Health Workforce Academy, CQUniversity

Central Queensland University Health Workforce Academy supports knowledge translation for higher degree students

Author: Professor Eileen Willis, CQUniversity 

In August this year, CQUniversity, Health Workforce Academy (HWA) sponsored an eight-hour policy writing workshop for higher degree research (HDR) students and their supervisors. The majority of those attending were mature age PhD students with strong links to the healthcare industry and research projects with potential for high impact on health care reform at either the human resource or clinical levels.

Director of the Health Workforce Academy, and Coordinator of Post-graduate research for the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences, Dr Ashlyn Sahay, said that one of the primary aims of the Academy was to ensure HDR students had a knowledge translation plan in place as they progressed towards submission of their thesis. She noted that policy formulation was very much a part of this, and PhD students needed to be trained in the different writing registers needed to convert their research findings into messages that captured the eye of politicians, policymakers and the media. These skills were part of the broader program HWA was providing for HDR students and post-doctorates, as many of these emerging researchers remain within industry and are dedicated to being in the vanguard of health reform. While younger students benefit from research training with industry through internships, mature age students often study part-time and are already employed in high to middle-level management/leadership positions within the health industry. They appreciate skills that are transferrable to their workplace and enable them to bring their findings to the attention of policymakers.

The eight-hour program was offered over two weeks, facilitated by AProf Rebecca Haddock from the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, and took students through the politics, pitfalls, and strategies to effectively translate their academic findings and writing, to catching the attention of policy decision-makers.

The Academy was established at CQUniversity specifically to link HDR students with industry and to broaden their research skills. The academy will maintain its links with Deeble through membership and on-going access to the opportunities afforded to students for further education in policy writing, and a broader understanding of the complexities of the health care system.

One of the major benefits of membership for Academy students and their supervisors is the extensive networks provided through Deeble, along with the many webinars and conferences. In many instances these are international, and link students with key scholars in their research areas. The fact that Deeble has well-established links to the health care industry offers students the opportunity to strengthen their connections with the workforce.


Information on the Writing for Policymakers Online Shortcourse can be found here.

Information on the Health Workforce Academy can be found here.