Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre webinar: four-year plan

18 Mar, 2022

Following the $13 million grant awarded to the University of Sydney to establish the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre, InsideOut hosted an information webinar on Tuesday 15 March 2022 to outline the plans for the Centre over the next four years.


  • Associate Professor Sarah Maguire, Director, InsideOut Institute 
  • Peta Marks, National Programs Manager, InsideOut Institute and Centre Chief Operating Officer 
  • Shannon Calvert, Centre Lived Experience Co-Production Co-Lead

National consortium 

InsideOut Institute (University of Sydney) will lead the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Centre, as supported by a consortium of national partners including Orygen, La Trobe University, Shannon Calvert, Turner Institute, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Australian National University, Deakin University, Black Dog Institute, The University of Western Australia, The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

The research and translation ecosystem will also include University of Sydney partners such as the Charles Perkins Centre, Brain and Mind Centre, The Matilda Centre, Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, Sydney Policy Lab and the School of Psychology.

The Centre will be funded by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health from 2022 to 2025 as part of the National Leadership in Mental Health Program.

Governance and management

Robyn Kruk AO, independent Chair of the Governing Council, will oversee the Centre to ensure robust processes are established with monitored reporting during the life of grant.

International Expert Advisory 

Drawing on an international knowledge base, the committee of experts from around the world will ensure the Centre is informed by the latest research and will be driven by innovation. The Advisory includes Professor Janet Treasure (King's College London), Professor Daniel Le Grange (University of California, Los Angeles), Professor Cindy Bulik (University of North Carolina), Associate Professor Cheri Levinson (University of Louisville), Associate Professor Kamryn Eddy (Harvard University) and Professor Rebecca Murphy (University of Oxford).

National Technical Advisory 

Providing expert technical advice on the Centre's key activities, the Advisory will ensure integration with relevant national efforts, avoidance of duplication and maximise the utilisation of existing national resources across mental health. The Advisory includes Professor Michael Berk (Deakin University), Professor Jennie Hudson (Black Dog Institute), Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin (University of Newcastle) and Associate Professor Michelle Banfield (Australian National University).

Goals of the Centre

Through research and translation activities and outcomes, the Centre seeks to:

  • establish a robust, well-governed, co-produced, inclusive and sustainable national research and translation leadership for the field of eating disorders
  • set the national standard for co-production with experts by lived experience, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from diverse backgrounds and clinicians as part of routine practice
  • implement the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Strategy 2021–31
  • support and generate an inclusive and sustainable culture of research excellence
  • conduct and coordinate high-quality research and translation that impacts outcomes, addressing Australia’s top 10 eating disorder research and translation priorities
  • produce results grounded in real-world settings that inform policy and lead to practice change
  • support improved access to high-quality mental health care for people with eating disorders and their families.

Centre activities  

All activities at the Centre will be underpinned by principles of the Australian Eating Disorders Research and Translation Strategy 2021–31 of co-design, diversity, impact, collaboration and research support.

The Lived Experience Co-Production and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy will be integrated across governance and all four work streams at the Centre. Centre staff will also establish a Digital Hub, project management and reporting.


The Centre's Operations will include:

  • a Governing Council with members from the consortium, external representatives and lived experience experts, who will provide robust governance and monitor all decisions and outputs of the Centre
  • Chief Operating Officer, Peta Marks, who will plan and coordinate the activities of the Centre
  • each program and work stream co-led by consortium members
  • work streams through their own stakeholder engagement processes and advisory processes
  • postdoctoral positions to support all work streams
  • a small team at InsideOut Institute to administer the Centre and support all activities.

Lived Experience and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-production

Co-led by Lived Experience Advisor Shannon Calvert and Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin (Deakin University), all lived experience organisations across Australia will be included in consultation and collaboration. This will also include broader representation groups, such as LGBTQI+, Mental Health Australia and other under-represented groups in the country.

Advisory groups will include leading eating disorder organisations across Australia to support and inform activities of the Lived Experience Program. 

Led by Lelani Darwin and Stacy Vervoort, the Centre will collaborate with Black Dog Institute’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy to:

  • work in partnership with Strategy leaders to integrate First Nations expertise
  • contribute Indigenous leadership and innovation to governance and all activities of the Centre
  • develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eating Disorder Researcher Strategy built on the social justice imperative as underpinned by the concepts of respect, empowerment and self-determination, and community consultation
  • to ensure research and translation co-design and activities are directed towards closing the gap
  • produce its own research and outputs.

Work streams

1. National Research and Translation Network 

Led by Associate Professor Elizabeth Rieger (Australian National University) and Professor Stephen Touyz (InsideOut Institute, University of Sydney), the Network will drive collaboration within and across relevant sectors, including among researchers, clinicians, consumers, carers, policy makers, funders and other key stakeholder groups.

2. Translation

Co-led by Professor Antonio Verdejo-Garcia (Turner Institute, Monash University) and Professor Rosemary Purcell (Orygen), the stream will develop and progress a Translation Blueprint.

3. Research Workforce Development 

Associate Professor Leah Brenann (La Trobe University) and Dr Claire Foldi (Monash University) will co-lead the stream to support competitive funding track record development and maintenance strategies to keep the best and brightest engaged.


Infinity symbol of the top 10 priorities for the Australia's eating disorder research and translation landscape

Informed by the 'Top 10' priority areas for eating disorder research co-designed with an aligned James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership process, the Centre research areas will focus on:

  1. Risk and protective factors
  2. Very early intervention (early identification and early intervention)
  3. Individualised medicine

How research will be funded

Research funding will be determined by a Scientific Committee with approval by the Governing Council. The Scientific Committee will include representatives from InsideOut Institute, consortium partners at Orygen and the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre, the National Technical and International Advisory members, and external researchers.

Consortium members will be invited to submit proposals across the research focus areas identified in the grant. A criteria will be established, including co-design with lived experience and network partnerships. It will prioritise the creation of new teams. The Committee will recommend successful research projects to the Governing Council for their approval.

Funding criteria

  • Novel, co-designed research teams
  • Potential for high-impact
  • Alignment with the Top 10
  • Alignment with Australian Eating Disorders Research and Strategy 2021–31 principles of co-design, diversity, collaboration and impact
  • Methodological rigour
  • Value for money/cost-effectiveness

IgnitED Fund

IgnitED is the first research funding initiative of the Centre which will be announced late March 2022. Ten $25,000 grants will support bright new ideas, and provide successful applicants with funding and engage with lived experience expertise.

Other activities 

The Centre will also:

  • engage with innovation think tanks
  • produce a Leverage, Investment and Advocacy Plan
  • host a research symposium
  • progress the development of an Eating Disorders Research Platform, modelled on UNSW's CHeBA Dementias Platform Australia and integrated with existing mental health clinical trial networks efforts.

For more details about the webinar, view the presentation slides (pdf, 2.7MB) and list of Q&As (pdf, 129KB).