One of the key recommendations made in the Wills Health and Medical Research Strategic Review in 2013 was that, for maximum impact, our research aims should encompass the whole lifespan from a healthy start to life through to successful ageing. We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Lifespan Research theme in Sydney Medical School which will merge our Reproductive Maternal and Child Health theme with the Healthy Ageing theme.
The Lifespan theme will aim to facilitate a whole of life approach to research within SMS and provide the opportunity to join with lifespan-related researchers across the University to create a Lifespan research community. In particular, the Lifespan theme will seek representation in the new four Strategic Priority Areas for Research Collaboration (SPARCs) encompassing Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Mental Health and Neuroscience and Infectious Diseases.
This fresh approach will provide a new opportunity to bring together researchers who deal with the preconception/antenatal period (reproduction and maternal health) and the extremes of life (e.g. neonatologists, paediatricians and geriatricians) and with child and adolescents researchers as they currently rarely meet but have many shared research clinical and logistical challenges, e.g.
- Ethics of consent for those without capacity
- Holistic family and community orientated clinical practice
- Embedded multidisciplinary working arrangements
- The need to advocate for consideration of age (young or old) in research agenda
- The inherent difficulty in undertaking research and or implementing findings in populations (e.g. Pharmacokinetic studies often overlook the elderly or the young)
The first steps in establishing the Lifespan Research Theme will be to develop a website bringing together SMS RMCH and healthy ageing researchers in a new virtual community. We will also seek to identify researchers in Faculties of Dentistry, Nursing Allied Health, and in non health faculties to create a Lifespan Community. This will be followed by preliminary meetings to discuss how best to interact with the new SPARCs. Our first meeting will be a postgraduate symposium on 1st August 2014 to be followed by a Lifespan Research Day on November 3rd 2014 – save the dates!
We recognise that many active and productive researchers do not naturally fit within the new SPARCs and we hope that the Lifespan Research Community can provide support and new opportunities for collaboration for a wide range of experts within the University.
Professor Cheryl Jones
Professor Richard I Lindley
Co-Chairs for the SMS Lifespan Research Theme
The generation of new research ideas is a core value of the Lifespan Research Network, and collaboration is at the heart of every project.
Investigators outside the Network who are interested in initiating collaboration with members should contact the .