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As an Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC) Sydney Health Partners is a recognised world leader in research and the translation of evidence into excellent patient care.
We bring together research, education and health care delivery - recognising that the best health care for our patients and community is provided where cutting edge research is undertaken.
Our Partnership also has a strong research and translation focus in the education of our health professionals, delivering better care for our patients and community.
To be recognised as an AHRTC, Sydney Health Partners met the following six criteria:
Research translation or translational research?
The terms research translation and translational research are sometimes used interchangeably. This can lead to confusion as they are two different concepts.1
Research translation is fundamentally about bridging the gap between knowledge gained through research, and its application in policy and practice. Research translation equates with other terms used internationally such as knowledge translation, knowledge transfer and exchange, research uptake and research utilisation. The following definition for knowledge translation (KT) from the World Health Organization is commonly used:
"The synthesis, exchange, and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation in strengthening health systems and improving people's health".2
Examples of research translation include rapid reviews of evidence; the inclusion of evidence when developing practice guidelines, the implementation of new tested technologies, and the redesign of healthcare services incorporating best available evidence. Stopping practices that research has shown to be ineffective, harmful or to not have high value (for example, the use of antibiotics for the common cold) can also be examples of research translation.
Translational research describes research that enables the movement of knowledge from bench to bedside to community along the continuum from basic sciences research to population health research.3,4,5 Translational research is usually described as occurring in phases (commonly referred to as T1, T2, T3 and T4). This continuum links basic research to its eventual translation into patient and population benefit:
T1 - translation of basic research into potential clinical application providing knowledge about a possible intervention (e.g., developing a new drug, testing the safety of a new drug in a small group of people (Phase 1 clinical trials))
T2 - research involving efficacy studies about interventions that work under optimal conditions (e.g., testing the efficacy and safety of a drug in a larger group of people (Phase 2 clinical trials) or comparing the new drug with current standard practice (Phase 3 clinical trials))
T3 – moving research out of highly controlled environments into the real world (e.g., testing a new therapy or intervention in primary care settings, ambulatory care clinics or community health centres)
T4 - research that assesses the public health benefits of policies and programs at the population level (e.g., evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of a community-based smoking cessation program).
Sydney Health Partners supports both research translation and translational research
Sydney Health Partners is one of ten AHRTCs accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Together they cover health systems across most of Australia. The core aim of these centres is to "encourage excellent health research and translation by bringing together researchers, healthcare providers, education and training to improve the health and well-being of patients and the populations they serve".6 This aim includes both research translation and translational research.
Since 2017, all accredited AHRTCs in Australia have received funding from the Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF), under its Rapid Applied Research Translation (RART) Initiative. The majority of funds must be used for Transformative Translational Research (TTR) projects that address specific priorities. The RART Initiative is described as "encouraging academic researchers and health service providers to collaborate to improve health care delivery, services and systems sustainability".7 This aligns with translational research phases T3 and T4 described above.
In June 2019, we reported to the NHMRC on our progress. Download the report here.