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About the award

Collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians in research is critical and can lead to findings that are more likely to be innovative and positively inform health decisions.

This a​ward recognises the full scale of research from fundamental research, to applied and translational research, as well as clinical and health systems research.

Projects in this category demonstrate outstanding achievements by:

  • drawing on existing and emerging research evidence to guide the delivery of safe and reliable care
  • understanding how research translates into achieving improved outcomes that matter to our patients and the community
  • assisting clinicians and health decision makers to find or use research effectively
  • establishing research partnerships or collaborations involving clinicians, patients, research organisations, hubs, and networks, local health districts, pillar agencies, specialty networks and health organisations, that has led to outstanding examples of research that changed policy or practice
  • acknowledgement by decision makers of the impact of research on their policy or practice
  • eHealth, health information and data analytics to support and harness health and medical research and innovation.

Joint winner – Achieving the Unrealised Potential of Transplantation

Sydney Local Health District


Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) Transplant Institute is improving the success of liver transplantation for patients with end-stage liver disease and liver tumours.

The success of established liver transplantation treatments is limited by the availability of safe and usable liver grafts. Currently, about 50% of liver graft offers are not used in NSW due to concerns of poor quality.

To address this issue, the RPA Centre for Organ Assessment Repair and Optimisation developed an innovative liver perfusion system. This system can preserve human livers for up to 2 weeks under normothermic conditions. The Extended Organ Perfusion System (EOPS) detoxifies and sustains the liver through autoregulation of multiple physiological functions.

This system provides a unique model for facilitating recovery of critically injured donor livers unsuitable for transplantation, but also enables the introduction of new therapeutic agents such as gene therapy, stem-cell therapy, pharmacotherapy, and organ/tissue engineering.

Recently our team has demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of splitting whole livers into left and right lobes during normothermic ex-vivo perfusion and the two partial livers perfused concurrently. In this concept, a liver can be divided into two lobes, and, after reaching a sufficient size, it can be transplanted into two recipients.

It is estimated that EOPS can enable resuscitation of initially declined high-risk donor livers. Therefore, increasing the number of liver transplant recipients of more than 35%.

With these developments, the possibility of success and better health outcomes for adults and children with end-stage liver disease and liver tumours is increasing.

Joint winner – Research Based Care through the Neonatal Admission and Beyond

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network


Promoting neurodevelopment and optimising outcomes for babies and their families was the catalyst for this project. To improve these outcomes, the team worked on a collaborative multidisciplinary program of research that involved true partnerships with families.

They implemented a collaborative, multidisciplinary program of research to support families. Factors related to a stressful neonatal admission were targeted in this program. These include:

  • understanding and managing neonatal pain;
  • involving fathers in the NICU;
  • researching the best assessment tools for early detection of disability;
  • measuring long-term infant outcomes;
  • targeting infant language outcomes and bonding via reading;
  • capturing data on physiological and behavioural stress; and
  • providing education on developmentally supportive care.

The project has resulted in improved outcomes for critically ill babies. Survival rates have increased from 80% to just under 99%, and improved long term developmental outcomes have been achieved. Research has resulted in sustained changes to clinical practice within the NICU and beyond, focussing on early detection and neuro-promotion.

The team has gained international expertise and published widely on a range of topics. They are actively involved in supporting other NICUs to implement evidenced based programs.

The program of research optimises outcomes for babies and their families throughout the neonatal admission and beyond.

Highly commended – Transforming Fluid Resuscitation in Intensive Care

Northern Sydne​y Local Health District


Traditionally, clinical trials haven't involved critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs). However, over a 22-year-period, researchers from Royal North Shore Hospital, in collaboration with The George Institute for Global Health and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Clinical Trials Group, have changed this culture. The team produced ground-breaking research to determine best practice in using fluid resuscitation to reduce mortality in critically ill patients.

Three major clinical trials involving thousands of ICU patients have transformed practice in Australia and around the world.

  1. The 6997 patient SAFE Trial (Saline vs Albumin for Fluid Evaluation) was published in 2004. This trial determined that using albumin for fluid resuscitation did not improve mortality compared with the cheaper alternative of normal saline.
  2. The 7000 patient CHEST Study was published in 2012. This trial found that Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES) for fluid resuscitation didn't improve mortality compared with the cheaper alternative, normal saline.
  3. The 5037 patient PLUS (Plasma-Lyte versus Saline) trial was published in 2022. This trial found that using a balanced multi-electrolyte solution for fluid resuscitation did not reduce risk of death or acute kidney injury compared with using saline.

This research built a compelling evidence-base, which has been translated into treatment guidelines and practice globally. As a result, it has saved many thousands of lives and millions of healthcare dollars in this critical healthcare setting.


Current as at: Tuesday 24 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health