Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Award to WAHTN

In the 2017 Federal Budget, $10million was allocated to the 7 accredited AHRTC’s and the 2 accredited CIRH’s; $2million to each of the 4 initial AHRTC’s (South Australia, Monash, Melbourne and Sydney) and $2million to be shared across all centres for programs of national significance. The accredited centres comprise membership of the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA), which agreed on 4 areas of support; health care systems; data handling and security; Aboriginal Health; Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) in health research. WAHTN has representation on steering committees for all these initiatives, and co-chairs the CCI initiative with Sydney Partners.

The budget allocation for the shared programs is $222K per centre. WAHTN will use that money to drive three initiatives: 1. Consumer and Community Initiatives (CCI) Project (led by John Challis, Anne McKenzie and Pip Brennan); 2. Raine Secure Data Project (led by Leon Straker and Peter Eastwood); 3. Biobank Project (led by Aron Chakera).

Project outlines and deliverables are as follows:

1. Consumer and Community Initiatives (CCI) Project
Description: Consumers increasingly are involved in the design, conduct and output translation of biomedical and health research. Consumer involvement in biomedical research speeds and enhances the quality of translation of research outcomes. Presently there is no proper assessment of consumer involvement across Australia, no national standard and no comparison with international best practice. This project will provide an environmental scan of CCI activities across the AHRA network, make comparison to international (including UK, Canada, USA) efforts and recommend models to enhance consumer involvement in health research across the country.

Outcomes: Include a report scan of Australian CCI, comparison with international best practice and recommendation for implementation in Australia.

2. Raine Secure Data Project
Description: Australian health and medical research is increasingly collaborative across institutions, states and countries. Collaborative teams require secure analysis and archive spaces that are well governed, easy to access, technically secure, provide the appropriate analytic tools and can archive completed analyses for peer scrutiny subsequent to their publication. This project will develop a secure data analysis and archive space, using the Raine Cohort as exemplar that can then be developed and applied nationally.

Outcomes: Include a pilot study of processes and software developed to enhance data security in a known cohort, the Raine Study, and make recommendations for future development and scale.

3. Biobank Project
Description: There is a need in WA, and elsewhere to establish a harmonised sample collection, storage, curation and management system, that will allow ethically acceptable standardisation across cohorts and registries. The project, which can be scaled to national activity, will produce an international scan of biobank resources, facilities ethics and economics across Australia, the UK and Japan. In Japan, the Sendai experience has generated a facility that is an international exemplar of excellence. Business models will be compared leading to a recommendation for establishment of a facility that will be State wide, and harmonised with the best comparators in the Country.

Outcomes: Include a scan and report of biobank facilities and resources in WA, best in Australia, UK, USA and Japan and recommendations for implementation at a local, state and national scale.