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Director’s Message

There is international evidence that when research is embedded within healthcare services, patients receive higher quality care, outcomes improve and services are more efficient.

Australia is no different. We are in the midst of a significant transition in the way health and medical research funding is delivered, with increasing requirements for it to be relevant, for our discoveries to be more rapidly translated into clinical practice.

The Kolling Institute is unique in that it is truly embedded within a health district, the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD). This allows us to take the lead not only in the type of research we do, but how we go about conducting our research.

We continually challenge the accepted paradigms of medical research - we do not wish to measure our effectiveness in grant income or publication success alone, but in how our research positively impacts the community.

Our model enables our research discoveries to be more easily translated from bench to bedside, and for the community to have genuine input into the research we do.

Education is an integral part of our operation: through our links to the Northern Clinical School of the University of Sydney and through extensive public health education campaigns, we are able to effectively disseminate our research to deliver better healthcare.

In line with these goals, we have launched a range of new initiatives this year:

  • In the area of basic research, we have introduced the SPARK Sydney Program, hosted jointly by the Kolling Institute and the University of Technology Sydney, to enable and facilitate creative and innovative ideas to be translated into new devices, therapeutics and diagnostics that address real clinical needs. This program emulates the successful SPARK program run by Stanford University's School of Medicine and promises to progress the best research discoveries to the clinic and commercial sector within three years.
  • Our clinical research that is conducted in the living laboratory of the hospitals, clinics and community health centres of the NSLHD. We have put in place highly performing ethics and governance procedures to enable an easy approval process for all clinical studies.
  • We are directing more resources into measuring the effectiveness of our research, using information technology and big data to measure health outcomes and focus our research towards what we can show will work to improve patient outcomes.

Australia is a world leader in medical and health research, but we could do more to ensure this research achieves better real-world outcomes for patients. In 2009, the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission called for an agile, responsive and self-improving health system which would foster a culture of improvement by embedding research in clinical and health services. Four years later, the 2013 Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research (the McKeon Review) found Australia is still missing opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care by quickly adopting research discoveries.

The Kolling Institute is taking the lead to address this problem. Through the interactions between our researchers, the healthcare system and the community, we are showing how we can tailor research that is relevant to the population's health needs, implement evidence-based practices more rapidly, and translate research discoveries into new therapeutics more efficiently.

The Kolling Institute has been leading research for more than 80 years. Investment in our research today will ensure that Australia's top quality health system remains at the leading edge of care into the future. Most importantly, an investment in our research is an investment in the health of the community.