This is a transcript of a blog article written by Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott, The Australian Centre for Behavourial Research in Diabetes.

Research to find a cure for all types of diabetes is ongoing. In the meantime, research is also needed to support the health and wellbeing of people with diabetes. However, in Australia, funding for diabetes research is declining. This means less diabetes research overall, and may mean less progress in areas important to people with diabetes. Researchers and funding bodies typically decide what research topics to investigate and fund. But, it is people with diabetes who have the most to gain. So, it is essential that people with diabetes have input into how limited research funds are spent.

To help shape the future of diabetes research in Australia we conducted the Diabetes Research Matters study. This study was funded by a Diabetes Australia Research Program grant. We aimed to find out what research is most important to Australians with diabetes and their family members. Importantly, this study was conducted in partnership with an advisory group of people with lived experience of diabetes. This study involved three surveys.

The first survey asked: “Whilst researchers are working hard to find a cure, what other research do you think is needed to support people with diabetes to live a better life?”. More than 650 people with type 1, type 2, gestational, less common types of diabetes and family members responded. Participants reported more than 1,500 research topics. We read every response and identified common themes. This led to a long list of 125 questions within 25 themes.

The second survey asked participants to choose which of the 125 questions were most important to them. We then made a list of the most frequently selected questions. Research priorities differed by type of diabetes and for family members. So, we created separate lists for each group.

In survey three, participants viewed a short-list of research questions relevant to them. They then ranked the questions in order of importance.

The final ranked lists are available in full in this journal article as well as in the public report.

People with diabetes and their family members have clear views about the research that matters to them. We hope that the Diabetes Research Matters study will influence future diabetes research in Australia. We encourage researchers, funders, industry, and diabetes organisations to respond to these priorities identified by the community for the community.

The original article can be found here.