ARC grant for CQU research to scale up Indigenous student resilience program

24 August 2022

A CQUniversity research project to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander middle school students to a ground-breaking resilience program has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant.

Announced today' the project' named Testing for scale up: An Indigenous social and emotional learning program' secured $448'440 in the latest round of Linkage Projects.

The grants are funded by the Australian Government to promote national and international research partnerships between researchers and business' industry' community organisations and other publicly-funded research agencies.

CQUniversity researchers Professor Janya McCalman and Professor Adrian Miller will lead the five-year project' for CQU's Jawun Research Centre' a flagship for Indigenous health equity research in Northern Australia.

Prof McCalman said the research took key learnings from the preliminary development and roll-out of Skills for Life (SFL)' the social-emotional curriculum that was co-developed by Menzies School of Health Research with educators and community members in five remote schools in the Northern Territory.

"Now we aim to establish the process and necessary conditions for scaling up SFL to diverse remote schools with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across Australia's top end'" she said.

"Further evidence for the program's effectiveness will also be built by measuring students' resilience' help-seeking and rates of psychological distress.

"The research will also assess teachers' cultural awareness' the quality of teacher-student relationships and perceptions of students' emotional and behavioural difficulties."

CQUniversity Vice-President (Research) Professor Grant Stanley said the ARC grant reflected research being conducted at CQU that is innovative' creates impact and drives positive change.

"The funding awarded to Prof McCalman and the Jawun Research Centre team recognises CQUniversity's ongoing work to collaborate with First Nations People and communities' and research that drives real impact'" Prof Stanley said.

The CQUniversity project is in partnership with the Queensland Department of Education' Tropical Brain and Mind Foundation Inc' Youth Empowered Towards Independence Inc' Western Cape College' Kowanyama State School' Northern Peninsula Area State College' Djarragun College' St Teresa's College Abergowrie and Many Tracks Ltd.

CQU's project is one of 61 national Linkage Projects grants collectively receiving more than $29 million over the next five years.