iPREP is a novel program linking PhD students from all 5 WA universities to work in interdisciplinary teams on business projects.

Since 2015 the Western Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN) has engaged with iPREP to assist with the implementation of the Research Education Training Program (RETP).

The RETP supports researchers and health practitioners by providing high quality, up-to-date online training research modules and other educational resources to improve the quality and outcomes of health and medical research in WA.

Rashmi Watson, Head of the RETP has mentored four iPREP projects and subsequently employed four PhD graduates from Curtin, Murdoch, and ECU through the iPREP program. Each researcher brought unique value to the team at WAHTN, contributing to health research in Western Australia.

RETP’s engagement with iPREP and PhD students in WA has resulted in exceptional outcomes highlighted in the 3 projects below.

Project #1- late 2015

Online training platforms: Research and Prototyping

This project involved the early development of the RETP for clinicians and researchers in WA Health and associated institutions. The student team involved Craig Rive (Murdoch), Bach-Dang Bui (Curtin) and Lixin Chin (UWA) and they were involved in the development of sourcing and scoping appropriate Learning Management Systems (LMS), databases and web platforms for the online program. The LMS needed to have the ability to issue certificates for personnel and link to a research governance information technology system being developed. The students researched, prototyped and evaluated a number of systems and presented Moodle as the recommended platform. They also developed a report that outlined suitable LMS systems, capabilities and considerations when selecting an LMS.

Craig Rive, who was employed by the WAHTN, following his 6-week placement commented:

“My mentors at the WA Department of Health and the WAHTN not only worked hard to help me during the iPREP project, but also helped make a number of introductions with key people within the Health industry, contacts I would have not been able to make on my own. My mentors were very pleased with the work I performed and offered me part time employment to help continue on with the work began within the 6 week iPREP program and are actively seeking out further work for me through their contacts, until I find full time employment in my chosen field or until another opportunity arises.”

Project #2- mid 2016

Development of online training course: Research Education Training Program goes live

Following on from the initial groundwork for sourcing an appropriate Learning Management System in project 1, support was now required for effective course development particularly in the areas of content contribution, ICT and educational design. The student’s contribution in this project far exceeded Rashmi’s expectations…

“The three students were exceptional in their problem solving skills and ability to work effectively in a small team and share the project load. They were able to support getting our online training to the live mode far more efficiently than we could have managed.”

The team consisted of Ali Fardinpour, an educational designer and IT specialist, Maryam Shahabi also an IT specialist, and Marta Galindo Romera a Marine Scientist with a passion for digital design and technology.

Below is a snapshot of work produced during their project which included the development of the RETP website and the format and structure of courses. The students also assisted in writing some courses and 100 graphic images were developed to complement the written content in the courses.

Ali Fardinpour and Maryam Shahabi were employed following their placement as IT support specialists and educational designers.

Project #3- early 2017

RETP course review and business model development

The courses have been live for five months. The RETP needed to rationalise its continuation as a sustainable delivery model to funding partners and the broader WAHTN community.

The student team involved Rose Ferrell, a screenwriter and filmmaker from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University, Edi Nuryatno also from ECU, specialising in enterprise architecture within management information systems, and Nurmala Simbolon in Education from Curtin University.

The students evaluated the current online course feedback for its first and largest course (Good Clinical Practice) via an evaluation report and secondly created a business case report on the RETPs ability to meet the needs of clients.

Rashmi commented, “Once again, the iPREP students were able to work effectively in a small team, work quickly and efficiently and produce high level outcomes that are a very valuable resource to the RETP team in seeking ongoing funding and support.”

The RETP was successful in securing sustainable funding for another year and is grateful to the iPREP team for completing a large body of work that could not have been completed in such a short amount of time and in such depth.

Edi was recently employed as an IT Administrator Officer for the Research Education and Training Program at the WAHTN. He commented, "iPREP provided me with fantastic work experience and gave me a foot in the door to work in Australia within my field."

The next round of iPREP is running from 17th July- 25th August. This round will involve 18 PhD students and 7 industry partners. More information will be available soon.