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Developing eye research capacity in China

Several Chinese people seated at board table with CERA powerpoint slides in background.

Chinese hospital directors, clinicians and research staff gather for a symposium session.

A new program to accelerate research development in China under the guidance of Australian experts kicked off in May 2016 in Guangzhou, China.

The Australia-Pacific Research Accelerator (APRA) program is a research platform development project led by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and Professor Mingguang He. The program will standardise a data collection system and train Chinese hospital staff to conduct clinical research and collect data. This will allow hospitals to run multi-centred trials and encourage more investigator-initiated trials, as well as allow researchers to study rare eye diseases.

Since its commencement in 2015, the program has succeeded in laying the basic groundwork, including an electronic data management system, a standardised training course and a hospital research capacity-development curriculum. On 19-20 April, the project launched an inauguration ceremony and held a workshop for the first 10 partner hospitals.

Professor He said, “China, as the world’s second largest economy and most populated nation, has an increasing demand for quality health services and medical research. Australia is an international pioneer of biomedical research and innovative research studies. APRA facilitates a bridge between China and Australia and makes use of the advantages from both sides, to promote and accelerate the research development of this region.

“As this project is a long-term investment and we are in the early stages, we anticipate more hospitals will enrol in the near future. We hope to build research infrastructure and elevate each hospital’s research quality and volume. More importantly, we aim to work together with them to develop a larger research network and platform, on which large medical studies can be conducted. This will provide us with greater evidence and data to answer the key questions affecting human health and medical services globally,” said Professor He.

Prof He was joined at the event by Dr Gwyneth Rees, Dr Andreas Mueller and Dr Sophia Xie from CERA and Prof Ian Morgan from the Australian National University.