Sydney Health Partners has commenced a new era by appointing six research translation collaborations as Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs).

Each new Group will deliver a program of activities which supports more rapid and systemic translation of research evidence into improved clinical practice and addresses the health and medical priorities of SHP’s health service partners.

The CAGs will address the most important causes of ill-health such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal health, as well as significant challenges in clinical practice including care of the frail elderly and successful perioperative care.  The sixth Group will focus on rapidly emerging knowledge about methods and best practices in virtual care.

The Groups will develop multi-disciplinary networks and build capacity for research translation, especially among early and mid-career clinician researchers. Each CAG will also receive seed funding to develop a collaborative research translation project for an externally funded grant application.

The six CAGs were chosen following a highly competitive process involving 35 applicant groups, representing 340 researchers from Sydney Health Partners’ 15 member organisations. Each application went through external review and eleven shortlisted candidates were subsequently interviewed before the final decisions were ratified by the Board of Sydney Health Partners.

Executive Director of Sydney Health Partners, Professor Don Nutbeam, says the successful applicants were assessed as having a clear focus on research translation and the highest potential to make a positive impact on SHP’s health services and patient outcomes.

“We are delighted with the extraordinary response to our call for applications and disappointed that we’re only in a position to support six of the many outstanding proposals we received in this round,” he said.

“My congratulations to the new CAGs, all of which greatly impressed the reviewers and selection panel. These are exemplary multi-disciplinary and collaborative groups which represent the best of our Partnership.”

The Clinical Academic Groups will serve as a focal point for Sydney Health Partners’ research translation activities in areas that align with priorities of its health service partners.

“The Groups will be a mechanism to enable delivery on our operational priorities, including facilitating research translation and supporting the next generation of clinician researchers,” said Professor Nutbeam.

“Improving the translation of research evidence into sustained change in clinical practice requires effective collaborations between researchers and clinicians. These groups have great potential to deliver this collaboration across our partnership.”

CAG Program Manager, Andria Ratchford, says each of the groups has a multi-disciplinary leadership team.

“Each CAG is made up of 10 individuals with expertise across the clinical discipline, as well as others engaged with the implementation of clinical outcomes such as nursing, allied health, public health, or medical administration,” she said.

“While the specific form and functions of each CAG may vary, all will be expected to engage in building capacity and capability, ensuring community and consumer involvement in research, fostering collaboration and improving impact and competitiveness in research translation.”

The CAGs will be reviewed annually and a second round of selection for an additional four-to-six Sydney Health Partners CAGs is anticipated in the second half of 2022.

Professor Nutbeam says the Board of Sydney Health Partners is enormously impressed with the interest and commitment demonstrated in the applications.

“The Board is keen to see the newly-formed groups which were not selected in this round flourish over time, so we strongly encourage all the groups to continue to work together using established networks and resources within the Partnership,” said Professor Nutbeam.

“In the meantime, SHP will continue to work with all our research communities to offer resources, support and events that enhance research translation.”

Clinical Academic Groups


Chairs: Professor Clara Chow (Westmead Applied Research Centre, WSLHD and the University of Sydney) and Professor Gemma Figtree (Kolling Institute , NSLHD and the University of Sydney

Geriatric Medicine

Chair: Professor Sarah Hilmer (Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District)

Perioperative Care of Surgical Patients

Chair: Dr Sarah Joy Aitken (Concord Hospital - Sydney Local Health District)

Sydney Cancer Partners

Chair: Professor Anna DeFazio (University of Sydney and Westmead Institute for Medical Research, WSLHD)

Sydney Musculoskeletal

Chairs: Professor Cathie Sherrington (University of Sydney) and Professor Manuela Ferreira (University of Sydney)

Virtual Care

Chair: Professor Tim Shaw (Research in Implementation Science and eHealth Group, University of Sydney) and Professor Clara Chow (Westmead Applied Research Centre, WSLHD)