Global, 21st century digital solutions for mental health and wellbeing

What is InnoWell?

InnoWell is a joint venture between the University of Sydney, one of Australia’s leading higher education and research universities, and PwC, the world’s leading professional services firm.

Who are the shareholders of InnoWell? 

The University of Sydney and PwC each have a 45% shareholding in InnoWell. The remaining 10% shareholding is evenly shared between Professor Jane Burns and Professor Ian Hickie.

Why was InnoWell established?

InnoWell was established to take to market the products of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), to administer Project Synergy on behalf of the Australian Government and to explore sustainable business models to support mental health service system reform.

What is the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)?

The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre was funded by the Department of Industry and Innovation that ran between 2011-2016, which focused on young people, technology and wellbeing. During this time, and in partnership with the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, the Synergy Online System was developed and four research trials were conducted. On 30 June 2016, Young and Well CRC novated the Synergy Online System and related intellectual property (IP) to the University of Sydney. The University has since licenced this IP to InnoWell.

What is Project Synergy?

Project Synergy is a series of research and implementation science trials that include the co-creation, co-design and co-development of the Synergy Online System. 

What is the Synergy Online System?

The Synergy Online System is a platform of modular components that bring together resources (such as apps, etools, data sharing, access to online and in-clinic health services) into the one integrated technology platform. The System operates through existing health providers and moves the centre of care from service providers to the person, and family, seeking care.

What is the vision for Project Synergy?

To deliver 21st Century technology-enabled mental health service reform for better outcomes – for people with a lived experience, their families and supportive others, health professionals and service providers. 

What is the governance around Project Synergy?

Robust governance mechanisms are in place for Project Synergy as administered by InnoWell, all of which are overseen by an independent Board of Directors.

The Project Synergy Steering Committee provides strategic advice to support the development and implementation of Project Synergy in accordance with the agreement set out by the Australian Government. The Steering Committee is chaired by Dr Michael Costello. The membership of this Committee includes senior representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Healthdirect, and people with a lived experience and their families. 

Who are the lead researchers involved in Project Synergy?

InnoWell procured the research services of The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre to provide an independent research and development group (R&D Group) to conduct the research trials that will continue the co-design, development, implementation and evaluation of the Synergy Online System within different settings across the lifespan as well as the broader veteran community. This group is led by Professor Ian Hickie – Project Synergy Scientific Advisor; and supported by Tracey Davenport – Director of Research Governance, Design and Analytics; Dr Shane Cross – Director of Clinical and Service Implementation; and, Amelia English – Research Program Manager.

What is the agreement with the Government?

The Australian Government has provided funds to InnoWell to administer a series of research trials over three years, in partnership with service providers, health professionals and people with a lived experience of mental health. The funding for these research trials was issued as part of the current government’s policy to Strengthen Mental Health Care in Australia.

In addition to the research trials, Project Synergy also includes the largest ever national community consultation as well as comprehensive sector engagement.

What does InnoWell do other than Project Synergy?

Currently InnoWell’s focus is on administering Project Synergy. However, in 2018 the focus of the company will be broadened to also include commercial strategy and activity that will ensure InnoWell is financially sustainable. This will involve taking to market the products and services that are supported by the Synergy Online System into organisations such as mental health services, workplaces, insurers, schools and universities.