The Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation

Terms and conditions

The Scholarship will be awarded by Sanfilippo Children's Foundation and will require applicants to have a base living stipend equivalent to the RTP rate in place, awarded through a competitive process. While normal scholarship conditions will apply changes to the research topic/project may result in the scholarship being withdrawn.