Inaugural THRI Travel Awards

THRI recently awarded travel grants to four early career researchers who travelled to Queen Mary University of London to attend a workshop entitled: Translational research: How to produce research that makes a difference!  The recipients of the inaugural award were THRI members, Drs Catharine Fleming (SSH), and Cathy Kaplun (TReSI, SONM) and THRI ECRs Drs Alex Hawkey and Kyja Noack-Lundberg.

You will be able to hear about the workshop and key learnings from the four recipients, who will be presenting a workshop that will be scheduled in September.

Catharine Fleming (SSH):

The THRI travel grant to the Translational Research Workshop at Queen Mary University London was an immeasurable opportunity for me as an ECR. The workshop provided me with an immense amount of knowledge and ‘tools’ in application of translational theory and concepts to my work in Public Health Nutrition. The opportunity to attend an international workshop and gain an insight into world class research successfully translated into the public health arena, now enables me to share this knowledge at Western Sydney University. The workshops also provided an opportunity to network with international researchers that I would not have otherwise had as an ECR.

Cathy Kaplun (TReSI, SONM):

We barely had time to adjust to the beautiful London weather before we were sitting in the room with local and international researchers eager to share their research, its translation and impact. It was incredibly interesting to hear about the differing contexts we research in, especially as we face many similar issues in the translation of our research into practice. The thought provoking discussions, with contributions from researchers and GP’s highlighted different perspectives and disciplines and prevented the jetlag drift taking over in the afternoon sessions.  We were making connections to our research, contrasting the differing policy contexts, the need for “evidence” and above all the impact and possibilities!! The group were also very interested to hear about our research and the added complexities of working with our Aboriginal communities. Overall we made some valuable international connections - two days was definitely not long enough! and before we left Anna Dowrick (the chair) was planning another event with an extra day for workshopping your own research included. WSU/THRI Travel Award made this all possible and we were thankful for the opportunity to participate as representatives of the University.

Alex Hawkey, THRI:

The workshop provided by Queen Mary University in London was excellent. We were provided with a showcase of meaningful examples of how different methodologies of research contribute to new and exciting translational health outcomes. This ranged from pharmaceutical research, to the importance of community engagement for the improvement of healthcare provision. My personal favourite was looking at how arts-based methods in the field of neuropsychology have facilitated in a more nuanced understanding of dementia.

Kyja Noack-Lundberg, THRI:

A group of early career researchers, Cathy Kaplun, Catharine Fleming, Alex Hawkey, and myself, were lucky enough to win THRI Travel Awards to attend a two day workshop entitled  ‘Translational research: How to produce research that makes a difference’ at Queen Mary University of London. We learned about key debates in translational research, and explored epistemological , ethical and communications issues central to knowledge translation. As attendees were from different disciplinary backgrounds, there were impassioned discussions about ‘what counts as evidence’ and how to engage best with health consumers. This workshop highlighted the importance of community engagement from the very earliest stages of research design. Having attended the workshop, I know I will be much more reflective about project design in future research projects, and will be more attentive to ensuring that research is genuinely driven by community needs.