Equity Fellowships help to see 'trees and the wood'

16 March 2012

L-R Back: Kathleen Nelson, Lina Markauskaite, Diane van den Broek, Lorraine Smith. L-R Front: Jennifer Alison, Kirsten Black, Julia Beatty
L-R Back: Kathleen Nelson, Lina Markauskaite, Diane van den Broek, Lorraine Smith. L-R Front: Jennifer Alison, Kirsten Black, Julia Beatty

University of Sydney academics have been recognised with Equity Fellowships to support them in focusing fully on research.

The seven academics have been awarded Brown and Thompson Fellowships, which give them relief from teaching and administrative responsibilities in order to concentrate on research.

The fellowships are a joint initiative of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Staff and Student Equal Opportunity Unit with each Fellow receiving $60,000 over two semesters.

Recipients this year are from the University's Education and Social Work, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science and Health Sciences, as well as its Central Clinical School, University of Sydney Business School and Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

"I am thrilled to see the quality of the applicants and recipients for these Fellowships," says Professor Jill Trewhella, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). "They were set up to help talented researchers contribute as best they can, helping them past hurdles that may have previously hindered their progress.

"In my discussions with previous recipients I have seen the impact one of these Fellowships can have and I am sure the latest recipients will also enjoy the time and space to focus on their research that these Fellowships aim to provide."

The University this year awarded five Thompson Fellowships, designed to enhance the careers of academic women and remedy the under-representation of women in senior academic positions.

"The Fellowship gives researchers the luxury of time to focus on their research, extend their expertise and create and embed networks," said Dr Lorraine Smith, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, whose fellowship will give her the freedom to pursue two research projects.

"I leave for Scotland in a month for an international collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, to trial my model of goal-setting for the management of hayfever in community pharmacies."

Dr Smith, a psychologist, has worked for eight years in Pharmacy applying her model of patient-focused self-management to chronic conditions.

The Fellowship will also assist Dr Smith with a cross-faculty collaboration with Professor Kathryn Refshauge from the Faculty of Health Sciences, adapting her goal-setting model to help people cope with chronic low back pain, a condition for which there is no proven effective treatment.

"Both these projects will open doors for future research for long term benefit," Dr Smith said.

The Brown Fellowships allow recipients to re-establish or enhance their academic careers after undertaking sustained primary caring duties.

One of this year's two recipients, Dr Diane van den Broek, from the University of Sydney Business School, will use her fellowship to research a book for Palgrave Press as part of their Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship series.

"I have previously researched in several fields, including on employment and call centre work but this year I will travel around Australia interviewing migrant nurses in the context of skilled migration and career identity in this profession."

"I applied for the fellowship because I had a contract to write this book in a new area of research and felt overwhelmed with how I would do that amid teaching and other responsibilities. I am really appreciative of this opportunity for uninterrupted research.

"These Equity Fellowships are a great chance to refocus on the research aspects of your career - they help you spend some time focusing on the trees as well as the wood."

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