Introducing Kirsten Jackson, SEI’s new program manager

4 July 2022
We sit down with our new Program Manager, Kirsten Jackson, to learn more about her background and interests.

SEI: Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

Kirsten Jackson: I started out in public health, and had roles on cancer prevention programs, health research projects and business transformation projects. This accidentally introduced me to e-health and digital health, which is such an exciting blend of health, technology and people. 

I’ve worked at the University of Sydney as a researcher running digital health projects, and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre as a Program Manager where I got to support research and industry partners from project conception through to translation and commercialisation stages of research and development work. Both of these roles gave me a great appreciation for the need to have collaborative and multidisciplinary research. My previous role was Senior Program Development Manager at the Sax Institute, where I developed some innovative programs of work including around the ethical use of AI in research, synthetic data creation and applications in health, and an internship program in partnership with La Trobe University.

Why did you want to work for the Sydney Environment Institute and what excites you most about your role as Program Manager?

I am incredibly excited to be joining the Sydney Environment Institute and am amazed by the scope of research we are doing here, and the number of passionate members, staff and students! The Institute’s objectives resonated with me too, speaking to values I think are essential in any field of research, and have guided my own professional journey – creative thinking for problem solving, using multidisciplinary teams and approaches in research, and ensuring research has real-world, positive impacts for the community.

So far I’ve really enjoyed how surprising some of the collaborations and projects at SEI are to me. The breadth of disciplines and partners SEI engages with demonstrates that environmental issues affect every part of life, and that there are passionate people everywhere wanting to make a difference. There is no possible way to side-step the issues around environment and climate we’re facing at the moment (what a scary few years we’re had with fires, floods, hail and storms), so I am hoping to use my skills and knowledge to support and extend the great work already being done by the Institute.

What are some of your personal passions and interests? 

One area of interest that has always influenced my personal life and work is equity. There are a lot of known issues around this in health, and I’ve been lucky to be involved in some of the work being done to ensure all Australians have fair and equal access to health services and treatments. 

I think the need for equity has become increasingly important in all facets of life. The pandemic, ongoing natural disasters and social unrest seen globally in recent years seem to be exacerbating inequity. I want everyone in Australia and the world to have fair and easy access to vaccines and health information. I want women, Indigenous Australians, and our culturally and linguistically diverse communities to have equal opportunities, and be appreciated in ways that are permitted, respectful, genuine and meaningful. And I want to make sure that there is a beautiful and healthy world for generations to come, something I am very excited about contributing to through my role at the Sydney Environment Institute! 

Like a lot of people, I’ve also bought far too many indoor plants during the last couple of years, so that’s definitely become a passion project for me at home. 

Kirsten Jackson is the Program Manager at the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI), a Digital Health Consultant at Curtin University, and sits on La Trobe University’s Digital Health Course Advisory Committee. Her background is in digital health and collaborative research having had roles as a Researcher in the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, and Program Manager at the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre. Previous to joining SEI, she was the Senior Program Development Manager at the Sax Institute, an organisation dedicated to translating research and evidence into policy and practice.

Kirsten is an experienced Program Manager, with expertise in managing complex programs of work that bring together research, innovation, education, and knowledge translation streams for real world benefits. She has expertise in health and medical research, industry and community engagement, and project management. Kirsten is focused on supporting the development of new research projects and genuine collaborations between researchers and the community to ensure innovation, creativity and impact. 

Header image: red blossoms of the Australian native flowering gum tree Corymbia ficifolia Wildfire variety, Family Myrtaceae, endemic to Western Australia via Shutterstock, ID: 1910840086.