The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) established the Research Translation Centre Initiative (the Initiative) in 2014 as a key mechanism for supporting the translation of health and medical research in Australia.
NHMRC established the Initiative in 2014 as a key mechanism for supporting the translation of health and medical research in Australia. The objective of the Initiative is to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and communities through the translation of research into health care by:
- promoting health service leadership in research and research translation that addresses priorities directly relevant to health services and the populations the centre serves
- strengthening collaboration between health services and research institutions
- delivering training and education, and building research and research translation capacity and capability.
NHMRC accredits Research Translation Centres – collaborations between health care organisations, research and education/ training organisations – for up to 5 years through open calls for submissions for accreditation. This was the fourth call for submissions from collaborations seeking accreditation as a Research Translation Centre and the first time that accredited centres could apply for re-accreditation.
On 24 September 2021, NHMRC opened the call for submissions from collaborations wishing to be accredited as a Research Translation Centre. This call closed on 21 January 2022. There were 14 applications in total.
Two international Research Translation Centre Assessment Panels (the Panels) were established to assess the applications (one for each stream) and make recommendations to the NHMRC CEO, the decision-maker, about accreditation. The Panels were comprised of international and national members with expertise in health partnerships, health systems, clinical practice including primary care, consumer and community engagement, research translation and implementation, Indigenous and rural health. (Panel membership is listed under Membership.)
Members declared relevant interests as part of the process of being appointed to the Panel and updated interests as required whilst a panel member. Members discussed declared interests at the beginning of each meeting and determined if the interest declared constituted a conflict of interest and whether the member making the declaration would participate in the assessment of the relevant application.
The Panels met in March 2022 to assess the applications and confirm their recommendations and feedback for applicants. Given the potential uncertainty of travel arrangements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, panels met by videoconference to assess each application; applications were not shortlisted for interview, as occurred in previous rounds. For this call, the assessment was based on the written application and the panel could request further information from applicants if clarification was required.
Outcomes of assessment
NHMRC CEO, Professor Anne Kelso AO, considered the Panel's advice and determined that 10 collaborations will be accredited as a Research Translation Centre, including 9 that are receiving accreditation for a second term. These centres were assessed as demonstrating the required characteristics in collaboration, research excellence, the translation of research into health care, and in capability and capacity-building in research and research translation.
Accredited for 5 years (until 30 May 2027)
- Top End Academic Health Partners
Re-accredited for 5 years (until 30 May 2027)
- Central Australia Academic Health Science Network
- Health Translation Queensland
- Health Translation SA
- Maridulu Budyari Gumal – The Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise
- Melbourne Academic Centre for Health
- Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre
- NSW Regional Health Partners
- Sydney Health Partners
- Western Australian Health Translation Network
Emerging Research Translation Centres
Three collaborations were not accredited but instead recognised as Emerging Research Translation Centres. They were all considered to be collaborations with the potential to achieve the required characteristics for accreditation, but needed more time to develop in particular areas. On the advice of the Panel, the CEO has determined that these collaborations will have the opportunity to seek accreditation in 2 years' time for the remaining accreditation period.
- Tasmanian Collaboration for Health Improvement
- Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre
- WA Rural Research and Innovation Alliance
Examples in applications of activities supporting the translation of research into health care
The Panel identified in the applications some strong examples of approaches and mechanisms to support the translation of research into improved health care. These included:
- Cross-institutional enabling platforms that support everyone across all of the partner organisations in the collaboration, such as research capability and capacity-building platforms.
- Organisational/ governance arrangements and a strategy that together ensure that the involvement of consumers and communities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, is integrated throughout the centre’s activities. For example:
- diverse representation on the governing board (including consumers and community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and primary health care)
- governance committees, reporting to the governing board, that give prominence to strategic areas of focus for the collaboration, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and primary care
- requirements for centre projects to have a co-design approach involving end-users and a strategy that provides a coordinated, integrated approach to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
- A multi-disciplinary approach to research, research translation and building research capability and capacity building. For example, research translation projects led by allied health professionals and educational programs that embed researchers from other disciplines (for example, IT) in the health care system.
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander leadership of a collaboration was ensuring the collaboration is focussed on the priorities and needs of its Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander rural and remote communities.
- Programs embedding researchers in regional, rural and remote health services, supporting health-service led research to address the needs of non-urban communities. For example, embedded PhD and post-doctoral researcher and co-location schemes.
The Panel advised that there are a number of areas that should be considered for strengthening in any future applications, particularly as the collaborations mature. This included demonstrating:
- The value-add of the collaboration, that is, demonstrating the impact as a collaboration (for example, as a synergised network). What has the collaboration achieved that would not otherwise have occurred?
- That the collaboration's governance (all levels) and strategy ensures full representation, integration and involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community and consumers across the collaboration, including its strategic priorities and activities.
- That the collaboration's governance, strategy and activities are improving the health of patients and communities across all settings, including primary care, community care and pathways out of hospital.
- For applicants of the Regional, Rural, Remote stream – The leadership and impact of the collaboration outside the urban/city environment; that is, place-based research that is not centred around the academic partner.
Membership of the Research Translation Centre Assessment Panels*
*Biographies as at the time of participation on panels
Assessment Panel 1 Membership
Dr Phillip Gould, Chair
Dr Gould is the First Assistant Secretary of Health Economics and Research Division at the Australian Department of Health, formerly Assistant Secretary at the Office of the National Data Commissioner, where he worked on whole-of-government reforms to the public sector data system to deliver improved service, policies and research outcomes for Australians.
Dr Gould also participated in the National Health and Medical Research Council (2018-21) as an observer for the Department of Health.
Professor Sandra Eades AO
Professor Eades is a Noongar physician researcher from Mount Barker (WA) and was Australia's first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a PhD. Professor Eades was the Dean and Head of Curtin University Medical School. In 2022, Professor Eades returned to University of Melbourne.
Professor Eades has made outstanding contributions to the epidemiology of Indigenous child health in Australia, as well as providing national leadership in Indigenous health research.
Professor Eades is a previous member of the NHMRC Council and previous chair of the Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus.
Ms Christine Gunson
Ms Gunson has extensive experience in Human Resources (HR), most recently the Manager of Strategic HR for Edith Cowan University with a focus on workforce planning, workforce metrics and performance measurement reporting and development.
Ms Gunson has served on several advisory committees as a consumer representative, including NHMRC's Research Committee (where she is a current member) and other government initiatives/committees.
Ms Gunson is registered with Consumer Health Forum, and her interests relate to effective deployment of the health workforce in the interests of consumers, research workforce engagement with consumer voices in research processes.
Professor Ian Jacobs
Professor Jacobs was the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales (until 17 January 2022), Chair of the Group of Eight universities and was the Inaugural Chair, Maridulu Budyari Gumal, SPHERE (NHMRC accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre). Prior to this, he was based in the United Kingdom as Vice President of the University of Manchester from 2011–15 and Dean of Medicine at University College London from 2009–11. He also led the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.
Professor Jacobs is a doctor, researcher, charity worker, business entrepreneur and academic leader with an interest in bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to have a positive impact on society. He has led a research team for 30 years working on early detection and risk prediction of cancer with a particular focus on screening for ovarian cancer.
Professor Jacobs is an Honorary Senior Principal Research Fellow of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, a Director of Research Australia, and was a member of the Australian Research Council Impact and Engagement Steering Committee.
Professor Danielle Mazza
Professor Mazza is the Chair of General Practice at Monash University and is a nationally and internationally recognised leader in women's health, implementation research and knowledge translation in the general practice setting. Professor Mazza has also provided leadership on the development and implementation of key general practice guidelines in Australia.
Professor Mazza is ranked among the top general practice academics in the country and is a leading clinician researcher, advocate and educator on women's health care.
Professor Martin Schechter OBC
Dr Martin Schechter is a Professor, and formerly the Founding Director, of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is the former Chief Scientific Officer of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and former Director of the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. He is Co-Director of the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health and holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Urban Population Health.
Professor Schechter is the author of more than 350 peer-reviewed publications. His research interests are in public health, urban and Indigenous health, health services research, clinical epidemiology and clinical trials, evidence based medicine, medical decision-making and diagnostic testing, HIV/AIDS.
Professor Schechter was a member of the assessment panel for 2 previous NHMRC Calls for accreditation (2014, 2016).
Professor Sharon Straus
Professor Straus is a geriatrician and clinical epidemiologist, Director of the Knowledge Translation Program and Physician-in-Chief, St. Michael's Hospital and Professor in Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.
Professor Straus is Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Quality of Care, leading research to advance the science and practice of knowledge translation by providing a unique model that nurtures collaboration among researchers and trainees in various fields in Canada. Professor Straus is in the top 1% of highly cited clinical researchers.
Professor Straus was a member of the assessment panel for NHMRC's 2018 Call for accreditation.
Assessment Panel 2 Membership
Professor Sally Redman AO, Chair
Professor Redman is an international leader in increasing the impact of research in policy, programs and service delivery and a social scientist with a commitment to improving health and health services through better use of research. Professor Redman is CEO of The Sax Institute, and foundation member of the NHMRC Australia Prevention Partnership Centre's Leadership.
Professor Redman holds academic appointments at the University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and University of NSW, and has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
In 2013, Professor Redman was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to public health and the promotion of relationships between researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
Associate Professor Jaquelyne Hughes
Associate Professor Hughes is a Torres Strait Islander woman, clinician (nephrologist) at the Royal Darwin Hospital and clinical researcher and Principal Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research.
Associate Professor Hughes has expertise in health-service strengthening and optimal patient centred-renal care, that aligns to the values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and community.
Ms Kate Griggs
Ms Griggs has been a Policy Officer at Health Consumers Tasmania and has worked for 15 years across the ACT and Tasmania on health and social policy in a parliamentary setting and the community sector. Ms Griggs has experience in community engagement and networks and as a consumer/ community representative on advisory committees.
Ms Heather Keighley
Ms Keighley is a Registered Nurse and Midwife and Research Fellow at Flinders University. Ms Keighley was previously Executive Manager, Health Workforce at Northern Territory (NT) Primary Care Network where she led the Rural Workforce Agency NT, primary health care outreach services and improvement and integration activities. Ms Keighley provides strategic guidance for teams that implement primary health care workforce and broader systemic strategies and services throughout the NT.
Ms Keighley is a Member of the Rural Health Alliance's Council.
Professor Martha MacLeod
Professor MacLeod is a Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). She is the Northern Health – UNBC Knowledge Mobilization Research Chair and Co-Leader of the Health Research Institute.
As Knowledge Mobilization Research Chair, Professor MacLeod is exploring how knowledge can be developed and taken up in practice in complex rural and remote health systems. She has published and presented widely on rural and northern nursing issues, nursing practice, nursing education, knowledge translation, and network development, and has a longstanding partnered research program that is investigating the processes of system transformation in primary health care.
Professor MacLeod is also active in national, provincial and regional multidisciplinary research and knowledge translation network.
Emeritus Professor Paul Worley
Emeritus Professor Worley is the current Executive Director, Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, and is the former National Rural Health Commissioner. Professor Worley holds appointments at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University and is a Board Member of the Royal Flying Doctor Service SA/NT. Professor Worley is also an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professor Worley was a member of the assessment panel for NHMRC's 2018 Call for accreditation.
Professor Tom Walley CBE
Professor Walley is a highly experienced physician, pharmacologist and administrator with a broad understanding of translational research through his leadership of the United Kingdom's Health Technology Assessment Program at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
He is currently Professor of Clinical Directorate Professional Services at the Institute of Population Health at University of Liverpool, previous Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (NSW) and past director of the NIHR Evaluation, Studies and Trials Coordinating Centre and head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool.
Professor Walley is an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor Walley has been a member of the assessment panel for all of NHMRC's Calls for accreditation (2014, 2016, 2018).