ARA announces Philip Robinson research award

2 minute read

We were driven to seek a fitting tribute to him, and feel confident that Phil would be honoured to be remembered this way, says ARA President Dr Claire Barrett.

As many readers know, Queensland rheumatologist Dr Philip Robinson died suddenly in early 2023.

He was an active contributor to the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) at state and federal level, most recently board director and federal treasurer from 2020-2022.

He was also a dedicated researcher with initial interests in gout and spondyloarthritis, with a prolific output across many clinical areas.

“However,” said ARA president, Dr Claire Barrett, “the collaborative work Phil did to establish and develop the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance may well be his greatest research legacy.

“Phil’s widow, Dr Helen Tanner, generously requested that donations be made to the ARA Research Trust in his honour.

“Cognisant of Phil’s love of research, on the recommendation from the ARA Research Committee and Scientific Advisory Board of the ARA Research Trust, the directors of the ARA, as the trustees of the ARA Research Trust, resolved to fund the Philip Robinson Award from the trust to honour the memory of our dear friend and colleague.”

Middle career researchers who are members of the ARA or NZRA will be able to apply for the biennial award of up to $50,000, which will be administered by Arthritis Australia.

Dr Barrett said that the details are still being finalised, but the ARA board anticipates the award will open for applications in April, in line with Arthritis Australia’s grant application cycle.  

“The decision to create this award was not mine alone but a team decision,” said Dr Barrett.

“Phil was a great team player – beach volleyball, collaborative research and ARA Board work, to name a few. However, my affection, admiration and respect for our Phil, has driven me to seek a fitting tribute to him, hence my personal unreserved support the new research award,” she said. 

“The last message I got from Phil was in December 2022 when we put the Our Corona out to pasture and included an acknowledgment for all his work. He said, ‘I just read the Our Corona now. Thank you for the kind words.’ His humility knew no bounds.

“The ARA Directors, after communications with his family and friends, feel confident that Phil would be honoured to have his legacy remembered via this award.”

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