Children and carers in the Early Start Discovery Space

UOW Early Start research centre to receive $1.2 million in Prevention Research funding

UOW Early Start research centre to receive $1.2 million in Prevention Research funding

Funding to progress early childhood research and collaboration

University of Wollongong (UOW) Early Start research centre has secured $1.2 million in funding from Prevention Research Support Program (PRSP), a competitive funding program of the NSW Ministry of Health.

The PRSP invests in research infrastructure and innovation in prevention priority areas that drive system and community outcomes in NSW.

Senior Professor Anthony Okely, at the School of Health and Society, said the University is thrilled that the important work of Early Start has been duly recognised and supported by the NSW Ministry of Health.  

“At Early Start we believe that the first years of a child’s life are integral in forming lifelong mental and physical health,” Professor Okely said.

“This funding through the Prevention Research Support Program will allow us to continue the important work we have been fostering with the Centre for Population Health and our local health district (LHD) partners over the last five years, as well as establish new relationships with three new LHDs.

“The staff in these LHD’s have a core understanding of the service delivery and the needs of children, families and educators within their areas. We are working with them to ensure research is meaningful from a multi-sector perspective, including the needs of families, educators, policy makers and researchers.

“As part of this new round of funding we will offer four University of Wollongong funded scholarships, which will appeal to LHD staff as a means to build research capacity within NSW Health. We will employ three part time post-Doctoral researchers as well as several professional staff and research assistants across the four year term.

“In addition to this, we will use these funds to support and foster research collaboration from within our partner LHDs - Illawarra Shoalhaven, South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, Northern Sydney and Southern NSW. Each will be provided funds to employ a research coordinator within their service to assist the LHD’s to pursue further projects and offer in-house research support to their colleagues.

“A total of seven research projects will be completed over the coming four years, some being new programs of work and others expanding on the existing projects Early Start has pioneered.”

Early Start is one of eight Research Institutes at UOW. Current research focuses on promoting health, learning, and development for all children through four interrelated research themes: food and movement; family, learning and interaction; play, and curriculum; and self-regulation and cognitive development.

Early Start’s researchers are from diverse disciplines including public health, psychology, education, paediatrics, sociology, nutrition and dietetics, and information technology. Projects are developed in collaboration with the Illawarra Local Health District and the Centre for Population Health to extend the benefits and integration of research findings.

For more information about Early Start visit: