CDU's Graduate School for Health Practice a hub for research excellence 


Charles Darwin University’s Graduate School for Health Practice has some of Australia’s most productive researchers in terms of success in research grants. They are also midwives and nurses.

Over the past 18 months, four members of the Graduate School for Health Practice at CDU have been successful in their applications as chief investigators on seven new Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants.

An eighth grant, led by co-director of the Graduate School Professor Lesley Barclay, will finish at the end of 2007.

Professor Barclay said that the recent success demonstrated the School’s commitment to building local research capacity to inform health policy and practice.

“This small team of four and others in the team have been operating well beyond capacity and demonstrates high-quality research expertise over a variety of areas,” she said.

“We lead three of these grants ourselves and are partnered with colleagues from five Australian universities, one Canadian university and the Menzies School of Health Research on others. We have also attracted eight PhD students since we were formed in late 2005, four of whom are attached to two of these grants.

“Our average staff success rate in relation to these competitive grants is over 70%. This is much higher than the national norm which sits around the 20-25% mark.”

Professor Barclay also pointed to a highly successful consultancy portfolio currently in operation which allows the team to contribute internationally.

“The recent Commonwealth intervention has also placed our work in relation to families and small children in the Northern Territory to the forefront.

“One of the objectives underpinning much of our work is to work with the health industry to develop strategies and innovation around health service development in the Territory and internationally,” she said.

Over the 2007/2008 period, this small team has already published 21 refereed journal articles, 16 book chapters, three conference publications, and three major reports. They also have 10 refereed journal articles chapters in press with one co-edited book to be published in 2008.

The School’s team of four researchers is currently involved in the following major competitive grants with other smaller projects being conducted also:

  • Professor Barclay currently leads two ARC and one NHMRC grants and is chief investigator on two others;
  • Associate Professor Midwifery, Sue Kildea, is chief investigator on three NHMRC grants as well as undertaking a joint appointment with the Department of Health and Community Services;
  • Professor Nursing-Clinical Practice, Sandra Dunn, is chief investigator on an ARC and NHMRC grant;
  • Senior Lecturer Child Health, Dr Sue Kruske, is chief investigator on one NHMRC grant as well as undertaking a joint appointment.