The grant will establish Sydney Cancer Partners, a five-year program that will optimise cancer research translation by building capacity, capability and consumer involvement.

A key element of the program will involve embedding research as a discipline in the multi-disciplinary care of patients with cancer.

One novel approach will include pairing clinicians with researchers through joint fellowships, to better enable the process by which research addresses clinically relevant questions.

“It will build our capacity to make research a part of everyday clinical care and increase our ability to investigate questions that will improve patient outcomes,” said Sydney Cancer Partners Chief Investigator Professor Anna DeFazio.

“Importantly this grant will build teams of young clinicians and researchers, each bringing their own skills to a partnership that will increase impact on clinical care.”

Sydney Cancer Partners will also fund PhD scholarships and provide seed funding to enable the gathering of pilot data for larger research grant applications.

The Executive Director of Sydney Health Partners, Professor Don Nutbeam, has welcomed the grant from CINSW, describing it as a vote of confidence in the Partnership as an NHMRC-accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC).

“Sydney Health Partners is a collaboration between four major health services, a world-leading university and ten medical research institutes, which seeks to translate research discoveries more efficiently and effectively into evidence-based healthcare.”

“At the heart of our strategy is the creation of clinical academic collaborations like Sydney Cancer Partners, which bring together clinicians and researchers to build capacity and capability, enhance research support, advance the science of research translation and link great ideas to health service priorities.”

Sydney Cancer Partners will collaborate with the other two NSW research translation centres, Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) and NSW Regional Health Partners, on state-wide cancer research capacity-building initiatives.

Professor DeFazio, who is a leading ovarian cancer researcher and also the head of the Centre for Cancer Research at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, believes the Sydney Cancer Partners program will be able to leverage lessons learned by her and others in previous collaborations with clinicians.

“We’ve learnt that we can improve our research questions, so that they address intractable clinical challenges,” she said.

“Dedicated funding is sometimes needed to tweak research aims to make the results more useful to clinicians and their patients – and sometimes a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges of cancer treatment can inspire fruitful avenues of research.”

Professor DeFazio says the grant will build on the gains made by the Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Centres over the last decade.

“Sydney Cancer Partners is a wonderful opportunity to build on collaborations and gains made through the TCRCs - Sydney West, Sydney Catalyst, Sydney Vital, and the Kids Cancer Alliance-Westmead - as well as harnessing the considerable cancer research strengths of the University of Sydney and its Cancer Research Network.”