Justin Beilby is the Vice Chancellor of Torrens University Australia and has been a researcher for nearly 30 years.
What is your area of research interest?
I started with Indigenous health, then moved into primary care, community care and now, I’m working in the fascinating space of aged care.
What is the need you are addressing?
My focus at the moment is looking at how we can change aged care models both in urban and rural environments. We still haven’t got the right models to meet the needs of the future so we need to try to look at how we can bring all these components together and give them the product of a healthy life.
What are some examples of current work?
We worked in Port Lincoln in rural South Australia with a team based across rural communities, practitioners, government, and universities. We were looking to develop a new musculoskeletal intervention for people with arthritis in the country. We got some money to do it and we put the team together. Beautiful project. We had a model that we could roll out with the physios. And guess what? It failed because we couldn’t find the long-term funding to sustain it. We couldn’t find simple things like sustainable non-private based funding to provide a new service for people with musculoskeletal problems. Fantastic piece of research on the ground but sometimes you need to test these waters in a research environment to move the knowledge-based or policy framework on.
Are you partnering with anyone?
The current work I’m doing is with aging. We’re working with 3 other universities and the aged care sector to deliver that. We’re working with politicians and policymakers. The learnings with research for me is very much that you build the team around it, both government, industry, health, academics, higher degree students, research students, undergrad students. You can’t solve the big problems without the teams. That’s what I think we are doing beautifully at Torrens.
What change do you hope this research will generate?
Research is about improvement and growth of knowledge. For all the years of my research overly the last 25-30 years, I’ve always tried to end it off with some small change. Whether it’s a small change in clinical care or in policy or in how you deliver teaching to students. It’s about small changes that move the knowledge base onwards. That’s what research is all about.
Why is research so important?
Every bit of university we do at Torrens – whether it be higher degree students or our academics – is about moving the knowledge base slowly on and building on that knowledge. It’s the small incremental change that is debated or discussed in a conference that make a difference. It’s all about moving the knowledge base on, having the debates, building the teams, looking to the future and enriching the society we’re a part of.
How does research advance our Here For Good commitment?
Here For Good is about making a change, looking at situations differently and working with groups who need greater access to education. Research is about building on that and providing access to people who do not have access to those services and trying to make their lives better, richer and happier. We’re currently supervising a Higher Degrees by Research student who wants to bring robotics into hotels. It’s just plain exciting to test different models!
Where do you see research for Torrens in the next ten years?
its just going to get bigger and bigger and better and better. It will gain momentum with more Ph.D. and Master’s students the importance of research culture will grow and we’ll gather more and more staff. Were also a part of a global network which we’ll also use to build our research directly into the future.
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