Health Minister names Monash University researcher top grant applicant


Monash University Associate Professor Julian Elliott has been awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research for his leading work into ways health research data can be rapidly translated into improved patient outcomes and quality of life.

Associate Professor Elliot from the Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine was awarded the medal by the National Health and Medical Research Council NHMRC General Manager, Tony Kingdon, at a ceremony in Melbourne on 8 June.

The medal for best application recognises the achievement of an outstanding health and medical researcher who is a recipient of an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (CDF).  

The medal comes with an additional $50,000 research grant to be used by Associate Professor Elliott on top of his CDF funding.

Healthcare physician, Associate Professor Elliot, who is also a Senior Research Fellow at Cochrane Australia, said he was incredibly honoured to receive the award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

“I hope the work arising from it will result in real improvements in the ways research can be translated into better health.

“My team and our collaborators are developing and evaluating novel health data systems that make sense of health research and accelerate the translation of research into improved, evidence-based health care,” he said.

The award supports his work focusing on measures to capture and analyse all research data relevant to a particular health question. This includes the development of ‘living’ systematic reviews – high quality summaries of research, updated whenever new research is produced. These systems incorporate text mining, artificial intelligence, online software platforms, and ‘citizen science’.

Examples of this include software platform, Covidence, which is used world-wide to produce systematic reviews; and citizen science platform, Cochrane Crowd, where appropriately trained members of the public can accurately identify scientific research papers that can be incorporated into systematic reviews. Such reviews often inform critical government funding and approval decisions.

“As an HIV physician at the Alfred Hospital, I know the challenges of delivering health care that is based on the best possible research evidence. Using new technologies and ways of collaborating, we are working to make that easier. My previous research shows it is possible to use the power of motivated communities to speed up science and I hope to build on this through my Fellowship,” he said.

NHMRC General Manager Tony Kingdon said Associate Professor Elliott’s award was highly deserved.

“It is a privilege to honour the achievements of an exceptional researcher whose work is making a significant contribution to our understanding of how we can improve the speed and accuracy of translating research into practical outcomes. I congratulate Associate Professor Elliott on this award.”  

Associate Professor Elliott has published over 90 papers in leading peer reviewed scientific journals, and in the last five years has been a chief investigator on 20 grants totalling over AUD$8million.