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Griffith University secures $5 million grant to advance Tracking Cube project

Joseph Guenzler -

Griffith University's research initiative, aimed at identifying neurodevelopmental disorders in at-risk children and adolescents, has secured a $5 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund.

The university's success in securing the $5 million grant is noteworthy, given that only nine teams across the nation received funding in this grant round.

Professor Dianne Shanley. (Image: Griffith)

Led by Professor Dianne Shanley from Griffith University's School of Applied Psychology, the project builds on the prior success of the $1.5 million NHMRC grant for the Tracking Cube, co-designed by her team.

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant will support the team in commercialising Tracking Cube products through an efficient lean business model.

"This will help us to sustainably implement our products for years to come, improving access to healthcare for children while giving back to the community who originally co-designed with our team," Professor Shanley said.

The Tracking Cube originated when community members remote Indigenous communities in Queensland voiced their concern around long waitlists for children's services.

"They wanted to ensure their children were supported close to home and placed on local treatment pathways as quickly as possible," Professor Shanley said.

"The Tracking Cube is a culturally responsive, tiered neurodevelopmental screening approach that can be integrated with child well-health checks."

A pilot implementation at an Indigenous remote primary health service revealed that the Tracking Cube identified neurodevelopmental concerns four times more effectively than conventional care.

The pilot was also able to place the 11 per cent of children identified as at-risk of FASD on local pathways of support.

Additionally, the pilot demonstrated that children were six times more likely to receive local support from Aboriginal Health Workers.

Professor Shanley outlines the project's next steps, involving a pragmatic stepped wedge cluster randomised trial across eight diverse Indigenous primary healthcare partner sites to assess the Tracking Cube's effectiveness.

"The Tracking Cube aims to increase identification of neurodevelopmental concerns," she said.

"Once identified, the digital system can recommend what to do next for local health providers, helping them make evidence-based decisions about diagnosis and support.

"This will enable earlier support for children with neurodevelopmental concerns in primary healthcare.


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