Be a part of the breakthroughs that change lives
Be a part of the breakthroughs that change lives
SCIA Research Corner
Our primary partners supporting Australian research into spinal cord injury are:
Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) – SCIA partner with NeuRA on a range of research initiatives including several that include NeuroMoves staff. NeuRA is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Sydney, Australia. As a leader in brain and nervous system research, their goal is to prevent, treat and cure brain and nervous system diseases, disorders and injuries through medical research.
Transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation combined with locomotor training to improve walking ability in people with chronic spinal cord injury: a multi-centre double-blinded randomised sham-controlled trial. The walking and spinal cord stimulation trial ran by NeuRA aims to determine if spinal cord stimulation combined with walking training is more effective than only walking training. This will help to identify the most effective type of training to rehabilitate walking function.
The trial lasts for 16 weeks in total, with walking training 3x a week for 12 weeks. The trial is for people with a thoracic level spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cure Australia – SCIA works with SpinalCure on a range of projects including a current project utilising NeuroMoves staff. SpinalCure is Australia’s premier nationally operating Not for Profit organisation funding spinal cord injury research. They are committed to making a cure for spinal cord injury not only achievable but available and fund breakthrough technologies, data, and creative thinking.
SCIA Supported Research
SCIA has ongoing research partnerships with the following organisations to advance research to build a better community for people with disabilities.
University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) has co-funded a three year research project in collaboration with the University of Sydney (USYD) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to investigate the current physical activity levels of persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI) in a national-level survey. This survey will measure current physical activity volume and intensity while exploring what barriers individuals regularly face to participate in exercise and any motivators for physical activity.
A research team at the University of Technology Sydney is currently seeking individuals with neurological conditions who are using graduated compression stockings to participate in their study. The primary objective of this project is to gather valuable insights and perspectives from individuals with neurological conditions regarding the use of graduated compression stockings as a preventive measure against deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Participants must be people with neurological conditions (such as stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.) above 18 years old wearing graduated compression stockings.
The University of Melbourne
SCIA is backing a research trial aimed at restoring respiratory and upper limb function following cervical spinal cord injury. The trial investigates the effects of combining several therapies: exercise training (ET), transcutaneous spinal stimulation (TSS) and therapeutic acute intermittent hypoxia (tAIH), to see if they can result in lasting improvements in the upper limb and respiratory function after cervical spinal cord injury. The goal is to identify the most effective combination of therapies for future clinical trials.
The research trial is hosted at the University of Melbourne and conducted by multiple international teams. Please read the news post for detailed information about the research trial.
Edith Cowan University
SCIA together with Edith Cowan University is conducting research to advance exercise medicine for people with neurological disorders with the broad focus area of the Evaluation of a clinic-based, resistance and cardiorespiratory exercise program for people with neurological disorders to assess health benefits with emphasis on cardiovascular, metabolic, skeletal, and neuromuscular outcomes.
Western Sydney University: How individuals with physical impairments manage their self-reported eczema.
This project will use interviews with adults (aged 18- 65) who have a physical impairment and self-reported eczema to gather information about how eczema in managed at home.
University of Adelaide: Prevalence, Management & Treatment of Chronic Cognitive Dysfunction following Spinal Cord Injury. This project seeks to understand the perception of an individual with spinal cord injury (SCI) of their cognitive function, including their memory, attention, decision-making skills, and multi-tasking/planning ability.
Participants must be 18 years or older, have experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI) at least 1 year ago, and be fluent in English.
University of Canberra: The aim of this research is to understand the impact of lower extremity disability on sexual function and investigate the need and preferences for sex-related assistive technology.
The survey is part of a wider project to develop assistive technology to alleviate sexual dysfunction in people with lower and upper extremity disabilities. This survey will enable the researchers to gain a more detailed understanding of the nature and impact of sexual function impairment in this community, and the needs and preferences of individuals in this community when developing targeted technologies to address impairments.
University of Sydney: To understand preferences for community-based physical activity and physical activity levels of people living with moderate-to-severe TBI.
Central Queensland University: Perspectives of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and healthcare workers for an electrical stimulation home-device as a new bionic innovation treatment.
Participants must be 18 years or older, have had a spinal cord injury for at least 12 months, and your injury is above T12. For health worker and carer participants, you must be 18 years or older and have worked or currently be working with people who have a spinal cord injury.
Australian Catholic University (ACU): Let’s talk about sex toys. This research aims to understand the perspectives of individuals with physical disabilities on using sexual assistive devices.
Eligible participants must be 18 years or older, speak English, independently communicate (without assistance from individuals or technology), have a diagnosed physical disability, use or have previously used a sexual assistive device and are willing to discuss their sexuality and use of sexual assistive devices.
University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne: Virtual reality in the management of phantom limb pain.
Participants must be 18 years or older, living with lower limb loss and experiencing phantom limb pain.
University of NSW (UNSW): Virtual Reality Walking study for treatment of neuropathic pain following SCI
Participants must be 18 years and older. Have a complete SCI at C5 or below for greater than 12 months and have persistent neuropathic pain.
Austin Health, TESCoN, The University of Melbourne: Driving functional recovery after SCI using transcutaneous electrical spinal cord neuromodulation (TESCoN)
Participants must be between 15-75 years, have tetraplegia below C4 as a result of a traumatic SCI. Time since injury between 3-6 months, or 12 months or more. Not had previous tendon or nerve transfer in the hand or arm, and no implanted device (eg pacemaker)
University of Technology Sydney (UTS): People with mobility impairing neurological conditions perspectives about graduated compression stockings (GCS) to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
Participants must be above 18 with mobility-impairing neurological conditions and use GCS.
University of New South Wales (UNSW): A pilot trial to examine the effect of an EEG neurofeedback system as an innovative treatment for chronic neuropathic pain after a spinal cord injury.
Participants must be 18 years and older, have persistent pain at or below the level of injury and live in Sydney metropolitan area.
NSW Health, The University of Sydney: The SMART Trial- Spinal Cord Injury, mind and heart. A novel neuro-cardiac self-regulation therapy to improve autonomic and neural function after SCI
Participants must be 18 years and older and have a SCI for longer than 12 months.
NSW Health, University of Sydney, NeuRA, Lambert Initiative: Spinal Cord Injury and Chronic Pain, exploring effects of cannabidiol on chronic pain following SCI (SCAN trial)
Participants must be 18 years and older, have a SCI with ongoing pain and reside in NSW.
NSW Health, University of Technology (UTS): Metagenomics based diagnostics for control of urinary tract infections,
Participants must be 18 years and older, have a neurogenic bladder and a stable SCI or stable MS.
University of Technology Sydney (UTS): Robot assisted game based training for the arm and upper limb following a spinal cord injury
Adults who have had a spinal cord injury that affected their ability to move their hand and arm for a minimum of six months.
Research at SCIA is underpinned by our Research Framework.
Clinical Governance and Research Committee
Research and Clinical Governance at SCIA is supported by the Clinical Governance and Research Committee (CGRC), a subcommittee of the SCIA Board of Directors.
The CGRC members are experts and people with lived experience that voluntarily provide advice on research and clinical matters. Meetings are quarterly. Current members include:
Professor Glen M Davis OAM (SCIA Board Member and Committee Co-Chair): Professor of Clinical Exercise Sciences in the Sydney School of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, with clinical and research experience in exercise therapy and rehabilitation for people with neurological conditions, particularly spinal cord injury.
Leesa Addison (SCIA Board Member and Committee Co-Chair): A passionate change advocate currently working as a business and digital transformation consultant after 25 years working in technology and innovation as a CIO and senior executive. A lived experience advocate for systemic improvement of our health and community services sectors serving as a Non-Executive Director in disability and mental health.
Dianne Lucas (SCIA CEO): Experience as both the Deputy CEO and Acting CEO at St Vincent De Paul Society NSW, where she led several disability services. Dianne has also managed several organisational functions including organisational performance and development, information and communications technology, governance, fundraising and communications as well as human resources.
Judith Cross AM (Lived Experience Representative): 22 years’ experience as a CEO working in health and community services with a particular interest in governance.
Professor Mary Galea AM FAHMS (Research Representative): Professorial Fellow, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne. A physiotherapist and neuroscientist, with clinical research experience in the rehabilitation of neurological conditions including stroke, MS and SCI.
Dr Jackie Reznik (Clinical Representative): Extensive national and international expertise as a clinical neurological physiotherapist (SCI, Brain Injuries and other chronic/genetic neurological conditions) in adults and children. Also a researcher in the area of SCI and traumatic/non-traumatic brain injuries.
Dr Camila Quel De Oliveria (SCIA Internal Research Adviser): Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of Technology Sydney. Postgraduate clinical qualifications in Neurological Physiotherapy applied to the chronic and acute patient (adult and paediatric) populations. Is an allied health researcher in neurological populations, with special interest in SCI, Camila is a SCIA representative member of the committee.
Beverley Wright GCBM (Community Family Member/Carer): 10 years lived experience with her husband who is a C3/4 Quadriplegic. A highly motivated management professional with substantial senior management and leadership experience across a wide range of industries including Aged Care, Commercial and Retail Banking, Superannuation and Hospitality.
Dr Amanda Frier (Rural or Regional Clinician): A clinical background in nutrition and dietetics and lived experience of neurological disability have placed her on the giving and receiving ends of healthcare for people with disability. Experience in qualitative research in neurological disability, Type 2 diabetes, and the social determinants of health.
If you would like to discuss anything on this page in more detail please contact Jess Hansson, Secretary of Clinical Governance and Research Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 7003 5105.
Research Framework and Research Plan
Research at SCIA is underpinned by our Research Framework and guided by our Bi-annual Research Plan.
Please take some time to read the following documents to see if you project aligns:
If you would like SCIA’s Clinical Governance and Research Committee (CGRC) to provide your research support through promotion, support, partnership and funding please fill out our Research Proposal Form or Research Support or Promotion Request Form
If you have any further questions please contact Jess Hansson, Secretary of Clinical Governance and Research Committee, at email@example.com