15 December 2020.

The Sax Institute is a membership-based organisation – we work with our 58 Members in many different ways, including collaborations on our 45 & Up Study, on our SURE platform, in commissioned work, in training and with our Research Action Awards. Our Members are leaders in public health and health services research and, while we collaborate with them on average two to three times a year, a recent survey indicated that there are opportunities to deepen our collaborative work.

We launched the Sax Forum earlier this year to help understand what we can do better together. It will  provide a structure for engaging more deeply with our Members and for undertaking work together that is of mutual benefit. We anticipate that the Forum will provide an opportunity to: connect with each other; engage with what is happening at the Institute; and identify and implement collaborative projects.All of our Member organisations are eligible to be part of the Sax Forum. 

Last Thursday around 30 Member representatives and Sax people met via Zoom to discuss the first of Sax Forum Initiatives, which is focused on how we can best support early- to mid-career researchers (EMCRs) in public health and health services. 

At the meeting, Professor Lucie Rychetnik, Co-Director of The Prevention Centre, which is administered by the Sax Institute, shared insights from the Centre’s experience of an EMCR community of practice in prevention. Communities of practice offer a value-add for EMCRs, Lucie said, providing them with tools and opportunities that they don’t necessarily get from their home institutions. Advantages include the opportunities for capacity building and sharing work, along with the chance to demonstrate leadership.

Professor Julie Byles of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle talked about the value of cohort studies to EMCRs working in public health. She pointed out the usefulness of having rich, linked datasets that already exist and don’t have to be established. They can provide a relatively fast route to publication while also opening up opportunities for collaboration, she said.

The talks sparked some fascinating conversations and ideas that will develop into some concrete projects we can take forward together.

Find out more about the Sax Forum here.

Is your organisation a Sax Institute member? It’s free! Find out more about membership here.