NHMRC funding success to deliver world-leading oncology, digital health and patient safety research

11 October 2017

The Australian Institute of Health Innovation in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University has been awarded more than $7.3 million in grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), announced today.

Among the grants are two Centres of Research Excellence, two Partnership Projects, and an Early Career Fellowship award.

In total Macquarie as a whole has been awarded more than $8 million in grants.

The two Centres of Research Excellence, together worth nearly $5 million, will deliver research outcomes in implementation science in oncology, and, digital health.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Implementation Science in Oncology, led by Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, Director of AIHI and involving senior researchers from around Australia, will add extensive capacity in terms of research training, collaboration in increasing evidence-based practice in cancer care, and is built on internationally-regarded chief investigators and associate investigators who are well established as a strong multi-disciplinary team.

“One of the key issues in delivering care to cancer patients is to ensure that the treatment provided is evidence-based. We need a concerted effort and training for the next generation of researchers and clinicians to translate what we know into improved practices. The Centre for Research Excellence will harness new ideas in implementation science. Researchers will work side-by-side with clinicians, policymakers, and patients in achieving higher levels of evidence-based care,” said Professor Braithwaite.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Digital Health will be led by Professor Enrico Coiera at AIHI and will bring together for the first time all the major Australian centres of health informatics research.

“The community of researchers and front-line service providers will tackle fundamental challenges that impede the creation of truly safe, efficient and effective digital health services for both clinicians and consumers,” said Professor Coiera.

The two NHMRC Partnership Grants focus on safe care for patients. Professor Johanna Westbrook, will lead a four year $1.2M project, in partnership with St Vincent’s Health Australia to assess the effectiveness of a highly innovative approach to address unprofessional behaviours and create significant culture change across all areas of health care delivery.  The project focusses on examining the way people behave toward each other in healthcare settings, aiming to demonstrate how a culture of respect can be encouraged, and lead to better outcomes for patients and staff.

Dr Melissa Baysari, in partnership with eHealth NSW and eHealth QLD will lead a project to improve electronic decision support for clinicians to support safer care to patients through better medication prescribing. An Early Career Fellowship, awarded to Dr Magda Raban, is also investigating medication safety to improve patient outcomes among children and older Australians.

Elsewhere in the Faculty, as part of the grant round, Macquarie was also awarded a Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship. The recipient of the grant, Dr Vivek Gupta from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, is one of 32 funded around Australia in this scheme which totals $718,002 over four years.

Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) said the funding will continue Macquarie’s commitment to delivering excellence in health system and medical research with life-changing impact.

“Our continued success in NHMRC’s recent funding round is indicative of the promise and world-leading impact of Macquarie’s research. It speaks to calibre of our academics in digital health, oncology and dementia research and to the strong development strategies that are helping us to achieve such goals.”

These grants follow recent NHMRC funding of $10.7 million for the AIHI in December to establish a new Partnership Centre whose aim will be to create an adaptive and financially-effective health system for future generations of Australians.

For the full list of grants, see the NHMRC website.

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