Funding to Strengthen Consumer and Community Involvement in Research

To strengthen consumer and community involvement in research, the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) has been granted close to $1M in funding from the Australian government through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The MRFF supports researchers with conducting ground-breaking medical research discoveries to help improve diagnosis, treatment and care for people with various health conditions.

AHRA Research Translation Centres leading this research include Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, Western Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN), and Maridulu Budyari Gumal Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE), together with the Consumers Health Forum of Australia.

Project Lead and Executive Director of Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, Professor Helena Teede said this research will help to embed consumer and community involvement (CCI) in research to improve relevance, translation and health impact.

“Consumer and community involvement (CCI) in health care research refers to the active partnership between researchers, health professionals and people or carers with a lived experience who may be affected by or benefit from the research or healthcare improvement project.”

“AHRA recognises the role of consumers and communities as the funders and beneficiaries of both healthcare and health research in Australia. We endorse their importance as active and valued partners in shaping research priorities, the co-design and delivery of research and its translation, to address the needs of Australians including underserved populations.”

“Whilst we have seen some progress toward effective consumer and community involvement from researchers and health providers, we still have a long way to go. Behavioural and implementation science are vital to guide how to embed genuine, best practice CCI in research and deliver value and improved outcomes to our community,” said Professor Teede.

Head of the Consumer and Community Involvement Program at WAHTN, Ms Debra Langridge, and Lead of Consumer and Community Involvement and Engagement at SPHERE, Ms Ainslie Cahill said the funding recognises years of work undertaken in this area.

“Our shared vision for this research is to see CCI as intrinsic to and embedded in the operations of all research bodies, reflecting genuine sharing of power, mutual trust and shared belief in its value.”

“This funding builds on work led by the Research Translation Centres over a number of years and is an exciting opportunity to work together and build a national knowledge hub to strengthen consumer and community involvement. We know that involving people with a lived experience in research ensures that research outcomes are responsive and relevant to the needs and preferences of the people and communities it is meant to serve. We are excited to generate new knowledge and implement evidence-based solutions to embed CCI in research to make a real difference in the lives of researchers, health professionals and patients,” said Ms Langridge and Ms Cahill.

The research aims to:

  • Build a network of engaged and upskilled consumers
  • Develop an innovative digital knowledge and practice hub for tools and resources
  • Generate new knowledge to enable behavioural change towards consumer and community involvement
  • Introduce implementation resources to enable national scale-up.
  • Engage under-represented community groups in health research, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This $999,128.90 grant through the MRFF is for the project titled Consumer and Community Involvement; Implementation Research for Impact (CCIRI). This project is among a total of 193 projects announced by Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler MP.

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