6 July  2015
eNews # 18


The value of industry – research partnerships

Dear colleagues and friends of ISCRR,

Recently there has been much discussion amongst government and the academic sector about the future of industry/academic partnerships in Australia.
In late May the Commonwealth Government announced a new strategy on Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research which proposed 14 actions to improve the collaboration and connection between business and the research sector to support national productivity and economic growth.  In March the Miles review of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program was delivered, proposing a stronger alignment of the CRC program with the new Industry Growth Centres, and a greater focus on commercialisation of research.
Underpinning these approaches is a focus on partnership and collaboration between researchers and end-users of research.
This is also fundamental to the operating model of ISCRR.
We are a partnership between a top tier research intensive University and two major state government agencies with important public health objectives. Our mission is to develop, deliver and translate research that has a positive impact on our government partners and by extension, motorists, workers and employers in the state.
After more than six years of operation we have many examples of success. In May we hosted a Business Breakfast exploring how a partnership between the Transport Accident Commission, Monash University and ISCRR was driving innovation in supported accommodation for people with severe injury, and improving their lives. This is just one of many projects supported under our successful neurotrauma research program.
Through a similar partnership with WorkSafe Victoria, we are helping to improve return to work outcomes for injured Victorian workers. This includes research that has developed insights to support the Health Benefits of Safe Work program, including studies of the role of General Practitioners in return to work.
There are many other examples within our research portfolio.
Such partnerships are not easily made. They require long-term commitments from partners with multiple and at times conflicting needs. Compromise is almost always required. Our experience at ISCRR is that the value-add of partnership approaches outstrips the additional resource, time and effort invested.

In This Issue: We introduce our up and coming events with a few exciting opportunities for our readers including a Vulnerable Worker Forum in August, we take a birds-eye view of some recent research activity, Dr Verna Smith, Research Lead, Improving Trauma Care reports back on the her experience of International Spinal Cord Society Conference (ISCOS) 2015, we hear from Professor Jamie Cooper, Director of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC), Monash University.

All the best,

Prof. Alex Collie

Research Update - Outputs, Outputs, Outputs

Latest Report out from OHS Leading Indicators - Research to improve health and Safety in the education sector

Last week saw ISCRR support the release of the latest report from Prof. Helen De Cieri, Monash Business School at Monash University
and her research team from  the OHS Leading Indicators research project.

This research program for ISCRR's Safe and Healthy Workplaces theme aims to identify, develop and validate a scale that could be used to obtain a simple, reliable, valid, preliminary measurement of the leading indicators of OHS performance in Victorian workplaces.  

Stress and burnout were among some of the health and safety concerns raised by Australian Education Union (AEU) members working in schools, TAFEs and other education services. This survey of nearly 5000 members of the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union also found that 51 per cent of their members had experienced an occupational health and safety incident in the previous year. 

Below are the research reports to date produced by the project so far.

View Measuring the leading indicators of OHS - A snapshot review

View Leading indicators of occupational health and safety: A report on a survey of Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) members.

View Leading indicators of occupational health and safety: A report on a survey of Australian Education Union (Victorian Branch) members.

Latest Research Outputs from ISCRR

For many people, technology is changing the way they carry out daily life - what does this mean for accessing brain injury support. Rietdijk, R., Togher, L., Power, E., Brunner, M. Telehealth services: Accessing brain injury support via the Internet. Bridge magazine, March 2015, Volume 18, p25

Improving Trauma Care:
Highlighting the need for interventions that address premorbid issues, such as substance abuse and mental health issues. Spitz, G, Downing, MG, McKenzie, D, Ponsford, JL. Mortality following traumatic brain injury inpatient rehabilitation. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. J Neurotrauma. 2015 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Allied health supports should be targeted towards reducing the impact of and compensating for barriers such as reduced initiative in order to maximize productive outcomes in this group. Willmott, C., Spitz, G.,& Ponsford, J. Predictors of productivity outcomes for secondary and tertiary students following traumatic brain injury. Brain Inj. 2015 May 12:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

The ability to predict costs following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) would assist in planning treatment and support services by healthcare providers, insurers and other agencies. Spitz, G., McKenzie, D., Attwood, D., Ponsford, J.L. Cost prediction following traumatic brain injury: Model development and validation. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 18. pii: jnnp-2014-309479. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2014-309479. [Epub ahead of print]

What has been happening with VOTOR? Take a look at this annual report  Victorian Orthopaedic Trauma Outcomes Registry (VOTOR) Annual Report July 2013 - June 2014 or check out:

Primary Care:
What do employers think of GPs role in return to work? New @ISCRR study published. Kosny, A., Brijnath, B., Singh, N., Allen, A., Collie, A., Ruseckaite, R., Mazza, Danielle. Uncomfortable bedfellows: employer perspectives on general practitioners' role in the return-to-work process. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety. 2015 June 01. Issue 1, pp. 65-76(12).  

Mental ill health after road traffic injury is common, as is the use of antidepressant medication after injury. Little is known about antidepressant use by injured people prior to their injury. Use of antidepressant medication after road traffic injury. Berecki-Gisolf et al., Injury, July 2015.

Research Translation:
To determine whether research has an impact on public health outcomes, we first need to assess to what extent research has been used and how it has been used. Type, frequency and purpose of information used to inform public health policy and program decision-making. Zardo et al., BMC Public Health. 2015 May.   

Evidence-Informed Claims Management:
IMEs complicate psych therapy, exacerbate psych injury & fail the procedural fairness test - but redesign can help. Kilgour, E., Kosny, A., Akkermans, A., Collie, A. Procedural Justice and the Use of Independent Medical Evaluations in Workers’ Compensation. Psychological Injury and Law. 2015 June. Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 153-168.

What’s happening at ISCRR

My Experience of International Spinal Cord Society Conference (ISCOS) 2015 

The 2015  ISCOS Conference was held in Montreal in May this year. Victoria’s spinal cord clinicians and researchers were very visible at the event, presenting their research funded by ISCRR and learning more about how to support people living with spinal cord injury.

ISCRR’s very own Dr Verna Smith, Research Lead for Improving Trauma Care reports back on the event for those of us who were not able to attend.

Dr Andrew Nunn, Director of the Victorian Spinal Cord Service, presented a poster detailing the rate type and cost of secondary complications of spinal cord injury in Victorians up to two years after spinal cord injury. The findings of the research conducted by Professor Belinda Gabbe of Monash Department of Epidemiological Medicine and Dr Nunn confirmed the significant burden of illness for people with spinal cord injury and the considerable medical costs in the first two years after spinal cord injury arising from their frequent readmissions to hospital.

Natasha van Zyl, Surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, presented a session on her research on patient outcomes from her world-leading techniques for nerve transfers to restore hand functioning for people with quadriplegia which made a major impression on fellow surgeons and resulted in the beginnings of an international multi-site approach to improving the quality and availability of this surgery. 

Janette Alexander, Clinical Research Liaison Officer at the VSCS, presented a poster on ‘Maximising research participation while empowering patients: a new clinical research model.’ This model involves a central liaison role that facilitates SCI research at the VSCS. This includes screening and recruitment of all patients admitted with a newly acquired spinal cord injury into acute clinical trials. The role has facilitated much of ISCRR’s funded spinal cord research including the CAUSES project and an important new research project which is tracking the implementation of clinical behaviour change in practice at the VSCS which follows from the findings in the secondary complications research.    

Dr Verna Smith, ISCRR Research Lead, Improving Trauma Care chaired a breakfast session on International Collaborations: Building A Framework for International Research in SCI, together with colleague research funding organisations from Canada, the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI)  and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and Dr Kim Anderson-Erisman of the Miami Project USA. At this workshop the results of two surveys were reported:  people with spinal cord injury were asked what helped or hindered them from participating in spinal cord injury research and researchers were asked about the major barriers and enablers they found in setting up or participating in international multi-sit research on spinal cord injury research. Improving their own functionality and helping future injured people were major motivators among the 600 people with spinal cord injury who took part in the survey. For the 213 researchers, funding, personal relationships and networks were the major facilitators for their research collaborations. Good progress towards defining a framework to support better participation by both people with spinal cord injury and researchers in multi-site trials was made at the meeting.   

Spinal Cord Injury and Primary Care Workshop – the day after the conference, a large group of Australian and Canadian clinicians, researchers and funders met to discuss the challenges, research gaps and strategies to improve SCI care in the community and to agree next steps to advance a research and care agenda in this area. Canada offered some great examples of mobility clinics, accessible for people with spinal cord injury whether they need a general practice consultation or have a specific spinal cord injury-related condition to manage.  The Australians presented their new program of research to explore the lived experience of people with spinal cord injury as they manage secondary complications, particularly urinary tract infections in the community. The research will document their perceptions of bladder management care and urological complications, focusing on experience with carers and health care providers, services and information supplied, current bladder management practices and social participation and financial impacts.
Go here to find out more on some of the researchers referenced above or other ISCRR SCI research projects  or if you are interested in finding out more contact Verna on

2015 Look Ahead - Upcoming Events


The 2015 ISCRR events calendar is filling up fast. The following provides a snapshot of what’s coming down the track from ISCRR. As event dates are subject to change, you should check our  website for future updates and we will be providing additional information to our mailing list closer to the event dates.

Save the dates in your calendar today or even better register!

ISCRR Vulnerable Worker Forum
17 August 2015, Melbourne

‘Health and safety amongst vulnerable workers in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities’

Get involved and start the conversation at this this FREE Research Forum.

When? 17 August 2015. Registration commences at 8.30am. The Forum will run from 9.00am – 1.00pm.
This will be followed with a delicious networking lunch.

Where? The Auditorium, Ground Floor, Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

The number of workers in vulnerable or precarious employment relationships is growing. Workers on short‐term contracts, migrant workers, older workers and others may have fewer health and safety protections than workers with more traditional and more secure employment relationships.

This Research Forum will explore issues relating to health and safety in vulnerable workers in Australia. Participants will discuss the major challenges and opportunities for government, industry/employers and workers. The Forum aims to make current research relevant, interesting and accessible to all.

There will be a short introduction to the topic by Professor Alex Collie, CEO, ISCRR followed by presentations on recently completed research locally, nationally and internationally focussed on migrant workers. Presenters will include:
  • Dr Agnieszka Kosny, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  • Associate Professor Alison Reid, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Western Australia
  • Ms Monica O’Dywer, Adult Migrant English Service (AMES), Melbourne
The event will end with a panel discussion with a question and answer session before a networking lunch. Download the flyer here.

This Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) is Australia’s only Research Institute dedicated to studying injury compensation systems and their social, health, and economic impact.

We would appreciate your RSVP as soon as possible or by the 7 August 2015 for catering purposes. For further information or to RSVP, please contact:

ISCRR/AIDIN Community Forum
18 August 2015, Geelong

"The Journey Through Traumatic Brain Injury" 

As part of Brain Injury Awareness Week Geelong - 17th - 23rd August 2015 - ISCRR and the Australian Injury and Disability Insurance Network (AIDIN) are running a community forum and an expo of service providers and community organisations.

 The forum will kick off at 10am - 1pm and will take place at the National Wool Museum, 26 Moorabool Street, Geelong. It will feature presentations from researchers, including:
  • “What happens following brain injury”: Professor Jennie Ponsford, Monash University, describes the way brain injury affects many aspects of life after the injury
  • “Hospital to home”: Associate Professor Natasha Lannin, La Trobe University, describes new ways of helping people with brain injury and their families make the transition from the hospital to living back in the community.
This is a FREE event and morning tea will be provided. An expo of service providers and community organisations will also be taking place concurrently at the Wool Museum for attendees.
This event will be of particular interest to people living with Acquired Brain Injury and their families and carers. Please share with those who you feel would benefit.
We would appreciate it if anyone interested in attending would let us know so catering numbers can be confirmed on: or by calling: +61 3 9903 8610.
Click here to download poster.

IICSOT: If I Could Say One Thing...
Kicks off 26 August 2015, Melbourne

Interested in hearing the latest take-home messages from safety and compensation research in a relaxed, informal setting?

The IICSOT event series will consist of five short, sharp interactive forums, each featuring presentations from leading academic and industry researchers, providing attendees with a chance to exchange ideas. 

Wednesday 26 August 2015
Wednesday 25 November 2015
Wednesday 24 February 2016 
Wednesday 27 April 2016 
Wednesday 19 June 2016

All events are FREE and will take place from Midday - 1.30pm and will include a standing lunch with networking opportunities.

Rydges Melbourne Hotel, 186 Exhibition St, Melbourne (right next door to WorkSafe Victo

To register please email  

Design for Success 

Designing Smarter Supported Accommodation Business Breakfast a Triumph

Pictured left to right are speakers at the event including: Ms Libby Callaway, Researcher, Occupational Therapy Department, Monash University; Dr Clarissa Martin, Research Lead Health and Disability, ISCRR; Joseph Lawrence, Director, Industry Partnerships, Monash University; Prof Nigel Bertram, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University and Ms Janet Dore,Chief Executive Officer,TAC.

Monash Univserity hosted another successful Unigateway Business Breakfast with over 100 professionals in attendance. 

This business breakfast explored how a collaborative partnership between Monash University, ISCRR, the TAC and people with disabilities drives innovation in supported accommodation and improving the lives of people who live there. International collaborations in clinical research are critical to advance spinal cord injury research and care. Benefits of international collaborations include increased participant numbers, efficiency in resourcing, shared learnings of best practices and access to innovative new therapies.

Click here to view the slides featured as part of Dr Clarissa's Martin's presentation. 

A big thank you to all those who attended. 


Meet our Researchers - Finding the Answers that help ISCRR make a Difference

Professor Jamie Cooper manages an expansive portfolio of research in intensive care medicine and mentors the next generation of clinician-scientists.

In his multi-faceted career at Monash University and Alfred Health, Professor Cooper has played significant leadership roles as clinician, researcher, educator and mentor. 

Under his leadership, the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) at Monash University has earned an international reputation for training critical care specialists in the methodology and execution of clinical research and pivotal multi-centre trials. 

His research has challenged prevailing dogmas and led to improved patient outcomes and major financial savings to the Australian healthcare system.

Professor Jamie Cooper is one of over 60 researchers who make up the ISCRR research network. Many who form part of ISCRR’s network of researchers, like Jamie, help ISCRR find the answers which help make a difference to people entering the healthcare system with neurotrauma.

Click here to read more from our interview with Professor Cooper.

Final Reminder!
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research 2015 Research Forum

Theme: Rehabilitation and Recovery After Injury

A research forum will held by the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research  (JWCRR) in Sydney. The Forum brings together the research leaders of the JWCRR and key interstate colleagues to explore important issues relating to injury, rehabilitation and recovery.

Date and Time: Monday 27 July 2015 with registrations at 8.30am and post Forum networking from 4.15pm - 5pm.
Location: Auditorium, Level 5, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, RNSH, St Leonards, NSW
Cost: This event is free. However registration is essential. Please register by Monday 20 July 2015 by emailing Dr Nieke Elbers,

The event programme includes:

  • Chair Prof. Ashley Craig (JWCRR)
  • Mr Don Ferguson, General Manager, Lifetime Care and Support Authority, NSW: Introduction
  • John Walsh AM, Board member of the National Disability Insurance Agency: video presentation: The value of research in assisting scheme planning and analysis
  • Prof. Ian Cameron (JWCRR): Reply: Research informing the development of NIIS, NDIS, and injury compensation schemes: what is needed?
  • Prof. Michele Sterling Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries & Associate Director of the Centre of National Research on Disability & Rehabilitation Medicine Griffith University: Whiplash Associated Disorders: latest evidence for rehabilitation and recovery
 - Clinical approaches to musculoskeletal injury (Prof. Ian Cameron JWCRR)
 - Psychological injury and recovery following physical injury (Prof. Ashley Craig JWCRR)
 - Effectiveness of physiotherapy interventions for people with spinal cord injuries (Assoc Prof. Lisa Harvey JWCRR)
  • Prof. Alex Collie CEO of ISCRR, Monash University: Back to the Future: 10 principles for achieving a health focused model of injury compensation

 - Severe TBI (Prof. Robyn Tate JWCRR)
 - Epidemiological perspectives of musculoskeletal injury (Assoc. Prof. Bamini Gopinath JWCRR)
 - Improving the management of pain in spinal cord injury:  translating research into practice (Assoc. Prof. James Middleton JWCRR)

Injury Schemes Seminar 2015
Road to Recovery

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