Emerging Health Researcher Award proves life changing for Australian academic

17 November 2020 . Australia

Bupa Australia’s Emergency Health Researcher Award, given by the Bupa Foundation, recognises the dedication of early career researchers and their valuable contribution to improving health outcomes for all Australians.

ANZ Research Awards

Here, we speak to Dr. Myles Young, who won the award in 2019, about what winning meant to him and the importance of the work he does.

Meet the last recipient

Last August, Dr Myles Young’s life changed when he was named the Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher of the Year for his work improving the physical and mental health of men.

Dr Young, who has developed a range of innovative online behavioural weight loss programs for men, said winning the award has opened up many doors for him over the past year.

Within a few months of winning the Award, Dr Young secured a permanent academic position at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia, which meant he could settle in his hometown with his family and continue to work in the field that he loves whilst making a difference to men’s health.

How have things changed for you since winning the award?

It was an absolute life changer and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The Fellowship that funded my work was coming towards the end and I was looking for a pathway into academia – which is not always an easy thing. Having the recognition of the Emerging Health Researcher Award not only gave me exposure in the sector, but also gave me the confidence to progress in my career.

I was nominated by my colleague, Professor Morgan, who could see how well my work aligned to the Award which recognises contributions of health researchers to improving the health and wellbeing of the community and I’m so glad he convinced me to accept the nomination.

What motivated you to choose this career path?

What I love about working in this field is that we’re really making a difference. This year, people have been stuck at home and we’ve found many aren’t doing as much physical exercise and aren’t eating as well as they usually would. The physical and mental health aspects are completely intertwined.

I think online programs that are effective and engaging for men are going to be a really important area, not just during the pandemic, but even as we get back to some sense of normality. Our service offers a low intensity option, to give men a foot in the door to start improving their health.

What advice would you give to other young researchers interested in the award?

If you’re considering it, and you think the work you do is valuable for the health of Australians – you have to go for it. Talk to someone who might be interested in nominating you and get started. Don’t be concerned if you’ve missed out on previous grants – this might just be the right fit for you.