CONNECT Scientific Retreat 2023
1 December 2023
CONNECT (Consortium for National Indigenous Genomics Capacity), established in 2021, has a vision to develop a national Indigenous genomics architecture – at the interface of genomic science, health research, health care delivery, data sciences, ethics, policy and Indigenous knowledge systems – that centres and empowers Indigenous people to lead genomic research for the benefit of all Australians.
In October 2023 the CONNECT investigators and PhD students came together, along with key ALIGN collaborators, on the beautiful lands of the Murramarang people at the ANU Kioloa Coastal Campus in NSW.
The program featured progress updates from each of the five Domains of research, including presentations from across the consortia from Alex Brown, Kalinda Griffiths, Greg Pratt, Azure Hermes and Louise Lyons. The group also explored “Big Ideas”, cross-Domain collaborations, and strategic planning for 2024. A highlight of the week was presentations from some of the CONNECT PhD candidates including Dawn Lewis, Joel Keen, Sam Godwin and Bridie Moy.
Sam Godwin found the retreat really helpful and said “A highlight for me was the discussion that came as a result of the presentations. It was great to get feedback, and really question how we are going to take the research and turn and turn it into something impactful.”
A number of critical pieces of new and existing cross-Domain work were identified and prioritised for 2024. These large projects will address current gaps in aspects of Indigenous Genomics such as developing Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Governance protocols and legal mechanism for protecting and managing data, continuing the foundational and important work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community engagement, consultation and partnerships, and creating an Indigenous governance framework for precision health research and clinical trials.
“What I really loved was being able to have long, unstructured discussions about how we will actually get this important work done in an environment where I had no pressures to be doing anything else.” – Dr Sam Buckberry
Against a backdrop of beautiful bush and spectacular coast, and monitored very closely by the local fauna, the team achieved a lot of strategic and collaborative planning around the conference room, the fire pit, and enjoying the campus facilities and surrounding beaches!