Science on the Swan 2018

Science on the Swan 2018: Science, Health and Community
- from mechanisms to models of care​

Science on the Swan is an annual health and medical science conference established as part of the Western Australian Health Translation Network by all five of the State’s universities: The University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and The University of Notre Dame Australia, together with The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the Telethon Kids Institute, the key teaching and research hospitals and the Western Australian Government through the Department of Health and the Office of Science.

Every year, it highlights a central theme in health and medical research with a unique mix of fundamental, biomedical, clinical, health and social science. The event is an excellent example of cross-sector collaboration in Western Australia. It brings together international luminaries with research leaders from all universities and research institutes in the State, and provides an opportunity for early and mid career researchers to showcase their own research and network with a wide range of specialists across disciplines.

Western Australia is a leader in the development of health research and its translation into health care improvements. The State’s world-class health facilities and strong base of medical research serve as a key strategic advantage for a knowledge rich and geographically well-positioned economy. Our research excellence is underpinned by extensive collaboration across the health sector that positions the State as a cohesive and globally competitive health care and research destination.

The Western Australian Health Translation Network exists as a significant collaborative initiative involving the State’s major teaching hospitals, universities and research institutes. The depth of this collaboration has ensured that Western Australia’s admirable heritage of successful medical training and research discoveries is translated into groundbreaking improvements in patient care.

Conference 2018

Our ability to recognise emerging health problems and to identify targets to prevent or cure disease hinges on multidisciplinary interactions between researchers, practitioners and policy makers across the spectrum. These interactions take place from discovery to translation, from bench to bedside and back again, in the laboratory, clinic, field, government department or computer lab.

In recent times, we have increasingly recognised the essential role of another player in the system, the end-users. The meaningful participation of the consumers of our care and the community more widely is essential to ensuring that the best research gets done, and with it the greatest chance of lasting improvements in health and wellbeing.

It is vital that we consider the implications of managing health and disease across the broad community, and that all aspects of health promotion, primary, secondary and tertiary care are engaged. It is increasingly recognised that chronic diseases in adults, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and mental health conditions, begin earlier in life, and that tackling these issues requires a holistic and multi-faceted approach. It is also recognised that the health care burden imposed by these conditions is exacerbated in regional and remote Australia, and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The 2018 Science on the Swan conference will present the latest thinking on three key areas:

  • The life course of chronic diseases 
  • Brain development and mental health
  • Aboriginal health and well being 

We will showcase the mechanisms that underpin the development and progression of chronic disease and mental health conditions across the life course, through to emerging models of care that optimise the involvement of individuals, their families and the community in the management of health and health problems.

We will also explore the impact of the environment, physical activity and obesity as well as the challenges and opportunities of healthcare delivery in regional Western Australia.

Finally, the conference will showcase the latest advances in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and the significant benefits arising from the co-design of health promotion and health management programs by health professionals and Aboriginal communities.

It is a priority of the Organising Committee to showcase the very best of medical science and health research in Western Australia; offer linkage opportunities for our researchers, and deliver effective and better health outcomes to the wider community in partnership with industry and all of our external stakeholders.

Conference Co-Chairs

Professor Graham Hall
Telethon Kids Institute

Professor Greg Blatch
The University of Notre Dame Australia

Gender Diversity


The Science on the Swan conference is committed to ensuring gender equity and inclusivity on its organising committee and in the range of invited speakers as well as developing a program that recognises the challenges of attending conferences and managing carer responsibilities, a balance that disproportionally affects women.



Increasing collaboration is vital to the growth of a successful and competitive health sector and a thriving ecosystem is essential for Western Australia’s sustained prosperity.

Science on the Swan is a once a year opportunity to invite specialists from a variety of disciplines around the world and across Australia to Perth, to meet and form the lasting networks that underpin collaboration, and to showcase Western Australia’s scientific strengths and human capital.

The partners and sponsors of this event derive significant benefit and exposure from their participation in this ambitious conference. If your organisation’s vision and mission relate to innovative and multi-disciplinary activity across the spectrum of chronic disease management, brain development and mental health and Aboriginal health and well being, you need to consider joining us to optimise the benefits and reach of this event.

Rising Stars

We recognise the importance of promoting local research and practice amongst students, early career researchers and clinical trainees, and would like to hear from rising stars in the medical and health community. You are invited to submit an abstract for oral presentation during the conference sessions. An inaugural Rising Star Award will be presented at the conference dinner.



Registrations are OPEN.