Early career researchers attending Sleep DownUnder 2023, including those still completing their post graduate studies, were invited to submit an entry to be considered for the 2023 Sleep Health Foundation Innovation and Sleep Science Communication Award. Stage 1 entries involved creating a mock ‘press release’ about their research (max 250 words) outlining their topic and how it will positively impact the sleep field and the wider community in future years.
From this initial judging process, five finalists were identified - Fadia Isaac from Federation University, Aaron Schokman from University of Sydney, Alexandra Shriane from CQ University, Dr Daniel Sullivan from University of Queensland, and Dr Alexander Sweetman from Flinders University. These finalists were invited to present live at Sleep DownUnder on Saturday November 11 at 3:45-5:15pm. Stage 2 required finalists to provide a 5-minute pitch of their research demonstrating how they could see their research being translated into practice and its potential to have a positive impact on society. Our three judges, Olivia Henry, Dr Jenny Haycock, and last year's Award winner, Melissa Cleary, then made a final but very tough decision based on the Award's criteria, identifying the top three finalists of the event. Congratulations to our winner, Alexandra Shriane from CQ University, who the judges awarded first place! Second place was awarded to Dr Alexander Sweetman, and third placed to Dr Daniel Sullivan. Congratulations to all of our finalists who participated last week
First place: Alexandra Shriane
Alexandra Shriane is a PhD candidate at the Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University. Alex's PhD investigates behavioural interventions to improve sleep in shift workers, with a specific focus on sleep hygiene. Alex brings a personal background of shiftwork to her research, having spent over 10 years as a paramedic.
Second place: Dr Alexander Sweetman
Dr Alexander Sweetman is a Senior Program Manager at the Australasian Sleep Association and has Academic Status at Flinders University. He is interested in improving access to evidence-based treatments for insomnia, and co-morbid insomnia and sleep apnoea throughout the health system. He leads a Commonwealth funded 3 year primary care sleep health education and implementation program with the Australasian Sleep Association, and is chair of the Behavioural Management of Sleep Disorders education subcommittee. With Dr Cele Richardson and Dr Chelsea Reynolds, he has developed and tested a self-guided interactive digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia(CBT-i) program tailored for the Australian health system.
Third place: Dr Daniel Sullivan
Dr Dan Sullivan is a psychologist and research fellow at the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, working on the Let’s Yarn About Sleep project to improve sleep health equity for First Nations Australians. In addition to his research appointment, Dr Sullivan maintains a part-time practice as a senior sleep psychologist in a multidisciplinary hospital sleep centre, and he previously worked for over five years as a polysomnographer. Dr Sullivan completed his MSc in sleep medicine at the University of Sydney, and PhD in clinical psychology at Griffith University, where his research examined the psychological aspects of sleep-related headaches.
Keep an eye out for recordings of their presentations, which we'll be sharing on our website and YouTube soon!