FocusOnResearch is a series of thought-provoking events for curious minds.

Learn more about the impactful research happening at La Trobe, our collaborations and partnerships. Find out how our researchers are making a real difference in the community, for the nation, and around the world.

All events are delivered virtually and recordings are available under the program below.


Connected is an open office door to a conversation with an academic in a building you rarely enter. It’s a chance to revel in the wide variety of impactful research happening across La Trobe. Dr Wade Kelly from our Research Impact team interviews our researchers about their passions, motivations and unpicks the ‘why’ behind their projects.

Everyone is welcome at Connected. Grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

Wednesday 28 October, 4.20-5pm

  • Associate Professor Jodi Oakman was awarded a grant from Optus, Medibank and La Trobe to assess and gather data on the mental and physical health impacts of working from home. Her project will develop guidelines on how to protect and optimise employee health and wellbeing while working from home.
  • Professor Susan Dodds is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) at La Trobe. Did you know she is a Professor of Philosophy? Her research is in applied ethics and political philosophy. She is recognised nationally and internationally for her leadership in research ethics and public policy development related to emerging medical technologies. Find out more about Sue's interests, passions and motivations in this Connected interview.

Register here

The La Trobe Industry PHD: connecting world class research with business

Wednesday 28 October, 12 noon – 1pm

Join us for this engaging panel discussion as we discover how our Industry PhD program is improving industry research and outcomes across Victoria.

We’ll hear from two diverse partner organisations and learn how our world leading research is contributing to their success. We’ll also hear from the PhD candidates as they share their experiences in undertaking research that directly influences industry knowledge and practice.

La Trobe's Pro Vice-Chancellor of Graduate and Global Research Professor Chris Pakes will lead this informative session.

This event is open to all of our industry colleagues who have an interest in the Industry PhD, along with potential and current PhD students - and their supervisors.

Register here

Sports Medicine Student Showcase

Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 October

Changing circumstances around the world have limited our ability to share and discuss how best to manage injuries in sport. The Sports Medicine Student Showcase will highlight emerging leaders in sports medicine and allow them to present their new discoveries. This virtual conference will allow students to reach an international audience and engage with clinicians to share clinically-relevant knowledge.

Open to all academics from La Trobe and elsewhere and clinicians working in sports medicine.

Register here

A Wellbeing Worthy of COVID times: the need for a relational approach

Thursday 29 October, 6 - 7.15pm

COVID-19 has made us aware of our interconnections as never before. The spread of the virus makes manifest our links with distant others. We are suddenly conscious of the unsought intimacies of touchscreens, supermarket trolleys, door handles. As lockdown deprived us of those we ordinarily see, it also brought an unaccustomed upsurge of neighbourliness, and new awareness of how being together matters. Wellbeing, already a focus of concern, became a primary preoccupation, with growing calls that it be made the centre of our politics, that we should seek not simply a return to ‘normal’, but to ‘build back better’ to a kinder and more socially responsible world.

In this seminar, Professor Sarah White and Dr Shreya Jha (Relational Wellbeing Collaborative) make the case that the COVID crisis demands a new, relational approach to wellbeing, one that reflects what people in practice can do and be, as well as how they think and feel. Putting relationships at the centre means recognising that people are in relationship with others, and this critically affects the opportunities they face and the choices they make. The discussion will address the challenge such an approach to wellbeing poses to our policy and institutions, and how it might be advanced in practice.

Open to all academics from La Trobe and elsewhere.

Register here

If you were unable to attend any events, check out the recordings here.

In universities we trust: the role of university research in society

In the age of digital disruption, trust in our public institutions is in trouble, among the causalities of the emerging trust-deficit in our democracy is the public’s confidence in experts. This forum brought together researchers from a range of disciplines and career stages to contemplate what comes next as universities grapple with resetting during and after COVID. View the event here.

Opening opportunities: how partnering with industry can unlock new possibilities

Forming partnerships and working collaboratively with industry is one of the key enablers to enhancing research impact. Discover how our strategic partnerships with Optus and Medibank are bringing value to researchers through benefits such as funding and are working together to meet community demands. View the event here.

Creating a ‘carer friendly’ research culture

Caring work continues to pose particular barriers to career progression. While the gender gap is narrowing, the majority of caring work continues to be carried out by women. The global pandemic has exacerbated this gender divide, with the closure of schools and childcare centres, women are doing more care work than ever and there is a risk that hard-won gender equity goals will be regressed. In this event, a panel of experts proposes solutions to how Universities could better support those with caring responsibilities. View the event here.

Risky Business: The politics of preparing for a pandemic

A bold discussion about risk, and how dynamics of fear and mistrust impact equality and access during a pandemic. Our expert panel discussed the drivers of ‘panic-buying,’ from supermarket squabbles over toilet paper to global grabs for vaccines. The event is available to watch using the link here. Please note that you need to register for the event to be able to view the recording.


Listen to these short interviews with our researchers to discover the passion behind their projects. Click on the name below to watch each interview.

  • Dr Timothy Jones, a historian who researches equality, social cohesion and wellbeing in gender, sexuality and religion. He has worked as a consultant and visiting expert to numerous inquiries, including the UN Human Rights Council investigation into so called 'LGBT conversion therapy'.
  • Associate Professor Liz Conor is an ARC Future Fellow and author of two books, Liz has published widely in academic and mainstream press on gender, race and representation.
  • Dr Amy Dennett’s research explores how tele-rehabilitation can be implemented for cancer survivors and will help set them up for healthy active lifestyles.

Shepparton Short Talks

This is your chance to hear more about the research activities happening on our Shepparton campus and beyond. Click each talk below to watch the event.

  • Talk 1: Dr Phuc Nguyen, Dr Mishel McMahon and Corina Modderman
  • Talk 2: Dr Darius von G├╝ttner, Dr Doug Robinson, Dr Margaret Hickey and Dr Lucinda Aberdeen