Tracking funded health intervention research

Lesley A King, Robyn S Newson, Gillian E Cohen, Jacqueline Schroeder, Selina Redman, Lucie Rychetnik, Andrew J Milat, Adrian Bauman and Simon Chapman
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (4): 184. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01540


Objective: To describe the research publication outputs from intervention research funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Design and setting: Analysis of descriptive data and data on publication outputs collected between 23 July 2012 and 10 December 2013 relating to health intervention research project grants funded between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2007.

Main outcome measures: Stages of development of intervention studies (efficacy, effectiveness, replication, adaptation or dissemination of intervention); types of interventions studied; publication output per NHMRC grant; and whether interventions produced statistically significant changes in primary outcome variables.

Results: Most of the identified studies tested intervention efficacy or effectiveness in clinical or community settings, with few testing the later stages of intervention development, such as replication, adaptation or dissemination. Studies focused largely on chronic disease treatment and management, and encompassed various medical and allied health disciplines. Equal numbers of studies had interventions that produced statistically significant results on primary outcomes, (27) and those that did not (27). The mean number of total published articles per grant was 3.3, with 2.0 articles per grant focusing on results, and the remainder covering descriptive, exploratory or methodological aspects of intervention research.

Conclusions: Our study provides a benchmark for the publication outputs of NHMRC-funded health intervention research in Australia. Research productivity is particularly important for intervention research, where findings are likely to have more immediate and direct applicability to health policy and practice. Tracking research outputs in this way provides information on whether current research investment patterns match the need for evidence about health care interventions.

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  • Lesley A King1
  • Robyn S Newson1
  • Gillian E Cohen1
  • Jacqueline Schroeder1
  • Selina Redman3
  • Lucie Rychetnik4
  • Andrew J Milat5
  • Adrian Bauman1
  • Simon Chapman1

  • 1 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Domestic Violence NSW Service Management, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 The Sax Institute, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney), Sydney, NSW
  • 5 New South Wales Ministry of Health, Sydney, NSW

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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