Faculty expands discussions for collaboration in Saudi Arabia

5 June 2014

In April, the Faculty of Health Sciences sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia to explore opportunities for student recruitment and research collaboration, following a previous delegation to the region in October 2013, led by FHS Dean Kathy Refshauge.

The objective of this trip was to attend the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education in Riyadh to expand discussions undertaken in 2013 for collaborative research projects and sponsored PhD students with major Riyadh-based hospitals, universities and industry.

Potential collaborative research projects identified during the visit included optimising breast cancer screening, early mobility of stroke patients, rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, physical activity promotion in diabetic patients, lymphoedema management and mental and physical disability in children.

Professor Patrick Brennan, Associate Dean and Director International Research & Development, and Dr Martin Mackey, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Physiotherapy, were part of the delegation. Dr Mackey is also an FHS representative on the Middle East Regional Advisory Group.

Successful outcomes of the trip include recruitment of four new PhD students for the Faculty, with one beginning in semester two this year, and a further three beginning in semester one next year.

A new joint supervision PhD program was also agreed upon to be developed between King Saud University in Riyadh and the University of Sydney, as well as potential research projects with King Fahd Medical City (KFMC).

Professor Brennan identified "Progressing relationships and finalising research proposals" and "a proposal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health that, if successful, would launch an exciting new program of research around breast cancer" As the most promising outcomes of the discussions. Dr Martin Mackey identified the progress undertaken to establish a Musculoskeletal Research Network in Saudi Arabia as the trip's most successful outcome.