Alfred Deakin Fellowship awarded to BCYF Research Manager

BCYF Research Manager Dr Ash Curtis has recently been awarded an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for 2021, and has just finished at BCYF to enable her to start her fellowship.

The Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are internationally competitive and prestigious and are designed to build research and innovation excellence and to create impact, in strategic priority research. The Deakin University Fellowships support and develop early career researchers, aiming to enhance the capacity and capability in key research areas and build the next generation of high achieving and internationally competitive researchers. 

Ash’s research is an ambitious project about Reducing violence and reoffending in persons who use substances: A neurocognitive approach.

Violent offender interventions have consistently yielded poor outcomes, with very small effect sizes. The comorbidity between substance use, violence, and neurocognitive impairment means that there is high level of complexity associated with achieving effective intervention outcomes.

By not identifying or addressing the neurocognitive impairments in persons who are violent and who use substances, interventions are unlikely to be responsive to the needs of the person. This project will comprehensively investigate the impact that neurocognitive impairments might have on a person’s ability to respond to violence rehabilitation interventions. It will identify the neurocognitive functioning in those who use violent behaviour, and who use substances, by utilising extensive neurocognitive testing; and will determine if people who both use substances and who behave violently have a distinct pattern of neurocognitive impairment, beyond that of those who use substances only or who are violent only.

This project will inform better violence intervention allocation through improved risk assessment, improved intervention engagement, and the development of new violence interventions targeted to the presenting neurocognitive needs of the target population.

Ash has made a significant contribution to the development of our research strategy, governance processes and capability during her time at BCYF. Ash is a very deserving recipient and BCYF is confident that although it means an early departure from her current role at BCYF, we will benefit from the outcomes of her research in the future. We look forward to hearing more about Ash’s work as it progresses and wish her all the best.

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