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Foundation-funded researcher awarded ABC residency

Researcher Dr Alex Russell

Researcher Dr Alex Russell has been awarded one of the ABC's Top Five residencies.

A gambling researcher funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation since 2013 has been awarded one of the ABC’s highly-prized Top Five residencies for 2019.

Working alongside experienced journalists and broadcasters, Dr Alex Russell will attend two weeks of intensive media training at ABC Radio National headquarters in Sydney to further boost his skills as a science communicator across radio, television and online.

‘It’s very exciting,’ says Alex, who works within the Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory at Central Queensland University. The lab supports the understanding of games of chance through experiment, simulation and observation.

‘Researchers often talk to each other through papers and conferences rather than to a general audience, but conveying our ideas to the public in plain English is important. I’ve done a fair bit of media with the ABC, but this is formal training that will help me better explain why I do what I do and what the value of it is.’

Alex’s research currently focuses on the role of advertising, social influences, sports betting and how new technologies are changing gambling. It has led to papers including Risk factors for gambling problems specifically associated with sports betting; Who bets on micro events (micro-bets) in sports?; Social influences normalise gambling-related harm amongst higher risk gamblers; and Are direct messages (texts and emails) from wagering operators associated with betting intention and behaviour?

Alex also spoke as a subject matter expert at the March 2019 launch of a parenting pilot project co-designed by the Foundation and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. Keep calm and continue parenting provides parents with practical support to help their kids positively navigate gambling within gaming, in-game bullying and excessive gaming.

The ABC’s stated aim with the Top Five residency is to help the five ‘share their knowledge and expertise with audiences seeking credible material and informed debate’.

‘This is profile building for gambling research,’ continues Alex.

‘The Foundation is the main driver of gambling research in Australia. VRGF funding has led to some really powerful outcomes using innovative techniques at our laboratory and consequently we’re becoming world leaders in gambling research.’

With Alex in the mix at the ABC and backed by the Foundation, the topic of gambling harm will now be given a national platform.

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