9 February 2023

Strategy a milestone for WA health and medical research

Western Australia's inaugural strategy for strengthening the State's health and medical research sector has been unveiled.

The WA Health and Medical Research Strategy sets out how the State will achieve its vision for the sector of becoming a collaborative, consumer-driven ecosystem that conducts world-leading and impactful research that is translated into practice to create improvements in health care and healthier communities.

Spanning a 10-year period, the strategy plans to leverage off existing research strengths to support and grow the sector and exploit opportunities in new areas of importance to the State.

The document also details the work that will be required to build and empower the workforce, grow partnerships, leverage the ecosystem, promote research, and ensure sustainable and diversified sources of funding across its 6 areas of focus - Aboriginal health, consumer engagement, precision health, regional and remote health, digital health and prevention.

The strategy's development followed extensive engagement with stakeholders through 5 workshops, online submissions and in-depth one-on-one sessions with critical stakeholders. It was also guided by a steering committee that included representatives from the both the Department of Health and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

More than 90 individuals representing 48 organisations operating within the research sector took part in the various consultations. They included representatives from the university and academic sector, funders, industry professionals and State-based representatives, including health service providers.

The strategy delivers the foundation for Western Australia to create a vibrant and interconnected research sector. Implementation of the strategy will begin in July 2023, managed by a dedicated team at the Department of Health.

Deputy Director General of the Department of Health, Ms Angela Kelly, described the strategy as an important milestone for the sector.

She said it provided - for the first time - a comprehensive roadmap that would help strengthen the competitiveness of WA researchers in securing national and international research funding and ensure a more robust future for health and medical research (HMR) in WA.

“We know that by strengthening the HMR sector, we will improve the quality, safety and sustainability of healthcare delivery, attract high-calibre health and medical researchers to WA and gain insights into illness and disease that will lead to improved treatments and therapies, enhancing the health and wellbeing of our community,” she said.

“The new strategy will complement existing government strategies including the Sustainable Health Review and Future Health Research and Innovation Fund and will provide important direction for the research community.”