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The evolution of multiagency partnerships for safety over the course of research engagement: experiences from the NoGAPS project
  1. Caroline F Finch1,
  2. Alex Donaldson1,
  3. Belinda J Gabbe2,
  4. Akram Muhammad1,
  5. Anna Wong Shee1,
  6. David G Lloyd3,4,
  7. Jill Cook1,5
  1. 1Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), SMB Campus, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
  5. 5La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Caroline Finch, Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), SMB Campus, Federation University Australia, P. O. Box 663, Ballarat, VIC 3353, Australia; c.finch{at}


Objective Implementation of effective population-level injury prevention interventions requires broad multiagency partnerships. Different stakeholders address this from varying perspectives, and potential conflicts in priorities need to be addressed for such partnerships to be effective. The researcher-led National Guidance for Australian football Partnerships and Safety (NoGAPS) project involved the engagement and participation of seven non-academic partners, including government health promotion and safety agencies; peak sports professional and advocacy bodies and health insurance organisations.

Design The partnership's ongoing development was assessed by each partner completing the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Partnership Analysis Tool (VPAT) annually over 2011–2015. Changes in VPAT scores were compared through repeated measures analysis of variance.

Results Overall, mean total VPAT scores increased significantly over the 5-year period (125.1–141.2; F5,30=4.61, p=0.003), showing a significant improvement in how the partnership was functioning over time. This was largely driven by significant increases in several VPAT domains: ‘determining the need for a partnership’ (F5,30=4.15, p=0.006), ‘making sure the partnership works’ (F5,30=2.59, p=0.046), ‘planning collaborative action’ (F5,30=5.13, p=0.002) and ‘minimising the barriers to the partnership’ (F5,30=6.66, p<0.001).

Conclusion This is the first study to assess the functioning of a multiagency partnership to address sport injury prevention implementation. For NoGAPS, the engagement of stakeholders from the outset facilitated the development of new and/or stronger links between non-academic partners. Partners shared the common goal of ensuring the real-world uptake of interventions and research evidence-informed recommendations. Effective multiagency partnerships have the potential to influence the implementation of policies and practices beyond the life of a research project.

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  • Twitter Follow Caroline Finch at @CarolineFinch and Alex Donaldson at @AlexDonaldson13

  • Contributors CFF, BJG, JC, DGL and AD all contributed to the conception of the overall NoGAPS project and the interpretation of the findings. CFF and AD specifically designed the subcomponent of the project reported in this paper. AM undertook the statistical analysis of the data. CFF and AWS contributed to the writing of the manuscript. All authors contributed to editing of the manuscript for intellectual input and approved the final version of the manuscript prior to submission.

  • Funding This study was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Project Grant (ID 565907) with additional support (both cash and in kind) from the project partner agencies: the Australian Football League; Victorian Health Promotion Foundation; NSW Sporting Injuries Committee; JLT Sport, a division of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Australia Pty Ltd; the Department of Planning and Community Development; Sport and Recreation Victoria Division and Sports Medicine Australia National and Victorian Branches. Author AD's salary was funded by this research grant. CFF was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID1058737). BJG was supported by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (ID1048731). JC was supported by a NHMRC practitioner fellowship (ID1058493). The Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention is one of the International Research Centres for the Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health supported by the International Olympic Committee.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval University Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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