Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza

Research Fellow

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

place Sturt North (N218-4)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza is a scientist committed to facilitating healthy living and better public health services through knowledge translation and health research. She is a Research Fellow at Flinders University and the National Health and Medical Research Council, Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing. Her studies focus on designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions regarding behaviour change, high-tech solutions, and partnering with end-users to ensure better access, care, equity, safety, and quality services to improve health outcomes and well-being.

In 2020-22, Dr Pinero de Plaza investigations were accepted/published in these Q1 journals:

  • Health Promotion International
  • Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
  • The International Journal of Qualitative Methods
  • The Journal of Clinical Nursing
  • BMJ Open

Dr Pinero de Plaza won the Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards 2021, "for the FEARLESS embodiment of the University values in Research", and the 2021 Consumer Health Forum video competition: 'Big Ideas' to improve the Australian health care system. She has secured prestigious awards, attracting more than $AUD1,495,221 worth of grant funding as Associate Investigator (AI) and Chief Investigator (CI):

  • NHMRC Partnership Grant (AI),
  • Caring Futures Institute COVID-19 grant (CI),
  • Caring Futures Institute, Two Accelerator Schemes (CI and AI),
  • The Hospital Research Foundation (AI),
  • Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant (CI)

Dr Pinero de Plaza brings a multidisciplinary background in health promotion, behaviour, and health. Her PhD investigated ways of mapping out healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns for global but targeted health interventions. She has also studied computerised methods of evaluating consumer behaviours and memory accuracy concerning brand recognition and product design in marketing science.


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Adelaide/ Flinders University (2019-2021); NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence.

Doctor of Philosophy, Field of Research 111712 –Health Promotion; SEO: 920401- Behaviour and Health. Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award. Deakin University (2013-2017).

Master of Marketing Science, upgraded to PhD, Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award. University of South Australia (2010-2013).

Postgraduate training: Social Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Religion and Ecology. Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC). Advanced Studies Centre (2004-2006).

BD/ Master/ Licentiate in Mass Communication (Social Communication, Journalism, Public Relations & Advertising) Andrés Bello Catholic University (1993-1998).

Honours, awards and grants
    • Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards 2021, "For the FEARLESS embodiment of Flinders University values in Research"
    • A winner of the Big Ideas video competition to improve the Australian health system. Consumer Health Forum of Australia, 2021.
    • NHMRC Partnership Grant, AU.2020
    • Caring Futures Institute’s Collaborative Grant Scheme(COVID-19), Flinders University, AU. 2020
    • 2 Caring Futures Institute’s Accelerator Grant Scheme, Flinders University, AU. 2019
    • International & local government/tourism research conference bids / ISPCAN; AU 2018-2020
    • Australian Postgraduate Award, Deakin University, AU. 2013-2014
    • HDR Conference Grant, Deakin University, AU. 2013
    • HDR Support Grant, Deakin University, AU. 2013
    • MARS research top-up scholarship, University of South Australia. 2010-2012
    • HDR Conference Grant, UniSA, AU. 2010
    • Australian Postgraduate Award, University of South AU. 2010-2012
    • Medal of Honour - Scientific Journalism / IVIC. Vzla. 2006
    • Excellence Communications Award: Dr Humberto Fernandez Moran. Vzla. 2006
    • Scientific popularization recognition at a national level. QUIMBIOTEC, Vzla. 2005
    • Scientific Journalism Award: ‘Aristides Bastidas’; IVIC, Vzla.2004
    • Friskies advertising billboard campaign, McCann Erickson, Vzla. 2001
Key responsibilities

Dr Pinero has been impacting the consumer engagement processes with health research. She:

  • Was a co-creator of the Consumer Engagement Framework and Consumer Register of SAHMRI.
  • Is part of the Expert Reference Group of the NHMRC CRE APPRISE, advising their engagement with the community.
  • Is listed as a Community & Consumer Engagement Advisor for the Adelaide BioMed City Partners.
  • Works closely with Health Translation South Australia (HTSA).
  • Is a foundational member of the Health Consumer Advisory Network of South Australia:

The Health Consumer Advisory/Advocacy Network of South Australia (Health CAN SA - the Network) is a group of health consumers who believe the people, who pay for, fund and use health services in South Australia should be able to inform and influence how those services are designed and delivered. The Network recognises and promotes the strong body of evidence that partnering with health consumers ensures greater access and equity, and safety and quality health care, and improves health outcomes.

  • Is the Knowledge Translation and research advisor to the board of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Group Australia Ltd.
  • Is designing a PAR evaluation tool with our KT team, testing it with RAPIDx AI and Health2GO.
  • Is taking part in the Patient-Reported Measures (PRMs) Research Collaborative activities activated by the Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health.