Wednesday, 25 October 2023

Inaugural Women’s and Children’s Health Network Research Week Opening Address

I am delighted to be with you at the opening of the inaugural Women’s and Children’s Health Network Research Week and today’s Community Day.

To an audience such as this, I need not emphasise the importance of medical research and its application, but I do wish to affirm my commitment as Governor to supporting world-leading endeavours that are preventing disease, finding better treatments, and discovering cures.

From my visits to medical organisations in Adelaide such as SAHMRI in the Adelaide Biomed City hub, Tonsley Innovation District, and hospitals, I am confident that here in South Australia we are at the forefront of finding solutions where they are so desperately needed.

I have seen that our medical researchers are curious, innovative, and determined to search for breakthroughs that will have impacts here, nationally and across the globe.

Research Week not only shares the outstanding work being undertaken by the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, but importantly creates a wider profile which can inspire young minds, engender community support, and bring pride.

Significantly people can see how research, which of necessity is at times a long and painstaking journey, has as its end goal the ability to transform lives.

Twice a year, I am privileged to invest many outstanding South Australians with Australian Honours and to learn about their significant contributions to our State and Nation.

Among them are medical researchers and practitioners whose areas of expertise and achievements are varied, but all have a common goal - to create healthier communities.

In the 2022 Australia Day Honours, it was my privilege to invest Professor Marshall as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to medicine in the field of vaccinology and public health, to research, and to education.

Also, I am sure I speak for all here in congratulating Professor Marshall for being named as a finalist for the 2023 South Australian Scientist of the Year – and we eagerly await next month’s announcement.

Professor Marshall, like many others, willingly shares her expertise, encourages the next generation, and supports collaboration.

And that is at the heart of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network Research Week.

The Network is currently home to more than 200 researchers, undertaking more than 400 projects with more than 200 publications every year.

It is collaborative, with 95% of published papers including researchers outside of the organisation.

Your researchers win prestigious awards and significant grants that help make a difference - whether that’s finding out the causes of juvenile diabetes; discovering the most effective, safe, and efficient way to deliver vaccines to those who need them most, or how to improve First Nations wellbeing during pregnancy, birth and the early years.


The Community Day Program looks like a lot of fun. Children at the hospital or attending the hospital school can experience robotics, or find out why Barbie’s foot is flat and discover how orthotics can help her.

The Bloom art installation will enable children and adults to express their thoughts about medical research.

Who knows, the activities might enthral a young mind that might in 10, or 15, years time turn to research.

Because medical research isn’t some high flying ideal.

It is about us, our lives, and our future. Research touches everyone.

Over the next two days the associated symposium will bring researchers together, highlight research achievements and strengths and hopefully inspire early career researchers.

I commend the Network’s emphasis on providing a strong research base to enable our next generations to thrive from the early days of their lives.

I congratulate everyone involved in organising the inaugural Women’s and Children’s Health Network Research Week.

Long may our medical researchers “discover, and create change together”.

Coming events