Flinders Caring Futures Institute researcher Professor Sue Gordon, Professor of Healthy Ageing, will lead a transformative new aged care research centre that aims to transform the way Australia supports its ageing society.
Flinders University and consultancy firm Wells Advisory will jointly establish the $34 million Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research.
The three-year initiative will develop innovative new products and services and is supported by the Australian Government, bolstered by significant in-kind contributions from supporting partners.
Prof Gordon says the Centre will develop and deliver translational research projects reflecting the sector’s priorities and will be reviewed annually.
“The most important outcome will be to drive growth in the provision of aged care that is aligned with innovation and based on increased workforce capacity and capability, enabling change that is safe, delivers high quality outcomes, and increases the opportunity for all Australians to enjoy healthy, well-supported ageing,” she says.
The establishment of the Centre is in response to Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy and supported by the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
In delivering the Centre, Flinders University will draw on expertise from the Caring Futures Institute, the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying, the Medical Device Partnering Program, as well as its wider supporting partner consortium.
Prof Gordon will lead all research activities of the Centre and deliver workforce capability and capacity.
Together with fellow Flinders researcher Professor Karen Reynolds, Caring Futures Institute’s Better Systems theme lead, Professor Gillian Harvey, will also play a part in the new Centre, leading delivery of an aged care partnering and grant program.
Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying Director Professor Jennifer Tieman will lead development of a knowledge and implementation hub.
The Centre is supported by 73 collaborative partners including consumer advocacy and representative groups, aged care service providers, research organisations, translation and commercial partners, social enterprise organisations, peak bodies, workforce development organisations and the South Australian Government.
In addition to employing 30 staff and delivering 600 internships for aged care workers the Centre will fund around 60 translational research grants to improve aged care.
Opportunities for industry and community to engage with the Centre will include hands-on research project involvement, the sharing of skills and knowledge, and significant developments in workforce education and training.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint says Flinders University has demonstrated its research strengths in the aged care sector for many years, and the Aged Care Centre will further position the University as a national centre for aged care research and development.
“By taking on this considerable and privileged task, we will harness our own research expertise and engage researchers from across Australia to effectively address national aged care challenges with real and meaningful change – because we can’t afford to leave behind the Australians who got us to where we are today,” he says.
“The Centre will enable aged care staff and our researchers, to carry out research projects in collaboration with our industry partners, directly facilitating improvements in the sector as a result. We’ll apply the research through education and training programs to introduce innovations and improve caring practices, to the benefit of the aged members in our community.”
Translation and commercialisation activities of the Centre will be developed through partnership with Wells Advisory, a management consulting firm with significant experience guiding commercial strategy development across the higher education and research sectors.
“We’ll be looking for ways the market can help drive important innovations in aged care delivery that translate and apply research in a commercial context,” explains Michael Wells, Managing Director of Wells Advisory Australia, and UK.