A UNIVERSITY of Newcastle researcher has won an award for research having real impacts in the community.
Behavioural scientist and professor in the school of medicine and public health Professor Kypros Kypri has been recognised with a Research Action Award for his work analyzing the effects of city’s lockout laws on assaults in the CBD.
Through his research Professor Kypri discovered that the restrictions quantifiably led to a drop in assaults through a comparison with a similar area where nightlife continued without the same changes.
The findings helped support the restrictions remaining in place, and ultimately expanding to Sydney in 2014 and Queensland in 2016.
Professor Kypri said there was a “confluence of factors” in the spread of similar policies but the research offered leaders evidence supporting the changes.
He said his findings helped “reframe in terms of public health implications”.
“Research alone very rarely drives policy change but it can facilitate reform,” he said. “In this situation, it gave the politicians something to show that the changes they were introducing were likely to be effective.”
The Sax Institute awards recognise research having an effect in real terms.
The institute’s chief executive, Professor Sally Redman, said the work of the winners would benefit the entire community.
“Professor Kypros Kypri demonstrated that reducing trading hours of licensed premises could reduce alcohol-related violence and informed alcohol policies in both NSW and Queensland,” she said.
Professor Kypri is one of two researchers honoured on Tuesday alongside Patricia Cullen from the George Institute for Global Health.
Ms Cullen, a PhD candidate, evaluated a community-led program aimed at overcoming barriers for Aboriginal people obtaining driver’s licences. Her research is credited with enabling the program to adapt to meet community needs, ultimately leading to it receiving direct state government funding in 14 areas in NSW.
The Sax Institute is an independent non-profit organisation with 48 health service research groups as members.