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Senior Research Officer - Mental Health Advocacy Lead

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
  • Campus Mental Health Strategy 2021 - 2025

Who Are We?

At MCRI we share a powerful vision; to re-imagine the future of child health. We are the home to many life-changing scientific discoveries. We believe that no question is too impossible to try and answer. We are renowned for our cutting edge focus on early interventions, improved diagnosis, prevention and development of potential cures. Our success is founded on a philosophy of collaboration through a multi-disciplinary approach to solving the toughest questions in child health. MCRI is a proud member of the Australian Network on Disability. We are committed to creating a positive working environment which values all backgrounds and experiences. We strive to foster an inclusive culture that is underpinned by equal opportunity for all and a culture based on respect, consideration and dignity.

About Campus Mental Health Strategy 2021 – 2025

The Melbourne Children’s Campus (Campus) and its partners (The RCH, MCRI and the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne) are committed to the Mental Health Strategy 2021 – 2025 (Mental Health Strategy). The overall objective of the Mental Health Strategy is for the Campus to deliver uniform and evidence-based, comprehensive infant, child and adolescent mental health care and prevention supported by education and research to ensure the best outcomes for children and their families. Child and family centred care will be at the heart of this. The clinically driven research will inform our workforce education and training programs which in turn will inform evidence based, consistent care as well as proactive internal and external policy and funding advocacy.

Your Opportunity:

The Senior Research Officer will require combined backgrounds of child mental health related research and an understanding of practice and public policy, someone with considerable gravitas and experience. They will play a central role in communicating with stakeholders across the Campus and in government, partner organisations, donors, and the general public. They will be responsible for the supervision of the Research Assistant and any future members of the advocacy team. The role will ensure alignment of the advocacy work within the Campus Mental Health Strategy and emerging Campus priorities in mental health, as well as the Mental Health Advocacy Lead with Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH). The combined generation of resources, political/policy support and creation of external partnerships will ensure the future sustainability of impact during and post the implementation of the Mental Health Strategy.

Your responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Working with leaders and staff from research groups (MCRI, Centre for Community Child Health), educational leaders (University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics) and specialist clinicians and departments within The RCH to implement the Mental Health Strategy, a Campus-wide approach to infant, child, and adolescent mental health.
  • Working effectively as a member of the Mental Health Strategy Implementation Team and help to foster engagement and relationships with key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Establishing Campus Advocacy Network with partnerships for effective, Campus, sector, government and media engagement.
  • Driving, developing and delivering a Campus advocacy agenda that is refined each year based on the internal and external environments and focussed on major areas of policy and practice prioritised through consultation with both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Cohesive and strategic responses to external reviews and reports.
  • Advocate for changes in the external environment that support evidence-based systems of care internal to the Campus and subsequently help deliver equitable and quality approaches to mental health for children across Victoria.
  • Establishing links with external stakeholders in government, professional bodies, philanthropic donors, advocacy groups, Beyond Blue, mental health NGOs, the University of Melbourne NHMRC Centre of Excellence (ALIVE) and family groups with lived experience of mental health concerns.
  • Developing policy briefs highlighting the mental health needs of children/services on Campus e.g. children with chronic disease with suggested solutions. These will align with a potential broader advocacy agenda e.g. around responsive community based mental health services for children/adolescents.
  • Evaluating opportunities for translation/commercialisation if appropriate.
  • Conducting continuous maintenance of neat and orderly records, lab books and data storage.

Selection Criteria


  • Relevant qualifications (e.g. PhD/Doctoral qualification, masters).
  • Appropriate level of expertise gained from a combination of experience, training or professional accreditation.
  • Previous experience working in mental health or mental health systems including policy makers and/or practitioners across different sectors relevant to child mental health.
  • Ability to engage, work with and integrate lived experience and peer support roles and consumers (children, young people) and their carers and families in co-design, consultation, and implementation.
  • Strong knowledge of and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights and ability to apply these in organisational and policy contexts.
  • Ability to analyse multiple sources of information and synthesise into an integrated strategic approach to mental health system development and quality improvement.
  • Project management skills/leadership in program/project planning implementation across multiple projects and organisations with the proven ability to unite stakeholders under a common goal within the agreed timeframe.
  • High level diplomacy, judgement, and problem-solving skills to resolve issues in a complex working environment.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills in engaging, developing collaborative relationships and working in partnership with diverse stakeholders to design, implement and evaluate Mental Health Strategy advocacy activities.
  • Experience and ability to lead and supervise/mentor employees in order to foster a values driven and positive culture.
  • Advanced verbal, written and presentation communication skills and experience with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated with independent judgement, initiative and influencing skills, as well as a creative and strategic thinker with an innovative can-do attitude.
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills with the ability to multi-task with high attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Capacity to work collaboratively in a team environment, keeping others informed of work progress or issues.
  • Intermediate skills and knowledge using the Microsoft Office suite including spreadsheets, database programs, and word processing.

What's in it for you:

  • 1 Year Contract (Possible Extension).
  • Attractive Salary $119,149 per annum (pro rata) + Super (with Salary Packaging).
  • Part Time (15.2 hours).
  • Flexible Working Options also available including for the right candidate, remote hours.
  • Ongoing Career Development and Training.
  • Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
  • Health and Wellbeing Program and an Employee Assistance Program.

Apply Now!!

For a full list of responsibilities and the key selection criteria download the position description or see the attached document.

Please submit your resume and cover letter in one document. We encourage you to apply, even if you don’t 100% match the exact criteria for this position. Applications will only be considered when submitted via clicking Apply Now. For specific questions not answered in the PD please contact Belinda Horton belinda.horton@mcri.edu.au using the subject line: Senior Research Officer - Mental Health Advocacy Lead enquiry via EthicalJobs.

Click Apply Now to proceed with your application. Position Reference: 30975

On occasions where we receive a large number of applications, we may close the advert ahead of the publicised closing date. We would therefore advise that you submit your completed application as soon as possible.

All applicants please be aware that in line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s Directions, all MCRI and VCGS workers must have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by no later than 29 October 2021 and be fully vaccinated by no later than 26 November 2021, unless a medical exception applies.

Applicants will be required to provide their Australian Government COVID-19 Digital Immunisation Certificate/s as part of our pre-employment requirements.

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, all members of the LGBTQI community and people with disability.

Should you require any specific support or adjustments please talk to us and we will be happy to accommodate.

How to apply

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