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31 Mar 2016 | Press Release

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New research to study effects of storage on life-saving Epi-Pens

Emergencies Anaphylaxis

Just how effective are Epi-Pens when stored at certain temperatures will form the basis of a vital research project, which is trialling new crowd-funding platform "Researchable".

Epi-Pens are life-saving devices which are often kept in a number of places including bags, cupboards, glove boxes or coats.

Yet, what effect does the storage temperature have on the efficacy of Epi-Pens?

University of Tasmania researchers are hoping to find out, with the help of the crowd-funding platform "Researchable".

Project lead Dr Melanie Blackhall said the team would investigate the effect of storing Epi-Pens outside the recommended range of between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius on the effectiveness of the adrenaline contained in the device.

Across Australia, average temperatures can often fall outside the recommended range, making compliance with recommendations difficult.

"Particularly for people who live off the beaten track and rely on an Epi-Pen in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, they would want to be sure that it was as efficient as possible," Dr Blackhall said.

"Obviously people with anaphylaxis should carry an Epi-Pen with them at all times, but we want to be able to give them the confidence it will work effectively when they need it most."

The University of Tasmania is one of three partner agencies involved in a trial of Researchable, a new online platform for funding research, which will enable people and philanthropic organisations to directly fund and engage with pivotal research from leading institutions around the world.

More commonly associated with start-ups, crowd funding is becoming an increasingly attractive option for institutions such as universities, which can no longer rely on highly-competitive government grants to fund research projects.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said crowd-funding was a credible and viable option for researchers to enable projects that may not fit traditional grant funding criteria.

"The standard grant process is becoming more and more competitive, there's only a fixed pool of money and there are more applicants than ever before, so researchers are seeking innovative ways to diversify their funding stream," Professor Heywood said.

"Crowd-funding is emerging as a platform particularly suited to a wide variety of projects and offers a new way to target funding typically lower than the mainstream grant programs but importantly also helps researchers create stronger connections with the community which can make even the most abstract research digestible.

"The feedback from the campaign gets their research noticed, makes it more tangible, and they can engage with people who get to see the project develop.

"It's quite a rich mechanism for creating a deep engagement with the community, and researchers often find that rewarding."

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