Supporting the next generation of clinician-researchers

4 Jul 2024

The University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) is a world-leader in innovative and multidisciplinary collaborative clinical research. 

The centre prides itself on fostering an environment of opportunity for aspiring and established health professionals to explore research fundamentals, encouraging the adoption of evidence-based practices within the clinic. 

Associate Professor Nadeeka Dissanayaka

Associate Professor Nadeeka Dissanayaka, and the Dementia and Neuro Mental Health (DNMH) research unit, is one such example of UQCCR’s development pathway for hybrid clinician-researchers.

Dr Dissanayaka and her team have overseen the training of more than 60 clinical psychology and medicine students. 

The DNMH research unit have cultivated many successful and mutually beneficial collaborations with postgraduate clinical students in the past. 

For example, researchers and postgraduate clinical students have been able to harmonise their skillsets to further complement the development of novel diagnostic and treatment interventions for anxiety and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

Postgraduate clinical students have been able to observe the more thorough methodological procedures applied when establishing new interventions, whilst simultaneously utilising their own placement experiences to help advise implementation planning for optimal clinician uptake and adherence.  

Teagan King

The DNMH research unit’s ongoing support and commitment to developing clinician-researchers is highlighted through the recent reflections of current Doctor of Clinical Psychology student Teagan King.

“Completing my dissertation with the DNMH unit has provided me with the invaluable opportunity of conducting research to improve the care of people living with dementia.

“I strive to be a scientist-practitioner in my clinical practice and will take these findings to better support people living with dementia that I work with,” said Ms King.

Clinical Neuropsychology student Kumar Sivakumaran who is also currently completing his Doctor of Psychology training, credits his time with the DNMH unit as helping to shape his understanding of the challenges faced by clinicians and researchers.

Kumar Sivakumaran

“Training through the DPsych program has provided a strong foundation for operating as a scientist-practitioner but my experiences with the DNMH unit, have broadened my understanding of patient needs and the wealth of research that still needs to be undertaken to improve patient care. 

“I’ve been privileged to pursue a research area of both interest and clinical significance and I hope to maintain the balance of a hybrid clinician-researcher throughout my career to contribute to evidence-based practice,” said Mr Sivakumaran.

The DNMH research unit invites clinicians and postgraduate clinical trainees to undertake clinical research with them. You can contact the unit at