HopgoodGanim advises on agreement to boost community health research

HopgoodGanim has advised on a research alliance agreement between four of Australia's top universities.

The agreement outlines how CQUniversity, the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University will work together to undertake research that contributes to better health outcomes for Australia's regional communities.

The agreement has been established under the new Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program run by the Australian Government's Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The program is designed to encourage institutions to strengthen their research capacity and increase performance outcomes by teaming up with other institutions in areas of common interest.

According to HopgoodGanim senior associate Hayden Delaney, who has been advising CQUniversity, the agreement provides a formal structure for health-related research carried out under the CRN program.

"This is a significant, complex agreement between four universities under a major Federal Government program. It was therefore crucial to manage the interests of all four universities to ensure the objectives of the program will be met successfully."

CQUniversity Health CRN Director Professor Sonj Hall says that the CRN program is unique, recognising the strengths and attributes of each partnering university.

"The CRN boasts research capacity by providing resources and mechanisms to allow collaboration along each university's strengths. For example, CQUniversity-based researchers will be able to collaborate and access specialised research equipment and expertise available in metropolitan areas, while researchers from metropolitan centres can access CQUniversity's extensive regional and remote community links and its specialised equipment, such as the social science focused CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) labs."

Delaney says that the universities will collaborate by encouraging staff exchanges and secondments, setting up mentorships, sharing resources, and collaborating on publications and research projects.

"As such, the agreement needed to address a wide range of issues, including governance structures, intellectual property arrangements, how project funding should be spent, the expected outcomes of the research, and the duties of the various parties."

He says that the agreement will help build the research capabilities of a university targeted to regional areas of Queensland.

"This agreement will help all of the partnering universities make the most of CQUniversity's engagement and connection with those living and working in these regional communities.

"The research carried out under this agreement will ultimately lead to improved health facilities for our regional and remote communities. This is particularly important when so many of these areas are key centres for our burgeoning mining and resources sector."

Professor Hall adds that the CRN program focuses on collaboration and linkage rather than specific research projects.

"We hope these linkages will spawn new and innovative research across multiple topic areas, enabling new discoveries and findings", she says.

The CQUniversity Health CRN is supported through the Australian Government's Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program.

Esther Cohen, Communications Advisor
Tel: 07 3024 0192