Health and medical research

Research is an essential component of SA Health’s mission as it supports innovation, attracts high quality staff, and delivers health, social and economic benefits for South Australians. SA Health supports research in a variety of ways, from providing facilities and infrastructure including our public hospitals and health services to conduct research, through to providing policy and guidance to assist health and medical researchers to deliver their research effectively and efficiently.

Every day the public benefits from innovations derived from health and medical research, including developing new ways to prevent disease such as a new vaccine and discovering patterns of disease that can inform better programs and health policy.

South Australia has a long history of excellence in health and medical research and has fostered world class scientists. Some examples include:

  • The Honourable Dr Basil Hetzel, AC, who pioneered work leading to the prevention of thyroid disease and intellectual disability that is associated with iodine deficiency in developing countries.
  • Professor John Hopwood and his team at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital who worked on the diagnosis and treatment of lysosomal storage disorders.
  • The work of Professor Fran Baum AO on the social determinants of health and the ongoing influence of this work on South Australian government policy.

Office for Research, SA Department for Health and Wellbeing

The Office for Research is positioned under the Chief Medical Officer within the System Leadership and Design division, SA Department for Health and Wellbeing. The Office for Research was re-established in 2016 as a Statewide Service to provide coordination and oversight of health and medical research strategy and policy for SA Health.

The main functions of the Office for Research are to:

  • develop and implement research policy across the South Australian public health system, including the SA Health Research Ethics and Governance policies
  • work collaboratively with the Local Health Network (LHN) research offices to support shared priorities, including research ethics and governance policies, standards and procedures
  • support State and Commonwealth government priorities in health and medical research, including opportunities to attract research funding to South Australia
  • support streamlining and improved coordination of research in South Australia around key priority areas including clinical trials
  • support and initiate training and development activities for SA Health staff linked with health and medical research
  • lead the procurement, implementation and ongoing support for SA Health’s research management system
  • represent SA Health on a number of National committees and groups to collaborate and coordinate improvements to the health and medical research sector including clinical trials
  • provide strategic advice and briefings to the Chief Executive, Minister and other stakeholders linked with health and medical research
  • provide executive support for the Department for Health and Wellbeing Human research Ethics Committee.

Human Research Biobanks and Associated Data

The Guidance Document for Human Research Biobanks and Associated Data (Guidance Document) draws reference from national and international sources to provide guidance to South Australian biobanks on the:

  • minimum standards required for biobanking
  • principles and best practices related to biobanking governance, business planning, funding, data management and consent; and
  • management of risks.

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