Key areas of professional expertise

  • Broad expertise in qualitative and mixed methods research collaboration and supervision for Honours, Masters and PhD students.
  • Extensive experience in conducting research
  • High level skills in research in practice in community palliative care and MND
  • Extensive experience in teaching, research and practice in ethics, professionalism, health professional education and global health
  • Managerial expertise in course administration

 Research focus

My research is focused on achieving positive outcomes for patients and their families in regional and rural Australia with a two-fold focus living with life-limiting illness and workforce recruitment and retention.

I provide research mentorship and advice for busy clinicians engaging in practice based research across a number of disciplines.  My aim is to build capacity for evidence-based practice providing research methods education, assistance with research design and minor projects, as well as opportunities for co-supervision of higher degree candidates.

Currently supported clinician research spans neonatology, pain management, end of life decision making including advance care plans, and provision of care in community contexts.

 Living with life-limiting illness

I use qualitative methods to explore the experiences of patients and family caregivers living with progressive neurological disease, most commonly motor neurone disease (MND).

My application of ecomapping as a data gathering tool captured the dynamic changes in support networks available to caregivers, challenging the government’s notion that support is readily available given the healthy nature of social capital in Australia. My work with caregivers of individuals living with MND has redefined emotional labour as it pertains to caregivers and developed the concept of socio-connective trust to describe the reflexive, shifting relationships between caregivers and the individual being cared for, caregivers and expert systems, and caregivers and social networks.

 I have also worked in collaboration with palliative care consultants to assess the need for ongoing education across regional health services and develop and evaluate regular videoconferencing education sessions.  

 Workforce recruitment and retention

In collaboration with others, I have conducted longitudinal mixed methods and qualitative studies with medical students and junior doctors concerning factors that support and enhance rural medical practice. Beginning students from rural and remote backgrounds have a broader understanding of rural practice that is embedded in community relationships, whereas urban origin students tend to be more individually orientated in their approach to rural practice. Identified barriers to rural practice fluctuate across years of medical training and can be mitigated in part, through improved supervision and engagement with effective role models in the teaching and clinical areas.  

  • Overseas aid and development
  • Qualitative and mixed methods studies
  • Patients and families living with life limiting diseases: Progressive neurological disease Advance care planning and end of life care
  • Person centred health care
  • Qualitative and mixed methods for research
  • 2020 to present - Assoc Professor, James Cook University
  • 2016 to 2020 - Associate Dean, Research Education, College Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University
  • 2009 to 2020 - Senior Lecturer, College Medicine and Dentistry James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2009 to 2010 - Research Fellow, La Trobe University
  • 2007 to 2009 - Lecturer, James Cook University School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition
  • 2007 to 2009 - Research Administration, Research Services, James Cook University
  • 2000 to 2007 - Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University
  • 2000 - Clinical Educator, La Trobe University
  • 1992 to 2000 - Lecturer, Central Queensland University (Australia)
  • 2008 - Outstanding Thesis Merit Award (Doctorate)
  • 2005 - Nina Buscombe Award - Motor Neurone Disease Research
  • 2001 to 2007 - Doctor of Philosophy Thesis title: Socio-connective trust, the essence of social support for informal caregivers of individuals living with motor neurone disease
  • 1996 to 1998 - Master of Health Science (research) Thesis title: The patterns and individual contexts of heart health behavioural change
  • 1993 to 1995 - Bachelor of Education (with distinction)
  • 1977 to 1978 - Midwifery Nursing Certificate
  • 1974 to 1977 - General Nursing Certificate

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 79+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Robin Ray from 2000 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Australian Pharmacists perspectives on the supply of emergency contraception and evaluation of guidelines (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Optimisation of neurorehabilitation through administration of fluoxetine to stroke survivors using SMART Arm therapy to improve deficits in their upper limb function (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Factors That Influence Papua New Guinean Young People?s Sexual and Reproductive Health, Which May Affect Their Completion of Tertiary Programs: A Mixed Methods Study (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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