The Melbourne School of Government (MSoG) works closely with policy makers and has a strong interest in leading research translation and engagement.
About the research
MSoG is undertaking a two-year research project to identify the role and potential of research translation through the research lifecycle-from funds-seeking to impact measurement. This research into the values, motivations, management and measurement of research translation at the university will contribute to a growing field of scholarship on knowledge transfer and aims to transform the work of academics within the university, in line with strategic aims.
The project has practical, strategic and scholarly contributions. Effective research translation strategies are significant in the impact agenda. The Australian Government has declared that Universities need to demonstrate their value through innovation and impact beyond the academy. In order to demonstrate our impact as researchers it is vital that we translate that research into action, policy or general knowledge. This research aims to understand how this is done currently and to identify ‘best practise’ and trial an MSoG lab format for trans-disciplinary research. The research contributes to a nascent but growing field of scholarship and will contribute in-depth case studies and theories of research translation.
The Research Translation Blog
The Research Translation program aims to understand the drivers (both structural and personal) of good research translation. There are myriad ways that we can use research to inform practise and policy and many of these are highly context dependent. This blog follows our journey through this process and includes guest posts that illustrate the nature of the challenge ahead of us.
The MSoG Labs are a participatory action research program designed to develop an appropriate form of research translation for transdisciplinary problems. A small group of researchers and policy practitioners form the core of the action research group. All participants are invited to undertake professional development in transdisciplinary collaboration and group model building. They then join transdisciplinary teams working on research synthesis projects within MSoG. Participants are surveyed or interviewed before and after participation to determine the effectiveness of the pilot programs.
The MSoG Labs Pilot Framework
A primary (external) stakeholder and question are identified as the beginning of the process.
Step 1: Identify Stakeholders
Some stakeholders will be known already. Others will be identified through special interest groups, geographic or demographic communities affected by a policy. Researchers whose expertise is relevant will also be identified. Representatives of all stakeholder groups identified will be invited to the MSoG Policy Workshop 1.
Step 2: MSoG Policy Workshop pt 1
This lab will consist of:
- An introduction to group model building using system dynamics notation
- Factor brainstorming
- Causal loop diagramming (CLD) with polarities
- Facilitated discussion of the insights from CLD, knowledge gaps and their significance
- Agree on additional knowledge needs (if none go to Step 4(3))
Step 3: Fill in the knowledge gaps where applicable
This step may consist of multiple stakeholders working together or separately to discover or co-create the knowledge that was identified at Step 2(5) as being both important to a solution and actionable within an appropriate timeframe.
Step 4: MSoG Policy Workshop pt 2
This lab will consist of:
- Review the knowledge discovered or co-created at Step 3
- Ensure that there is stakeholder consensus, or that any disconsensus or outstanding knowledge gaps are noted
- Finalise the documentation in the format required by the primary stakeholder
If you are interested in the MSoG labs either as a research participant or as an external stakeholder with a question that you would like looked at, we would be very happy to be contacted by emailing Kate Neely.
The MSoG research translation program is about actions as well as theory. We have opportunities for researchers to engage across the university and with organisations outside of the university. Whether you want to present your research, to get to understand government through a secondment or to provide input on current policy questions, one of these opportunities is likely to suit you.
We all want to see our research being used to create a better world. The K* Network is an informal network of staff from across the University who are interested in sharing information on theory and practise in translating research throughout the whole of the research cycle. Sign up here to receive occasional newsletters and notifications of relevant events and workshops.
Wondering why it's called K*? The terminology that is used interchangeably for research translation includes knowledge exchange, knowledge mobilisation, knowledge translation etc… K* is a shorthand for all these terms.
The MindHive platform facilitates the crowdsourcing of ideas for use in policy and strategy solutions. It is a network of expert contributors from universities, industry, NGOs and government.
Use your expertise and experience to engage with the broader community of experts on important issues in policy and strategy development, and make a difference to the way organisations solve these challenges. You’ll also get feedback on your contributions, and on the progress of the policy/strategy. Contributing your expertise will grow the influence and impact of your ideas.
You can setup a MindHive logon anytime you like. Please visit the MindHive website.
We connect with other programs that include government secondments and research fellowships, as well as opportunities to present your research outcomes to interested organisations or the public.
If you are a University of Melbourne Researcher or HDR Student, and you would like to participate in any of these programs please send us an email to Kate Neely with a 1-2 paragraph outline of your research, what stage you are at and what you would like to do. We will let you know what opportunities we have that might suit you.