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Chair of Cancer Health Services Research Appointed

Chair of Cancer Health Services Research Appointed

Professor Maarten J. IJzerman to lead research into Victoria’s cancer healthcare system


Professor Maarten J. IJzerman

Following an extensive international search, health services and technology expert, Professor Maarten J. IJzerman (pictured) has been appointed Chair of Cancer Health Services Research. This prestigious position has been established by the University of Melbourne and Western Health, as part of their contribution to the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Leaders in Cancer Strategy.

Existing health data provides a rich source of information to develop integration for Victoria’s health and medical research. Professor IJzerman will drive a cutting-edge program that will build analytical capability for data-driven research, facilitating data sharing; bringing together data sciences and clinical expertise.  

Critical to generating new knowledge through research

Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) said that complex health problems need insights from a number of perspectives.

“We believe this is an outstanding appointment for a role that will be critical to generating new knowledge through research, leading to meaningful impact on clinical practice.

The new Chair will also be based in the Centre for Health Policy in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Services (MDHS).

Professor Terry Nolan AO, Director of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne believes Professor IJzerman has the right skill set to evaluate new diagnostic and treatment discoveries and to bring them into clinical practice.

“While we live in a world of convergent technologies, specialists like Professor IJzerman are needed to make sense of the data and apply it to practice. His appointment reflects the engaged and committed partnership of the University and the VCCC.”

Integrating multidisciplinary research findings and evidence-based interventions

Professor IJzerman is to commence in May and will lead health services research to produce new knowledge on existing healthcare systems to develop improvements in access to value-based cancer health services. His research program will focus on health outcomes for cancer patients by integrating multidisciplinary research findings and evidence-based interventions into healthcare policy and practice. Professor IJzerman will also continue his collaborations with European research institutions.

Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre said Professor IJzerman’s appointment increases Victoria’s capacity to apply scientific research direct to the delivery of healthcare.

“Professor IJzerman’s understanding of molecular diagnostics and health economic modelling is strategically important to delivering innovative systems and new technologies to cancer care for the VCCC alliance and beyond.”

Impacting the dynamics and constraints of the healthcare delivery system

Professor IJzerman is currently professor (since 2007) and chair in the department Health Technology and Services Research at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. He is also visiting professor at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam), at the Medical Imaging department in the University Medical Centre (Groningen) and the Luxembourg Institute of Health. At Twente, he has led a research group working on the value of molecular diagnostics for personalised medicine, mainly in oncology. His expertise is in health economic modelling, clinical decision support and more broadly in the impact of the dynamics and constraints of the healthcare delivery system.

Dr Dishan Herath, Director of Cancer Services at Western Health, said The Chair of Health Services Research is particularly significant for Western Health.

“As the fastest growing metropolitan region of Melbourne, with a high-level of cultural and linguistic diversity, our clinical and research collaborations will benefit greatly from the programs that Professor IJzerman will lead.”


About Professor Maarten J. IJzerman

Professor IJzerman graduated with a BSc in physiotherapy (1990) in Enschede, and then a Master of Biomedical Science (1993) from Radboud University Nijmegen, specialising in health services research and health economics. From the University of Twente, he received a PhD in 1997 in the field of rehabilitation medicine, working on implantable neuroprosthetic devices and research on patient preferences for rehabilitation technology. In 2000, he was appointed CEO of the Roessingh Rehabilitation Research Institute, and spent time in Metrohealth Medical Centre and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, USA. Since 2007 he has been at the University of Twente, where he directed the Health Sciences program, served as the acting director of the MIRA institute for Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine, and was Dean for Health and Biomedical Technology in the School of Science and Technology (2015-2017). Professor IJzerman is a member of the Board of Directors of a large teaching hospital (Maximá Medisch Centrum) and an institute for radiation oncology (Radiotherapiegroep).

He is Principal Investigator (PI) on several EU and Netherlands grants investigating the use of whole-genome sequencing and liquid biopsies (NWO, H2020, IMI), and as a member of the Canadian-Dutch UCAN-CANDU consortium working on personalised medicine in juvenile arthritis. He is a member of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), where he was a member of the Board of Directors between 2013-2015, and program chair for the 20th European meeting (2017) in Glasgow, UK. He was one of the initiators of the collaboration between the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) and ISPOR on value-based cancer care. In 2016, he also joined the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Cancer Medicines working group dealing with the disparities in access to expensive cancer drugs.



Lee Byrne, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre


Annie Rahilly, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Services, University of Melbourne


Evonne Madden, Western Health