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We’re here to develop a clear understanding of vertebral subluxation.

But what do those two words mean? For the purpose of our research agenda, the ASRF developed this definition:

“A vertebral subluxation is a diminished state of being, comprising a state of reduced coherence,
altered biomechanical function, altered neurological function and altered adaptability.”

Our Research Agenda

Over the last 46 Years the ASRF has funded or co-funded over 250 research projects costing in excess of AUD $2.9M.

We investigate the impact of chiropractic care on the quality of life of an individual and the wellbeing of their community.

This research agenda was developed through an in- depth consultation process that enabled us to identify the most pressing questions facing our profession.

Our first task was to develop a definition of vertebral subluxation, relevant to both research and clinical practice. We achieved this in one year.

Moving forward, we want to develop a deeper understanding of the:

  1. Reliability, validity and reproducibility of vertebral subluxation measures of identification
  2. Impact of vertebral subluxation and adjustment on an individual
  3. Epidemiology of vertebral subluxation
  4. Impact of vertebral subluxation and adjustment on the community.

This much-needed research focuses on the impact chiropractic care has on human function, rather than on disease and treatment. The outcomes will have strong clinical relevance for chiropractors, greatly enhancing our knowledge base and developing our profession.

Our Research Agenda
Our Program

Our Program

Our grant program is ambitious, rigorous, supportive of researchers and centred on producing research with strong clinical relevance for chiropractors.

Our application and assessment process reflects research sector best practice, setting us apart from other bodies funding chiropractic research.

We use a rigorous two-stage approval process to determine grant applications.

Current Topics of Interest

In 2023 we called for, and funded, grant applications exploring the role of subluxation in RESILIENCE and ADAPTABILITY, with a focus on STRESS and IMMUNITY. Topics of interest will be changing for the 2024 Grants Round, to further refine our research agenda.
You can see our Funded Research Projects here.

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The reliability, validity and reproducibility of stress and immunity outcome measures associated with vertebral subluxation (can stress and immune health outcomes relating to vertebral subluxations be measured using reliable and valid indicators?).
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The impact of a vertebral subluxation and an adjustment on stress and immune function (what impact does vertebral subluxation and the adjustment have on health outcomes?).
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The epidemiology of the subluxation, relating to stress and immunity (the scientific, systematic, data-driven frequency and patterns of the cause and risk factors of vertebral subluxation in the community).

Grant Categories

Three grant categories are available, intended to encourage and support new researchers and novel ideas, as well as support projects with a more developed evidence-base and researcher track record. All submissions must be relevant to our research agenda and the topics that are currently being investigated.

Targeted Research Grants

  • Intended to provide support for quality research projects relevant to the clinical practice and scientific basis of chiropractic and relevant to the research agenda categories that are currently being investigated.
  • Funding of up to $20,000 per year is available for between one and two years.

Dave Russell Postgraduate Scholarship Grant

  • For researchers who are currently undertaking a research higher degree and are yet to be recipients of competitive project funding.
  • Only one grant per postgraduate researcher will be awarded.
  • Funding of a maximum of $10,000 for a maximum period of 1 year.
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ASRF Logo in white circle

Seeding Research Grants

  • Supporting novel research ideas, pilot studies or preliminary research develop into viable competitive research proposals for submission for funding to ASRF or other external granting bodies.
  • SRGs are open to any researcher, however preference will be given to an Early Career Researcher (ECR – defined as researchers who are currently within 5 years of having completed postgraduate studies and who have not as yet been recipients of competitive project funding).
  • Recipients of SRGs should apply for full funding under the TRG scheme (or a similar external scheme) within 12 months
  • Funding of a maximum of $10,000 for a maximum period of 12 months.

Grant Application Process

1. Expression of Interest (EOI)

  • All applicants submit an initial EOI
  • Provides concise, referenced information regarding the intent of the proposed research project, the clinical and/or scientific basis of the intended research, how the proposal meets the Foundation’s research agenda, and an indicative budget.
  • Applicants will be notified promptly of the Foundation’s decision regarding their expression and if endorsed, will be invited to complete a full submission by the deadline.

2. Full Grant Submission

  • Provides more extensive details, particularly concerning the proposed methodology and the intended outcomes of the research project.
  • Provides a complete budget, including any estimated in-kind contributions.

Review Process

Both EOIs and full grant applications are subjected to the same merit-based review process. Applications in each stage are reviewed by our Clinical Advisory Panel and Research Committee.

Scientific and clinical evaluation will be based on:

  • Project merit and validity.
  • Likelihood of completion.
  • Value for money.

Key Dates

2024 Grants Round will open in May.

More details coming soon.


The Results

Once all submissions have been reviewed, our Research Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board then decides which projects to fund. All applicants are notified of the results of their application.

The ASRF receives many excellent submissions, and we are unable to fund them all. We collaborate with other bodies to facilitate funding of worthy projects that we cannot fund ourselves.

We acknowledge our Members, Donors, Fundraisers and Commercial Supporters for their amazing commitment to research and our great profession.

Please direct all communications to

The Research Results


ASRF’s news at your fingertips

Case Reports Examine Chronic Pain and Mental Health

The world of medical research is not unfamiliar with the pattern: chronic pain and presentations of poor mental health often go together. It’s a well-established comorbidity. This often brings with it a sensible question – which came first? Did the chronic pain trigger the presentation of mental illness, or did the mental illness increase the…

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ASRF-Funded projects approved in 2023

As the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, our core business is to serve the chiropractic profession through all things vertebral subluxation research. So it is with great pleasure that we announce the results of the latest funding round. This group of studies will, of course, take time. But as they emerge, they will enrich our understanding of…

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