We have been fortunate at the Prevention Centre to have had five years of funding, supportive funding partners, and now funding for a further five years.
In this position, it is easy to forget the highly competitive nature of research funding in Australia and, consequently, the very high expectations on those awarded funding.
We take this responsibility seriously, believing we must continue to demonstrate that the quality and quantity of our research justifies our funding against the same international benchmarks that apply to others.
However, the challenge for us, like others working in the translation and implementation field, is there are other drivers to consider. We also need to meet our funders’ expectations and ensure our work is relevant to them.
We have proselytised the need for, and benefits of, co-development and co-production of research as part of ensuring relevance in the context of knowledge translation and implementation. We have argued for the need of whole-of-system perspectives because complex problems usually require multi-layered solutions.
Effective long-term prevention frequently requires long-term social and environmental changes that require community support. This leads to an interesting set of challenges for us – balancing the need to demonstrate shorter-term outcomes with strategies that will require a longer time frame.
As we enter funding year six, I regularly remind myself that successes with the relatively uncomplex problem of tobacco have taken 50 years and we are still working on it. So, we have lots more to do if we are to get on top of chronic disease more generally!