Researching quality use of medicines and thoracic cancer healthcare


In 2022, TOGA will introduce a new co-curricular program, aimed at early-career researchers, to design high-quality research proposals that maximise the quality use of medicines and optimise thoracic cancer healthcare.

The Opportunity

The generation of evidence through the development of high-quality research underpins the quality use of medicines. Selected applicants will undertake a series of workshops and a small research project under the guidance of a mentor to build critical skills in designing and executing research, and deepen their understanding of thoracic cancer healthcare and treatments. Opportunities to present research as both a poster and an oral presentation are included, enabling practical experience of communicating research and responding to critical peer-review.

Applicants from all disciplines involved in the care of thoracic cancer patients are encouraged. The research project is to be completed in addition to any employment, and mentors may come from anywhere in Australia or New Zealand and supervise remotely. Selected projects will have the opportunity for award of a stipend upon successful completion.

Following completion of this opportunity, applicants may choose to continue with various other competitive opportunities to develop a career in thoracic cancer research, although this opportunity is not a pre-requisite for the options below:

It is expected that applicants will have been introduced to critical appraisal and evidence-based medicine through the Lung Cancer Preceptorship. Interested applicants who have not completed the Lung Cancer Preceptorship but have reached an appropriate level in their career where they are suited to this program researching the quality use of medicines and thoracic cancer healthcare should contact TOGA on to view a recording of a past Lung Cancer Preceptorship Event.

The Program

Relevant pre-recorded seminars

Select the most relevant seminars to assist you in designing your own research proposal. These seminars are freely available and viewing is not restricted to those selected for the program. Theses seminars are designed to be complementary to the program activities and their viewing is not required as a component of the program:

Program Workshops

Suggested live workshops for the program may include

  • Emerging research in thoracic oncology
  • Established Australian data repositories and biobanks in thoracic cancers
  • Research Project Design

Attendance at these workshops will enable networking with peers and mentors, building collaborations to pursue research and explore further career options. Program registrants will also be invited to attend a TOGA Scientific Committee meeting and a working group meeting to learn more about a cancer clinical trials cooperative group and opportunities to become involved.

Research Projects

Research Projects are intended to be mini research projects, retrospective data analyses, meta-analyses, qualitative research, literature reviews or similar that will provide the participant with ‘hands on’ experience of research, and designed and completed under the guidance of a mentor.

Research project designs will be submitted in July 2022, with selection of successful projects announced by October 2022. Program participants then have until October 2023 to complete their research project.

Participants are expected to present a poster presentation of their ‘research in progress’ at the 2023 TOGA Annual Scientific Meeting, and present their completed results at the closed meeting of the 2023 Lung Cancer Preceptorship. This experience will build necessary research skills and commence a research track record for program participants.

Program participants are also encouraged to submit their results for presentation at other conferences. It is hoped that research projects will be published in peer-reviewed journals, although this is likely to need to occur beyond the October 2023 deadline.

2022 Program Timeline

2022 Program Mentors

Rob Stirling

Dr Fiona Hegi-Johnson is a Radiation Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Clinically, she specialises in the treatment of patients with lung and breast cancer, including a subspecialty interest in stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR). Fiona is also the Chair of the TROG Lung Subspecialty Group and is the chief investigator on a number of clinical trials. Fiona’s research, which is supported by a Victorian Cancer Agency Fellowship, focuses on integrating biological and imaging information into radiotherapy to develop personalized, biologically driven approaches to radiotherapy treatment.

A/Prof Emily Stone is a Respiratory Physician, Senior Staff Specialist and Head of Thoracic Medicine within the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Lung Transplantation at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. She is a conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales and the Chair of the St Vincent’s Hospital Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Team (MDT).

Her chief clinical and research interests are in the fields of lung cancer, multidisciplinary team care and tobacco control. Emily has recently completed doctoral studies in clinical data science in multidisciplinary team care via the University of Sydney. She is the 2019 recipient of the IASLC Lectureship Award in Smoking Cessation. She is the NSW Principal Investigator for the International Lung Screen Trial (ILST) investigating low dose CT screening for lung cancer in Australia and internationally. 

Prof Robert Stirling is a Senior Respiratory Specialist and Lead Clinician at Alfred Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Meeting at The Alfred Hospital, Prahran as well as treating medical specialist at Epworth Health, Richmond. His research interests include the improvement of quality of care in lung cancer, and chronic sinus and lung infection and the multidisciplinary meetings in lung cancer care. Robert is the co-coordinating principal investigator for the Victorian Lung Cancer Registry (VLCR), and chair of the VLCR Steering Committee. He has recently completed and published an expert panel consensus guidelines for the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement for Lung Cancer and has over 60 peer reviewed publications and conference abstract publications in the area of respiratory medicine.

We are still assembling mentors from various disciplines.

We invite sponsors to be involved in this program through sponsorship of a workshop and a named stipend. Please contact TOGA on to discuss sponsorship options.