Investigators’ Forum and the future of chronic disease prevention



TYPE Prevention Centre News

The Investigator Forums are an opportunity for updates from our Co-Directors, for our community to learn more about the progress and outcomes of our projects and their impact in policy and practice, and allow scope for our investigators to network and build potential for collaboration.

Our Co-Directors, Professor Lucie Rychetnik and Professor Andrew Wilson advised that all Medical Research Future Fund projects have been granted an extension to their completion dates, in recognition of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our research projects.

“We are well aware of the impact of the pandemic on our investigators, and our policy partners – particularly those in the health sector – and the university sector. It has been a tough time for many of us but these opportunities for connection are valuable.

“The success of the Investigator Forums shows how much the Prevention Centre’s network values engagement and connection. As well as learning about individual projects, we are facilitating potential connections between projects,” said Professor Lucie Rychetnik.

Four projects having impact, a new collaboration, and the next phase of the Prevention Centre

Updates on four Prevention Centre projects currently underway were presented by our investigators:

“The ‘co-benefits’ of collaboration is increasingly important and we are, more and more, looking for opportunities to connect research teams, funding partners, and policy partners,” said Professor Rychetnik.

The Co-Directors announced the newly established Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact (CERI), a partnership between four NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence and the Prevention Centre.

“CERI will enhance the profile and impact of chronic disease prevention in Australia, bringing together leading prevention researchers to develop shared narratives, translate new knowledge, and support early- to mid-career researchers. This is really a pilot, and calls on the convening power of the Prevention Centre to generate new cross-centre collaborations,” said Professor Rychetnik.

The strategic approach to the next phase of the Prevention Centre and our program of research is currently underway.

“The Prevention Centre is currently exploring the ‘next generation’ of prevention research by developing our agenda for our next phase.

“We’ve published a number of pieces recently reflecting that focus, including a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, What does the future holds for chronic disease prevention research?,” said Professor Rychetnik.

“With around 40,000 publications around coronavirus to date, we’re seeing an interesting demonstration of public health in Australia and the way that we’ve been able to respond. It’s a fascinating reminder of the inter-connectedness of public health in both communicable and non-communicable diseases,” said Professor Wilson.

“The issues around equity have clearly played out and from this will come, I believe, a new generation and of researchers and opportunities for prevention research in Australia as the community understands the necessity for public health professionals to have the evidence-based research and capacity to respond,” he said.