Last month the Population Health Research Network (PHRN) was awarded $23.8 million in federal funding to maintain the national infrastructure that enables linked data from around Australia to be made available for research.
The funding provided through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, was announced by the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Simon Birmingham, and will be administered through UWA, as the agency with overall responsibility for PHRN.
PHRN Chief Executive, Dr Merran Smith said it is pleasing the Australian Government has continued to support this very important function for a further four years.
“The PHRN is a network of collaborating organisations spread across Australia that was established in 2009. Our role is to support the infrastructure that safely and securely links data within and across jurisdictions and sectors”.
“Put simply, data linkage is a way to collate information about people, places and events, and make it available for research purposes,” she said.
The type of data the PHRN links is routinely collected via departments and agencies such as public hospitals.
“When you visit a hospital, get married or have children for example, all this information is collected and through the PHRN can be used in privacy-preserving ways for planning, monitoring, evaluation and research,” she said.
Dr Smith said research has a key role in the management and delivery of health and other human services in Australia and data linkage is vital to some of this research.
“Essentially the aim of making this data available is to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
“This is why the funding is so important, and we are very grateful for the ongoing support from the Australian Government,” she said.