Sydney integral to Collaborative Research Networks around health

27 June 2011

The University of Sydney will forge new research and educational partnerships with fellow Australian universities as part of three recently announced Collaborative Research Networks which focus on issues around health and wellbeing.

These research networks are designed to encourage less research-intensive institutions to collaborate with other universities with the intention that all participants will benefit from flow-on effects for the entire research and innovation system.

For example, the University of Sydney will collaborate with the University of New England on the project Mental Health and Wellbeing in Rural Regions which was awarded $4,800,000.

For this project Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn and the Australian Family and Disability Studies Research Collaboration in Faculty of Health Sciences will provide expertise and guidance in the area of mental health and wellbeing, particularly for children, young people and people with developmental disabilities.

Sydney academics will contribute to the development of research programs at UNE through strategies such as identifying opportunities for research collaborations, assisting with methodology and grant development, and staff and student exchange.

The project also aims to build established and new links with rural communities and health providers in northern inland NSW and Victoria.

The University of Sydney will also collaborate with Edith Cowan University on the project Growing Research Excellence through Partnership and Engagement. This project, also undertaken with the Faculty of Health Sciences, was awarded $5,615,052.

Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh from the University of Sydney will contribute expertise to the Exercise Medicine for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease element of this research network. Professor Singh will be part of a cross-institutional team of senior investigators responsible for recruiting and supervising high-achieving post-graduate fellows specialising in the use of exercise for the prevention, management and treatment of chronic disease. This will grow the capacity of all universities, enlarging the number of people qualified to work in this area.

The third successful CRN proposal is Policy and Planning research for sustainable regions. This project, to be undertaken with Southern Cross University, was awarded $4,639,448. Professor Glenn Salkeld, Head of Sydney School of Public Health, will be the lead collaborator with additional team members coming from both the faculties of Nursing and Pharmacy.

This multidisciplinary project will support and progress several clearly defined areas of emerging research strength at Southern Cross University that collectively comprise policy and planning research for sustainable regions. This includes policy and planning research in relation to children and young people, community health and wellbeing, social inclusion, tourism, marine ecology, regional infrastructure and regional development.

Announcing $61.5 million for 12 projects under the Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said world-class research is one of the keys to Australia's future.

"Quality research can help us address issues of critical national importance and create opportunities for new industries and high-wage, high-skill jobs," Senator Carr said.

"I am excited by the valuable projects that the $61.5 million CRN first round will support from 2010-11 to 2013-14.

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