Rebecca Lillian Cooper
c1888 - 1984

Mrs Cooper was introduced to the late Al Rosenstrauss in September 1979. She was then in her early 90s and was a little, bent old woman living under very poor conditions.

Al was asked to collect rents for Mrs Cooper in his capacity as a real estate agent and discovered that she owned numerous strings of terrace houses, throughout Paddington, Woollahra and Bondi, all of which were badly run down, and many were completely derelict and vacant.

Mrs Cooper met with an accident that left her hospitalised with third degree burns to her buttock. She made a long, slow recovery and for the first time in many years she was properly fed and given a balanced diet with vitamin supplements. As a result, the improvement in her intellect and physical condition was quite amazing.

At about this time, Al and his wife, Val Rosenstrauss began to take Mrs Cooper out for day trips on most Sundays. They began to learn something of her early history during those outings.
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Al Rosenstrauss OAM

Al Rosenstrauss OAM
1925 - 2012

Al Rosenstrauss OAM, was instrumental in establishing the Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation, first suggesting the concept to Mrs Cooper and then implementing it as a Founding Director and Secretary of the Foundation. Al with the assistance of his wife Valerie put great energy and time into managing the Foundation’s property portfolio, administering the grant applications and the presentation dinner for the next 28 years, until his retirement in March 2012. Al Rosenstrauss passed away peacefully in a Gold Coast hospital on 21 September 2012.

From the outset, Al applied his own unique style to the operation of the Foundation, championing the concept of the Foundation; taking a genuine interest in the activities of the grantees; acknowledging the contribution of junior researchers by encouraging the chief investigators to bring their “team” to the presentation dinner and of course the informality of the presentation dinners themselves.

Al also sought to ensure that the Foundation would target research in fields that did not attract the same level of public support as some high profile charities. His dedication and passion to the Foundation and its cause was recognised by the awarding of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2008 Australia Day Honours list.

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The Foundation benefits from the commercial, business, medical, legal and research expertise provided by its directors, who govern the Foundation on a voluntary basis.

A Brief History

The Foundation was inaugurated on 13 January 1984 with the purpose of promoting, encouraging and advancing medical research in Australia.  This has been achieved through the provision of over $29 million in grants, scholarships, fellowships, symposia and awards, to date.

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The Future

The Foundation will continue to support: 1. high quality and innovative Australian medical research with the long-term goal of producing new knowledge that will improve outcomes for those who experience the disorders that are a focus of the Foundation; and 2. rising stars whose careers will shape the future of Australian medical research.

The Foundation's directors are dedicated to ensuring that the income stream of the Foundation continues to grow through reconfiguration and improvement of the property portfolio and the diversification of assets to ensure that these aims are met.

The Foundation also aims to build and maintain relationships it has within the medical research community and invites input from this community to help guide the Foundation’s future direction, funding decisions and improve its operations.

A Historical Snapshot



Haematology research

First funded Diabetes and Rheumatology research

Schizophrenia research

First funded Arthritis and Schizophrenia research

Genetic research

First funded Lung Disease and Genetic research
Inaugural Leo Dintenfass Memorial Award to Dr Ilja Hulinsky

Geriatric research

First funded Geriatric research
RLC Research Laboratories established

First PhD scholarship awarded, in the area of Schizophrenia research

PhD scholarship awarded in the field of Schizophrenia research

Vision research

First funded Vision research
Inaugural Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation Medal to Dr Janette Burgess
Bequest from Estate of John Haddon


Inaugural John & Eileen Haddon award to Christopher Raymond Murphy


Inaugural Kevin Cahill award to Professor Minas Coroneo
Inaugural Al & Val Rosenstrauss Fellowship awarded to Dr Graeme Polglase
Exceeded $1million in grants for the first time

Grants Advisory

Grants Advisory Commitee introduced to inform granting decisions

Fellowship Advisory

Fellowship Advisory Committee introduced to inform the award of the Al & Val Rosenstrauss fellowship

Project Grants Scheme

Inaugural Project Grants Scheme
First funded Dermatology research (excluding Skin Cancer)

Funding $3mil p.a.

Funding allocation doubled to $3 million per annum

Hugh "David" Vaughan Lewis Bequest

Bequest from the Estate of Hugh “David” Vaughan Lewis.

Inaugural Rebecca Cooper Fellowship

Inaugural Rebecca Cooper Fellowship