Enhancing Australia’s Clinical Research Capacity to Respond to Methamphetamine and Emerging Drugs: A Consultation Paper to support the Development of Workforce Development Strategy
NCETA was commissioned by the National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) to develop a Workforce Development (WFD) strategy. The Strategy will specifically address the WFD needs of the clinical research workforces that focus on methamphetamine and other emerging psychoactive drugs. A key priority for NCCRED is to develop current and future workforces which initiate, undertake and implement clinical research ranging from early intervention to tertiary interventions.
The aims of the WFD Strategy include:
- Enhancing the understanding of the profile and characteristics of the current and future AOD clinical research workforce
- Assisting the creation of a clinical research workforce that can innovate and rapidly transform research findings into practice
- Identifying the capabilities that will be required of the future clinical research workforce
- Identifying barriers and enablers to engaging clinicians in research and engaging researchers in clinical settings.
To inform the development of the WFD Strategy, NCETA conducted a literature review of the factors influencing clinical researcher WFD. A condensed version of the review was produced in the form of a consultation paper which is available from the NCETA or NCCRED websites.
NCETA’s review highlighted recent changes of relevance to the clinical research workforce including:
- Shifting patterns of AOD use, and the shift towards the use of stimulants, pharmaceutical drugs and poly-drug use
- New synthetic drugs
- An expanding range of pharmacotherapies and other treatment options
- Greater prevalence of co-existing mental health disorders and multiple morbidities
- Increased awareness of trauma and trauma-informed practice in the AOD treatment sector
- Problematic drug use across a widened age spectrum
- Enhanced awareness of the adverse effects of stigmatisation of drug use.
The review also identified a range of recent WFD initiatives that have a direct bearing on the AOD clinical research workforce. These include:
- Development of three e-Learning Modules by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to provide an introduction to the clinical trials environment, clinical research ethics, ethical review and research governance processes.
- Provision of support by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for clinical trials proponents and clinical trials networks
- Development by the NHMRC of Australia’s first V.E.T. accredited course (10562NAT - Course in Clinical Trials Application Preparation, Submission and Review)
- Development by the NHMRC, in conjunction with Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, of competencies for non-commercially sponsored (investigator-initiated) clinical trials.
NCETA’s research also found that international efforts, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK) provide examples that could be used in the Australian context. For example, the UK’s Researcher Development Framework provides a professional development framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers. It describes the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers.