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"Meaningful Research—Meaningful Lives" William Levack's Inaugural Professorial Lecture

18 Nov 2020 9:19 AM | Cecilia Clavijo (Administrator)

NZRA President William Levack gave an insight into the depth and breadth of his academic career when he presented his Inaugural Professorial Lecture in Wellington recently.


Speaking on the topic of “Meaningful Research—Meaningful Lives” William took the audience on a journey though touchpoints in his career that helped to shape the lens through which he now operates.

William’s research focusses on patient experiences of rehabilitation, goal setting processes, and interventions to increase patient engagement in rehabilitation activities.

Using four stories as anchor points for his presentation, William highlighted distinct areas of his career that, while separate, were connected through the importance of research being meaningful (not just for the sake of it) and how it could positively impact lives. The key areas were rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury, goal setting in rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic lung disease and Cochrane rehabilitation—development of methods for knowledge translation and evidence production.

One thing that stood out during the presentation was how he has consistently asked questions throughout his life, and that leads him to find answers to these questions (and any subsequent questions that arise in the process).

Professor Paul Brunton Pro-vice Chancellor of Health Sciences said, “To become a professor at the Uni of Otago is incredibly difficult. We have very high academic standards.”

A promotion to Professor is “an endorsement of people’s academic activity, both in teaching research but also in academic service, both to the university and the wider community,” said Brunton.

These words, a testament to the high degree of respect that William has within the Academic community.

William began the night with a humorous account of his early interest in research though his study of earthworms and slaters, he credits his mother as the one who introduced him to experimental design, statistical test and the importance of a good control group.

According to his research findings, “slaters like cuddling rather than being by themselves,” shared William. While perhaps an unexpected topic for an Inaugural Professorial Lecture, it highlighted his extended and extensive love of research and his ability to connect with his audience in a personable, down-to-earth, and grounded-in-research fashion.

Congratulations Professor William Levack!

You can check out his full presentation here


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