The Rewire Hines Award for Early Career Research

The Rewire Hines Award for ‘Early Career Research’ is an annual award that targets students who work in the field of neuroscience or neuropsychology. These students are early career researchers (ECRs) within the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences (MSPS) at Melbourne University. Students that are ECRs have been identified by the School as a priority for financial support and mentoring. Their immediate postdoctoral years are critical for career success but challenging in view of limited research funding and precarious employment.

The award includes an annual cash prize of $1,000 to support a career development activity (e.g., conference travel, research participant payment, training course). The award supplements the recently inaugurated “Friends of Psychology” awards, which support career development activities for ECRs, and the new “John Trinder Early Career Research Award in cognitive and behavioural neuroscience” and “Margot Prior Early Career Research Award in clinical science”, each of which recognises the best publication by an ECR in the respective fields

Eligibility

All Level A and above fixed term and continuing academics of the School who were awarded their PhD in the preceding 5 years, who hold at least a 0.5FTE position in the School, and whose research is in the field of clinical or cognitive neuroscience and/or clinical neuropsychology.

Request

Applicants will make a specific request for funding to support a research-related purpose that is not covered by existing staff entitlements (e.g., to support research-related travel, help organise a Conference, attend a Conference or professional development activity, purchase equipment, research assistance or publication costs).

Application format

Applicants will submit a short (two pages maximum) application that 1) documents their eligibility for the award and 2)outlines the proposed request and how the award will be spent on it; and 3) provides a short justification of the request in terms of its expected career benefit.

Selection Process

Selection of award recipients will be made by a gender-balanced committee of three senior academics chosen by the Head of School, and one Rewire representative, and will be based on the assessed merit and importance of the request and the track record of the applicant.

The 2021 Rewire Hines Award Winner: Dr Ella Moeck

The winner of the 2021 ‘Rewire Hines Award’ held at The University of Melbourne was Dr Ella Moeck. Ella’s prize money went towards an experience sampling method data analysis course run by leading data analyst Dr. Wolfgang Viechtbauer (Maastrict University)

The course is a 3-day intensive describing how to use mixed effects models to best analyse intensive longitudinal data. Research in the FEEL Lab centres on intensive longitudinal data. Dr Elle Moeck was conducting research using these methods to investigate the complex interactions between cognition and emotion in people’s daily lives. Attending this experience sampling method data analysis course would allow Ella to upskill quickly and in line with best practice and to produce meaningful outcomes in her Research Fellow position.

The remaining funds were used to pay a casual research assistant for 10-hours work. In addition to Ella’s 0.8FTE position at the University of Melbourne, Ella was also employed 0.2FTE at Flinders University. Together, these roles left Ella no time to work on her independent line of research looking at how cognition-emotion interactions maintain clinical disorders. The research assistant cleaned and prepared a large online dataset Ella recently collected, looking at psychopathology that might be associated with showing a memory bias toward disgust. These 10-hours of research assistance became invaluable in helping Ella publish the study and demonstrate that she was capable of independently leading research. Evidence of Ella’s ability to independently lead research was important to her planned future ARC DECRA application at the University of Melbourne. In addition to benefitting Ella, these funds also benefited the junior researcher who fulfilled the research assistant role.

The 2020 Rewire Hines Award Winner: Dr Natalia Egorova

Project: “Experimental Pain at Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences” Journal Club.

The 2020 ‘Rewire Hines Award’ funded the creation of a Journal Club that is now used as a platform for informal brainstorming of collaborative inter-disciplinary student projects. This includes joint grant ideas between the Pain and Cognition Neuroimaging Lab directed by Dr. Natalia Egorova and academics specifically within the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and generally at the University of Melbourne. Each meeting aims at increasing the visibility of the Lab as a research facility featuring valuable experimental pain equipment and creating opportunities for joint research projects.

The series of meetings started in 2020 with the following sessions held:

Session 1: Pain & Sleep. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova and Prof. Amy Jordan. 07/10/2020. We discussed the relationship between acute pain and sleep. We first talked about a paper on the effect of sleep fragmentation on pain sensitivity, followed by a discussion of possible novel interdisciplinary projects we can undertake at MSPS.

Session 2: Pain & Music. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova, Dr. Jeanette Tamplin, Prof. Kat McFerran. 04/11/2020. We discussed the relationship between pain and music. We first presented a review paper on how music relieves pain, and then had a general discussion of music effects on experimental, acute, and chronic pain, including efficacy of music therapy.

Session 3: Pain & Reward. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova, A/Prof Stefan Bode. 09/12/2020. We discussed the relationship between pain and reward. We first presented a paper on how humans integrate the prospects of pain and reward during choice, and then had a general discussion of the effects of pain on reward and information seeking.

The pdf of all discussed papers can be found: https://cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au/plus/s/VlIv9yFLK9I39m3

This series of Journal Club meetings have continued in 2021, as it has shown to achieve its aims. The first 3 meetings have been very productive. Following the ‘Pain & Sleep’ session, the project now has a student working on a study investigating pain sensitivity in participants with a sleeping disorder; another PhD student has been offered a place to pursue a pain and sleep project. Resulting from the ‘Pain and Reward’ session, a Master’s student is working on an experiment to test the effect of pain on information seeking. Following the ‘Pain & Music’ session, we have planned an experiment to understand the mutual effects of pain and music on one another ( music-induced analgesia and the effect of pain on music enjoyment) and will plan to conduct it in mid 2021. Session hosts have also discussed collaborative opportunities on other projects.