Spotlight on staff: 29 March 2017.
Dr Martin McNamara is equally at home in the worlds of both research and policy.
Recently appointed as the Sax Institute’s Head of Research Assets, Dr McNamara’s career has seen him develop extensive knowledge of the health sector working in all tiers of government, as well as in the research and the non-government sectors.
He holds a PhD in Public Health and has previously worked in roles including as Executive Director at the National Health Performance Authority, and Executive Director, Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network.
Dr McNamara says these varied roles have not only fostered his life-long passion for learning, but have given him an insight into the many opportunities to use research evidence in policy and decision making.
“Demands within government and policy agencies can be significant and often shift quickly. Ensuring there is capacity to marshal the evidence and develop a deep understanding of complex problems can be fraught.
“What is most exciting about the Sax Institute is that through our research platforms we have established capacity that can deliver new insights in a way that is agile and responsive.”
Dr McNamara will oversee the Institute’s valuable existing research platforms, including the 45 and Up Study, SEARCH and the Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE), as well as exploring the potential to develop new platforms, such as in the leading-edge area of biospecimens collection for research.
He says a strong focus will be on developing the capacity for these research platforms to become even more responsive to the immediate needs of partners and policy makers.
“We have strong relationships with the research community and the breadth and scope of research underway that is accessing our assets is substantial. I also see our assets as incredibly helpful in answering the big, pressing questions in a timely way and there continues to be real opportunities to work even more closely with our partners to inform policy,” Dr McNamara says.
Collaboration is key
Dr McNamara says collaboration has been the key to success in many of his previous roles, and it is also at the heart of the development of the Institute’s research platforms.
“At the heart of any meaningful change there is a group of committed and engaged people working effectively together,” he says.
By taking a collaborative approach to further developing the Institute’s valuable research platforms, Dr McNamara says he is eager to not only maximise their potential, but to ensure they reveal the most valuable information to guide improvement efforts within the health and social sectors.
Find out more
- Read the latest news from the 45 and Up Study
- Read SEARCH Project Office Simone Sherriff’s blog on Searching for the answers on urban Aboriginal health