Chair of Cerebral Palsy

In 2009, Cerebral Palsy Alliance appointed Professor Nadia Badawi AM, one of Australia’s leading cerebral palsy experts, as Australia’s first Chair of Cerebral Palsy to oversee projects funded by the Research Foundation.

This appointment was created to:

  • Propel cerebral palsy research onto the world stage
  • Develop an international network of researchers committed to the prevention and cure of cerebral palsy
  • Inspire researchers to join our quest
  • Target funds towards the most promising areas of research
  • Promote community education and shape public policy.

In 2015, the Chair of Cerebral Palsy position moved from the University of Notre Dame Australia to the Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, within the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health.

Professor Nadia Badawi AM


Medical Director and Co-Head, Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
CP Alliance Chair of Cerebral Palsy Research, The University of Sydney

Professor Badawi is an internationally recognised neonatologist and expert in cerebral palsy and newborn brain conditions. In her role as Chair of Cerebral Palsy, she is responsible for implementing the strategic plan for cerebral palsy research priorities. Professor Badawi is renowned for her research on the outcomes of neonatal intensive care, neurodevelopmental outcomes following major cardiac and non-cardiac surgery, neonatal encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. Her reputation as a leading authority on cerebral palsy has ensured the Research Foundation has some of the world’s best research minds now working collaboratively and proactively to find ways to prevent, treat and cure cerebral palsy. She is also the Medical Director and Co-Head of the Grace Centre for Newborn Care at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.

I have no hesitation in now saying that one day there will be prevention and cure for cerebral palsy.
Nadia Badawi AM, Chair of Cerebral Palsy

Professor Badawi’s research interests include:

  • Research into causes, preventative strategies, best intervention and ultimately a cure for cerebral palsy
  • Reducing complications associated with cerebral palsy
  • Australian and international cerebral palsy registers
  • Increasing collaboration between cerebral palsy researchers
  • Improving the outcomes for babies following newborn encephalopathy
  • Optimising the survival and long term outcomes for babies admitted to neonatal intensive care
  • Early cerebral palsy diagnosis and early intervention
  • Improving education, health outcomes and quality of life for children with cerebral palsy in lower and middle income countries (LMIC).

Her dedication, commitment and determination have put cerebral palsy research under the international spotlight, and the results have been ground breaking.

Less than a decade ago, most people believed cerebral palsy was a non-preventable and incurable condition. Now, medical science’s attitudes towards severe brain injury are changing thanks to the efforts of Professor Badawi and her colleagues around the world, alongside advances in brain-imaging technology, stem-cell science, gene therapy and metabolic research.

Some of Professor Badawi’s major contributions to the field include:

  • Being part of the group that established the NSW and Australian Cerebral Palsy Registers
  • Raising funds for cerebral palsy research in Australia and internationally
  • Co-establishing the International Cerebral Palsy Research Alliance Foundation in the USA, 2015
  • Co-Chairing multiple International Cerebral Palsy Prevention and Cure Summits
  • Leading development of the Australian and New Zealand CP Strategy
  • Involvement in the XCellerate stem-cell consortium
  • Collaborating with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to set up an international Cerebral Palsy Genome databank.

In addition, Professor Badawi has given nearly 300 presentations (including more than 90 international and national keynotes or presided as conference chair), been awarded more than $30 million in competitive research funding and philanthropic grants, and published over 170 peer reviewed journal articles.

>> See Nadia’s publications


Distinguished Professorial Achievement Award from the University of Sydney Medical School in recognition of distinguished sustained achievements by professors in research, teaching and learning as well as service to Sydney Medical School, the University and the profession.


Grace Centre for Newborn Care SCHN award for establishing a volunteer program supporting parents.


Winner in Translational Research Category. Grace Developmental Clinic – an example of translational research. Annual Quality and Innovation Awards, SCHN.


Postgraduate supervisor of the year (joint). Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health, University of Sydney.


Winner Metropolitan NSW of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s Michelle Beets Memorial Award.


Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to paediatrics, neonatal intensive care and research into cerebral palsy.


Selected as one of the 100 Australian Women of Influence (Australian Financial Review & Westpac): global category for leadership in the search for prevention and cure of cerebral palsy, and providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in developing countries.


Selected as one of Australia’s most influential female voices, Australian Women’s Weekly.


The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) selected as one of Australia’s Researchers Changing the World.

Green and white artwork with Cerebral Conversations in the centre with curved line drawings around it

Cerebral Conversations

Get inspired about the incredible things happening at CPA, and fast track your knowledge about the disability sector. Tune in to Cerebral Conversations, a podcast produced by the greatest minds at CP, tackling the biggest issues affecting people with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities.

Listen to Nadia Badawi discuss Neonatology with Tracey Spicer in episode one and early diagnosis in episode three.