We think they have the coolest acronym in the Australian health system, but our newly appointed Flagship Research and Education Directors (FREDs) are much more than that!

As we continue to build and progress our substantial program of research, the FREDs will play a crucial role in guiding and supporting our Program Managers and research participants on the wide range of projects we will be undertaking.

Each FRED is a highly respected leader with specific expertise in one or more of our Flagship areas of digital health. They were recruited through a competitive selection process, and have been provided as an in-kind contribution from our university participants.

What our FREDs will do

Working closely with our Program Managers and participants, the FREDs will be responsible for providing strategic advice about our research and technology activities. They will also help to keep these activities aligned to both the relevant Flagship Program and our deliverables to the Commonwealth.

The FREDs will facilitate research formulation and technology gap analysis, and will work together with our Director of Research and Chief Scientist to provide high-level oversight of projects within their assigned Flagship Program through all phases of the project lifecycle.

This will include:

  • providing guidance on the overall strategic direction of their Flagship Program
  • ensuring proposed projects are innovative and forward looking
  • providing advice on the development of project concept proposals and plans, particularly around the formulation of research objectives, methodology and deliverables
  • identifying potential new industry participants and assisting to recruit them where possible
  • acting as a liaison between academic, service and industry participants
  • identifying research expertise within, and supervisors across, our university participants
  • supervising PhD students and post-doctoral fellows
  • advising on the progress and outcomes of projects, and overseeing publications resulting from them, to ensure that research expectations are being met

We will feature a full profile on each FRED in our future newsletters, but in the interim here’s a list of the FREDs, the Flagship area they will be responsible for, and a brief background on each of them.

We warmly welcome the FREDs to our team, and look forward to working with them!


Professor James Boyd

Professor of Public Health (Digital Health), Curtin University,
and Inaugural Chair in Digital Health, Latrobe University

Flagship area – Enabling Information Discovery and Application
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

James is a Professor of Public Health at Curtin University and the inaugural Chair in Digital Health at La Trobe University. He has a strong research background and is an international expert in data linkage who will lead La Trobe’s Digital Health strategy around course development and research.

James has over 25 years’ experience working with large, national, linked population-based health administrative datasets to produce national epidemiological and management information, assisting in the monitoring and evaluation of health service performance. The resulting research using linked data supports innovation in the public sector and industry, leading to advances in preventative medicine, improvements in healthcare and better development of commercial drugs and diagnostics. It provides new insights into the understanding of causes of ill health, which in turn will guide new biomedical research discovery.


Professor Rachel Davey

Director, Health Research Institute, University of Canberra
Flagship area – Changing Health Trajectories
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

Rachel is Director of the multi-disciplinary Health Research Institute, and has over 30 years’ research experience relating to the prevention of chronic disease, health services research and evaluation, and clinical and community interventions. She has wide experience of working across the healthcare system in Australia and internationally.

Her research has focused on partnerships with local, state and national government health authorities, hospital networks, primary care, General Practice and a broad range of medical, allied health services, health professionals and consumers.

Her translational research has informed public policy in Australia and overseas in addressing physical inactivity, lifestyle behaviour risk, and broader social and environmental factors that impact on health and health outcomes. She has an international track record and ongoing research projects with large research groups in the USA, UK and Europe in chronic disease prevention and behavioural change.


Professor Steven McPhail

Professor in Health Services Research,
Queensland University of Technology

Flagship area – Intelligent Decision Support
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

Steven is a health services researcher with a passion for empowering health service providers and clinical teams to make intelligent decisions that lead to high value, safe and effective care for patients. He is both a health economist and a clinician with 15 years’ experience working in collaborative partnerships between healthcare organisations and academic institutions.

He is currently the academic director of the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation and also leads the health management discipline at the Queensland University of Technology. He has been fortunate to have been supported by NHMRC administered fellowships for the duration of his research career to-date conducting research embedded in health services.

He has a special interest in digital disruption in healthcare environments as an unprecedented opportunity for improving value-based care and reducing non-beneficial care. He is not only interested in novel technical solutions, but also the implementation and human elements of healthcare teams and patient interactions that underpin successful digital transformations, as well as their economic sustainability.


Professor Deborah Parker

Professor of Nursing Aged Care (Dementia),
University of Technology Sydney

Flagship area – Residential Aged Care
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

Deborah is Professor of Nursing Aged Care (Dementia) in the Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney. She leads the ageing research program for the Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT) Centre at UTS and has received over $35 million in research funding from the NHMRC, Australian Government and philanthropic organisations.

She is a co-lead on End of Life Directions in Aged Care, a $15 million federally funded program to improve palliative care and advance care planning for older Australians. Deborah is President of Palliative Care New South Wales, a Board Director of Carrington Care, Leigh Place and Chair of the Ageing Policy Chapter for the Australian College of Nursing. Prior to joining UTS in 2016 she was the Director of two industry-based research centres and has extensive aged care industry research networks and experience.


Professor Suzanne Robinson

Professor and Theme Leader for Health Systems and Health Economics, Curtin University
Flagship area – Rural and Remote
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

Suzanne is lead for the Health Systems and Health Economics Discipline at Curtin University, and Co-Director of the Curtin Research and Data Analytics Hub. She has been awarded competitive research grants from international and national funding agencies, and has been involved in leading health systems and health economics projects that have had a major impact on government reform initiatives.

In Australia, she has been successful in a number of industry-driven partnerships including with the WA Primary Health Alliance and WA Country Health Service – these collaborations are aimed at undertaking translational research and evaluation activity in primary care commissioning in WA.

Suzanne is passionate about using evidence to support the delivery of effective and equitable health services, and leads international research on decision making, priority setting and disinvestment in health. This work involves a number of aspects, in particular the use of health datasets to produce an evidence base to inform resource allocation decisions. She is also involved in undertaking economic evaluations alongside clinical trials.


Professor Deborah Theodorus

Director, RECOVER Injury Research Centre,
The University of Queensland

Flagship area – Rehabilitation Following Injury
More informationplease click here
Contact[email protected]

Deborah is Director of the RECOVER Injury Research Centre in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Queensland. She is a founder and co-director of the Centre for Research in Telerehabilitation (CRT) and the Telerehabilitation Clinic in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at UQ. She is a world leader in the development of telerehabilitation in speech pathology, and she has collaborated with other allied health professionals in the application of technology in clinical practice.

Prolific in research and an avid educator, Deborah has over 180 publications in telerehabilitation, speech and voice treatments, intensive therapy and clinical education. She has received just over $12 million in competitive grant funding. She continues to break new ground in ongoing studies relating to online therapy interventions and technology-enabled models of care.