Students cast critical eyes over research programs

Two long-standing Department of Health research funding programs – Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF) and Research Translation Projects (RTP) – are themselves going under the microscope.

iPrep PHD students
iPrep PhD students from left: Adnan Mannan, Kamari Houlis, Joanne Baitz and Niranjani Wickramasinghe.

They are being reviewed by four PhD students who are spending six weeks working in the Research Development Unit (RDU) as part of an industry-placement initiative.

Known as iPrep WA, the initiative involves short-term industry placements for small teams of PhD students. The arrangements are mutually beneficial with students gaining valuable industry experience. Their industry sponsor (in this case the RDU), benefits from the students’ enthusiasm, specialised skills and expertise.

Joanne Baitz, an art history doctoral student from the University of WA (UWA) and Adnan Mannan, a pharmacy and biomedical science doctoral student from Curtin University will report on the MHRIF program which provides infrastructure funding to established, high-performing researchers.

The pair will investigate various aspects of the program including its importance to researchers, research institutes and the state more broadly.

Evaluation of the RTP program by UWA educational psychology doctoral student Kamari Houlis and Curtin public health doctoral student Niranjani Wickramasinghe will include assessments of its benefits and cost savings to the WA health system.

The students say their different academic and cultural backgrounds bring complementary skills to their respective projects, and that they are enjoying working together in a team environment after working independently for so long.