Academics play a vital role in CRCs

General 1 March 2019

Professor Barry Drake has spent the past 20 years watching what digital transformation has accomplished in the finance, imaging, communications, marketing and political sectors and has often been surprised by the many opportunities for digital transformation that have, by and large, bypassed the health sector.

With a background in computer science, Professor Drake has worked in the technology space since the 1980s with organisations such as the Navy, Telstra, SBS and Canon, where he spent over 13 years forming and delivering research and development (R&D) projects at Canon’s R&D lab in Sydney.

Now an Industry Professor at University Technology Sydney (UTS), Professor Drake splits his time between closely engaging with industry and government and conducting research in computer science and data analytics. His focus area is the health system and the organisations that form it.

With the health sector now poised to bring about much needed digital change, Professor Drake sees the importance of consistent and continual academic input into the DHCRC.  His views are shared by Dr Victor Pantano, the new CEO of the DHCRC.

“Academic involvement in CRC’s is vital.  Together, our academics bring us the ability to create a deep and connected understanding of issues facing health systems and the organisations involved. Also, they are trained in finding strong solutions to those issues. This means they can work with us to identify the key research areas we need to focus on and help us to define the questions we need to ask and the research programs we will use to address them.” says Dr Victor Pantano.

When it comes to the benefits to academics, both Dr Pantano and Professor Drake see it as a golden opportunity to provide academics with a new perspective and access to large numbers of real-world pressing challenges. 

“Working in a CRC presents an attractive prospect for those academics who measure their impact by how the world is changed though their research.” says Dr Pantano.  “They get an amazing overview of what our research institutions are working on, the capacity they have as well as insights into what problems our industry participants are facing.  It offers an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of research in the digital health field.”

When asked about the contribution he would like to make to health, Professor Drake had this to say: “As a scientist I value evidence and improvement. I see data as a fuel for these. I hope that the DHCRC can make big changes in the way that the health system uses data by creating valuable, successful case studies.”

“This will involve getting data flowing where is has not flowed before, connecting it where there have previously been barriers, and applying the state of the art in intelligent data processing and visualisation.”

Looking at the partners of the DHCRC, both Dr Pantano and Professor Drake are confident that this should be possible in all the identified settings of care.

Dr Pantano advised that he will shortly be seeking expressions of interest from academics to work with the DHCRC to drive the research agenda in specific Flagship areas.

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