Lessons from establishing and managing multi-institution centres of research excellence

Catherine Spooner, Lisa Lavey, Chilandu Mukuka
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Other COMPaRE-PHC publications
2015 PHC Research Conference, Adelaide, 29-31 July 2015

Presentation slides are available here.

Aims and rationale

Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) funded nine multi-institution centres of research excellence (MICREs) to address knowledge gaps in primary health care. Anecdotal evidence suggested that these MICREs were experiencing common problems. A study was conducted to document the challenges experienced and lessons learned by directors and managers of the nine MICREs to inform future such initiatives. The preliminary findings from the study will be presented and discussed. 


Qualitative interviews with Directors and Managers of the nine MICREs funded by APHCRI and other informants.


Challenges were experienced in the domains of relationships (e.g. communication, investigator engagement, role clarification) and administrative process (e.g. budgeting and recruiting positions at different institutions, partner agreements). Analysis of the challenges identified: 1) that most of the challenges could have been prevented during grant preparation, 2) the importance of relationships and collaborative leadership, and 3) the need for a sufficiently experienced, skilled and resourced coordinator to manage the added complexity of a MICRE relative to a research centre based in a single institution.

Relevance to policy, research and/or practice needs

The results from this study provide information to assist 1) researchers in preparing their grant application to establish a MICRE; 2) MICRE coordinators in the management of their MICRE; and 3) MICRE funding bodies in the development of requirements and information for applicants.