Establishment of multi-institution centres of research excellence - tips for new players

Spooner, C. & Lavey, L.
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Other COMPaRE-PHC publications

Primary Health Care Research Conference

A webcast of the presentation is available from the PHCRIS website: click here

The slides are available by clicking here.


Aims: There has been an increasing trend towards funding multi-institution centres of research excellence (CRE) by, for example, the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI). There is a need to establish and coordinate effective processes across institutions to ensure research outputs are maximised in an efficient and cost-effective manner for these complex centres. Guidance is not readily available for those involved in funding, planning and coordinating CREs.

The aim of this presentation is to present key challenges and strategies for establishing a CRE and to provide a checklist of considerations for Chief Investigators when preparing a CRE grant application and for CRE Coordinators when commencing in their position to ensure milestones are adequately met.

Methods: APHCRI CRE coordinators documented challenges they faced that pertain to the mulit-institutional nature of the CRE and the strategies they used to deal with those challenges. Drawing upon the "collective intelligence" of the APHCRI CRE coordinators recommendations were refined into a checklist.

Principal findings: Challenges included issues relating to accountability of investigators, budgets, legal compliance, communication, and recruitment. Solutions include involving legal and finance people from each institution during the grant writing process rather than post-award to minimise avoidable problems in the early months of the project, which delay the capacity of the CRE to commence and achieve deliverables.

Implications: The checklist will provide CRE applicants with the necessary documentation to successfully establish the CRE and to maximise research outputs and build the profile of the CRE.