Deakin researchers named finalists in 20th anniversary Research Australia Awards

Research news

19 October 2023


  • Four Deakin University researchers have been named amongst finalists in the 2023 Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards.
  • Deakin’s Professor Karen Caeyenberghs, Honorary Professor Hanny Calache, Dr Hannah Pitt and, Dr Sean Randall and the LinXmart team all received finalist nominations.
  • The awards mark their 20th anniversary by celebrating the best minds in health and medical innovation.

Deakin University congratulates four researchers who have been named amongst the finalists in the 2023 Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards for their innovative work in cognitive neuroscience, record linkage, clinical dentistry and reducing gambling harm.

The prestigious awards recognise the outstanding efforts and achievements of individuals and teams who drive and support the opportunities that health and medical innovation bring to our lives.

Deakin’s Professor Karen Caeyenberghs, Honorary Professor Hanny Calache, Dr Hannah Pitt and, Dr Sean Randall and the LinXmart team all received finalist nominations. The Research Australia Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 2 November 2023.

Associate Dean (Research) of Deakin’s Faculty of Health Professor Peter Enticott said the awards recognise Deakin’s strong capability in medical and clinical sciences as well as biomedical and health technologies.

‘I would like to congratulate the Deakin finalists on this significant accomplishment, which is a testament to their impressive contributions to improving the health of Australians. To have four nominations from Deakin this year shows the incredible breadth and depth of our research.’

And our 2023 finalists are…

Professor Karen Caeyenberghs, Faculty of Health

Professor Caeyenberghs is a psychologist and internationally recognised cognitive neuroscientist. She was nominated for the Digital Health Technology Award for her role in establishing STEAMLINES, an innovative personalised medicine platform that enables healthcare users and providers to improve health outcomes in patients with neurological disorders.

  • Co-Leader of Deakin’s Cognitive Neuroscience Unit
  • Awarded a 2022 Victorian Near-miss Award Pilot by the Victorian Chapter Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (VicAAMRI) and veski.
  • Awarded a 2021 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society (ACNS) Young Investigator Award.
  • Published 136 scientific journal articles to date, and among them 117 have been published in the world’s top 25% of journals.
  • Recipient of over $3.7 million in research funding including from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Flanders Fund for Scientific Research (FWO).

Read more on Professor Caeyenberghs’ profile

Honorary Professor Hanny Calache, Institute for Health Transformation’s Deakin Health Economics (DHE)

Nominated for the Health Services Award, Honorary Professor Calache is a registered specialist in the field of paediatric dentistry. He has played a pivotal role in advancing clinical dentistry by implementing and advocating innovative approaches, clinical guidelines and polices.

  • Established and leads the only oral health economic research group in the southern hemisphere at Deakin Health Economics.
  • Inducted as a Fellow to leading global organisations for his outstanding achievement within the dental profession, including the Pierre Frauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists.
  • His research has led to the extension of the scope of practice for dental therapists, enabling them to apply fissure sealants (1988) and provide restorative care to adults (2009). This works resulted in legislative changes in Victoria and across Australia.  By removing the age restriction on the practice of dentistry by dental therapists, disadvantaged adults, especially those in rural areas, gained increased access to dental services. For this work he received, in 2011, the Victorian Health Minister’s Award for developing a capable and engaged workforce.
  • Developed and implemented an Annual Clinical Professional Development Program for Public Oral Health Practitioners in Victoria between 2005 and 2011.
  • Advocated for the extension of the Scope of Practice of Dental Assistants with Certificate IV in Oral Health Promotion to include the application of Fluoride Varnish, further empowering dental assistants to contribute to oral health promotion efforts.
  • Held the position of Director Clinical Leadership, Education and Research at Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) between 2005 and 2015.

Read more on Honorary Professor Calache’s profile.

Dr Sean Randall, Institute for Health Transformation’s Deakin Health Economics (DHE)

Dr Sean Randall (pictured top left) and the LinXmart team (top right to bottom right), Dr Adrian Brown, Professor James Boyd and Adjunct Associate Professor Anna Ferrante.

Dr Randall and the LinXmart team have demonstrated exceptional innovation in the field of data privacy and linkage, earning them a well-deserved finalist position for the Data Innovation Award. Their innovative privacy preserving methods have revolutionised data linkage, ensuring patient privacy while facilitating access to valuable datasets for government and research.

  • Alongside Dr Randall, the LinXmart team is comprised of Professor James Boyd from La Trobe University, Adjunct Associate Professor Anna Ferrante, and Dr Adrian Brown, both from Curtin University.
  • Their ground-breaking work includes enabling the linkage of hard-to-get datasets including general practice and private pathology data.
  • The team has had significant success in enabling linkage of general practice and private pathology data for the first time, including enabling the NSW Ministry of Health’s flagship LUMOS program.

Read more on Dr Randall’s profile.

Dr Hannah Pitt, Institute for Health Transformation

Dr Pitt is a qualitative public health researcher who is an established expert in the field of gambling related harm and its impact on young people. She holds the position of a VicHealth Early Career Research Fellow and is a finalist for the Griffith University Discovery Award.

  • First researcher in the world to qualitatively investigate the impact of sports betting marketing on children and young people.
  • Finalist in the public health category of the Victorian Premier’s Health and Medical Research Awards.
  • Her research findings appeared throughout the Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Gambling’s final committee report, which recommended a ban on all online gambling marketing, as well as in an amicus brief submitted to the US Supreme Court.
  • Cited in a WHO-Lancet Commission report identifying gambling as a significant issue for young people.

Read more on Dr Pitt’s profile.

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The prestigious Research Australia awards celebrate some of Deakin’s talented health and medical researchers.

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The prestigious Research Australia awards celebrate some of Deakin’s talented health and medical researchers.

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