South West Sydney Research brings together healthcare, research and health education entities in South West Sydney as a co-ordinated Hub.


South West Sydney Research facilitates world-class research by supporting multi‑professional and multi‑centre collaboration, working to improve our competitiveness, and reducing barriers to research conduct and translation.


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Multi-institutional research

South West Sydney Research supports collaborative research

Applications for the South West Sydney Research Small Grant Scheme for 2017 are currently open.

These research grants are designed to nurture new research collaborations and support multi-institutional research spanning the south west Sydney district.


Challenges in multi-institutional research collaborations

There are countless benefits to developing multi-institutional research partnerships and collaborations.

Although collaborative research has some clear and distinct benefits, there are some challenges associated with multi-institutional research partnerships.


An interesting qualitative analysis of Australian Centres for Research Excellence (CREs) has examined some of the challenges associated with multi-institutional collaborative research, as well as some of the key solutions to these challenges.

The research, conducted by by Catherine Spooner (Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at The University of New South Wales), Lisa Lavey (School of Rural Health, Monash University), Chilandu Mukuka (Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Australian National University), and Rosslyn Eames-Brown (Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at The University of New South Wales), identified two primary points of tension across multi-institutional research collaborations: administrative processes, and interpersonal processes.


Strategies to improve your collaborative research relationships

The study investigators identified eight strategies to improve investigator engagement in the research collaboration:

  1. Choose partners wisely and utilise pre-existing research networks
  2. Nominate a skilled leader to drive the research
  3. Identify, and agree on, clear goals of the research collaboration.
  4. Clearly define the roles of different investigators from different institutions.
  5. Clearly define the expectations of in-kind contributions from participating institutions and make sure these contributions.
  6. Co-ordinate team meetings to coincide with professional activities attended by many of the investgators (i.e., key conferences or meetings).
  7. Consider the development of strong collaborative relationships as a part of your budget.
  8. Don’t rely too heavily on email communications. Teleconferences and one-to-one telephone calls can be more effective in developing strong research relationships.


Overall, you can insulate your collaborative research partnership by ensuring you are strategic and deliberate in your planning. Namely, the authors of this research suggest three key strategies that will help you tackle any collaborative research challenges: (1) plan early, (2) define clear communication structures, and (3) identify a skilled manager.

You can read the full journal article here.


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The full citation for the journal article mentioned in this post is:

Spooner, C., Lavey, L., Mukuka, C., & Eames-Brown, R. (2016). Multi-institution research centers: Planning and  management challenges. Journal of Research Administration, 47(2), 32-48.


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South West Sydney Research is committed to supporting collaborative research initiatives across the south west Sydney district. The University of New South Wales is a member of South West Sydney Research. Read more about UNSW and our other member organisations here.

Read more information about our Small Grant Scheme for 2017 here.