Welcome to the June edition of the Raine Study newsletter for researchers.
The world as we knew it changed dramatically with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Raine Study, like many organisations, had to adapt to the evolving health advice and new ways of working. We do hope that you were all able to adapt to the many challenges brought about by the changing landscape.
As a result of COVID-19, and as advised via emails, news items on our website and through our social media channels, our 30th anniversary celebration had to be postponed until next year. In the meantime, we are planning a series of webinarspresenting the Raine Study research for the interest of participants, their family and friends and the broader community. We will let you know more in the coming weeks.
Another event that will be a little different this year due to COVID-19 is our Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM). We still plan to hold the event on 30 October but this year, presentations will be through an online platform. More details to follow shortly.
In this edition, we honour our former Scientific Director Professor Leon Straker, discuss important changes to the ethics approval process for the Raine Study projects, explore what’s new in the Raine Online Submission System, and more.
As always if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to hit reply to this email.
We bid a fond farewell to Professor Leon Straker, who will leave the Raine Study at the end of June after seven years in the role of Scientific Director. Leon has recently been successful in being awarded a multi-million dollar grant to better understand the realities of a child’s life in a digital world, including producing practical guidance for families in navigating the digital environment, and informing technology innovation for young children.
Leon is one of the lead investigators on the grant which will run over the next seven years as the Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. It is very likely that the centre’s research program will have a major impact on the future health and well-being of our children’s lives in the years to come. While we wish Leon well in this new endeavour, we will miss him greatly.
During his time at the Raine Study, Leon has worked with Director Prof Peter Eastwood to update, revise and modernise the Raine Study’s technical systems and human operations. These changes were substantial and were required to be implemented to ensure the survival and growth of the Raine Study as the cohort moves into adulthood.
Over the past seven years, Leon initiated and oversaw huge changes to the Raine Study including: the broadening of its scientific framework; increasing its engagement with participants, increasing its emphasis on research translation, restructuring the researcher teams and research themes, providing a more efficient infrastructure and ensuring more stable funding of all of these activities.
The changes will ensure that the Raine Study continues to deliver on its enormous potential for discovery and translation of outcomes to improve the lives of future generations.
All of us at the Raine Study will miss Leon professionally and personally and wish him all the very best for his exciting future endeavours.
Important changes to the ethics approval process for Raine Study projects
The Raine Study has collected data and biosamples from multiple generations of participants on many separate occasions (follow-ups) over the past 30 years. Each new follow-up has received Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval that was specific for a given follow-up.
In order to decrease the administrative burden associated with HREC approval for the Raine Study projects, the UWA HREC has provided a single ‘overarching’ approval that recognises all previous approvals under which previous data and/or biosamples were collected.
This approval was received on 29 April 2020 and provides a single consolidated approval (RA/4/20/5722) for use of research data and/or biosamples held in the Raine Study data collection. Use of this approval has been provided on the basis that the release of the Raine Study data and/or biosamples for a specific project has been approved by the Raine Study. This means that all projects need to have undergone the Raine Study governance and reviewing processes before a project can be submitted to a HREC, and that every new project using existing Raine Study data and/or biosamples must now have its own HREC approval/reference number.
The lead investigator is responsible for providing a copy of the project’s HREC approval/reference number to the Raine Study team via ROSS. Further information on these changes can be found in the Commonly Used Resources page.
The Raine Study welcomes the University of Newcastle as an institutional associate member
The Raine Study has a new institutional associate member – the University of Newcastle, New South Wales – the second university to join since the category was launched in 2019.
The new institutional membership category was designed to provide non-WA-based institutions with easier access to the rich collection of data held by the Raine Study – 30 years of data across multiple generations.
Until now, external access for University of Newcastle researchers to the Raine Study resources required each project to be costed and managed individually. As an institutional member, researchers from the University of Newcastle will be able to submit and carry out up to 12 consortia projects and six new individual projects each year.
The recently established institutional associate membership category acknowledged the value that non-WA-based institutions place on Raine Study data and highlighted the collaborative approach and ethos at the core of the Raine Study.
The Raine Study Director Peter Eastwood said: “We welcome the University of Newcastle as our latest institutional associate member, joining South Australia’s Flinders University in this category.”
What’s new in ROSS 2.0
Over the past 18 months we have been working on developing the Raine Online Submission System, also known as ROSS. Based on your feedback, we now have a new version of the system – ROSS 2.0.
In each edition of this newsletter we will be highlighting a new feature of ROSS 2.0. We really value your input to help us make further improvements, so please feel free to contact us (simply hit reply to this email) with any feedback related to the updated system.
New profile information
Thank you to everyone who updated their profile in response to our request in the last newsletter. As part of ROSS 2.0, we have changed the look of the profile to make sure we ask for relevant information about you that will help us engage you with the Raine Study. It is very important that we have the most up-to-date information about you in the system, so please update your profile the next time you log into ROSS.
You can do that in ‘Manage profile’ on the left-hand side menu and click on ‘Edit profile’. While there you can also see another new feature of ROSS 2.0, which allows you to change your password whenever you choose.
Upload more than one file when submitting a manuscript for review
You can now upload more than one file (for example, manuscript text and supplementary materials) when completing a Manuscript submission form. ROSS 2.0 accepts zipped files and instructions are provided in the form (see screenshots below).
Data requests increase
It is great that we have seen an increase in the number and size of data requests over the past 12 months, and our data team has worked very hard to extract data within a reasonable time frame, usually taking two to four weeks to deliver data.
This fast pace has kept our team on their toes! Please note that in the short term, due to staff movement, we estimate data requests will take four to six weeks, depending on size and complexity of the request.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Raine Study awards top-up scholarships to promising researchers
The Raine Study has awarded PhD Top-up scholarships, each worth $10,000, to two students demonstrating outstanding research promise using Raine Study data.
Ashish Yadav from the University of WA and Bereket Duko Adema from Curtin University will both receive scholarships from the Raine Study with an additional $2,500 travel allowance.
Ashish’s research is looking at the association of fetal growth and ectopic fat with cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults, while Bereket’s research explores prenatal alcohol and tobacco use and the risk of substance use and adverse mental health outcomes in offspring.
The Raine Study PhD Top-up Scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding research promise in the areas of human health and life-course epidemiology who can demonstrate that their research using Raine Study data will benefit the broader community.
The merit-based top-up scholarships support the highest quality research students who utilise Raine Study data in their research
The scholarships are available to students who have completed at least the first year of their candidature, and can be held for a maximum of two years with a possible six-month extension.
To be eligible for the scholarship, an applicant’s PhD must focus on data from the Raine Study, and they must:
be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen or hold an appropriate visa for the duration of their PhD training
be enrolled in a PhD as a full-time student at a WA university
currently receive a Research Training Program (RTP) PhD scholarship.
The top-up scholarship may be held concurrently with another external or university award, provided that this meets the conditions of the concurrent award.
Annual activity report now online
The Raine Study’s Annual Activity Report for 2019 is now available on our website. Please visit here
New and returning staff members
Many of you will remember Monique Priston. Monique has returned to the Raine Study in the new role of Scientific Support Officer and will be working closely with the Scientific Manager (Dr Juliana Zabatiero) and Scientific Director (Prof Anne Smith) on science-related activities. She will be the point of contact for researchers regarding any project management and ROSS-related queries.
Liz Rehfeldt has joined the Raine Study as Communications Manager. Liz has worked extensively in media and communications for State Government, non-government organisations, hospitals and the university sector in senior roles and through her own communications consultancy.
She has been responsible for initiating, developing and managing communications and media relations programs, issues and reputation management, brand management and large stakeholder events. Liz is very keen to bring her skills and experience to the Raine Study and to work with all those involved in the study, including participants, researchers, partners, management and staff.
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