There’s a growing expectation that universities will create and share new and useful knowledge in return for public money invested in education and research. And it’s not just governments looking for evidence of research impacts – so are other potential funding partners.
Dr Michael Callaghan of Deakin Business School suggests somebody in the research team should be thinking: What things are we doing here that are going to have practical implications and actually are going to be interesting enough to be reported in the media down the track?
Professor Mark Reed offers further advice from The Research Impact Handbook, paraphrased below:
- Design the impacts you want into research from the outset.
- Represent systematically the needs and priorities of those who might be interested in or use your research.
- Engage with empathy to build long-term, two-way, and trusting relationships so you can ideally co-generate new knowledge.
- Show early impact. Many people researchers work with expect impacts in weeks and months. Partly this is about managing expectations, but it is also about trying your best to deliver tangible results as soon as possible, which can help keep people engaged with your work.
- Reflect and sustain. Keep track of what works, so you can improve your knowledge exchange, continue nurturing relationships and generate impacts. Avoid repeating the mistakes of others when you share what works – as well as your failures – with colleagues.
- Keep asking who benefits and how.