The session was wonderful, I’ve already updated my impact statements and had some glowing reviews about the new version. Thank you for being supportive and encouraging, as well!
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I am excited and relieved to be successful for an NHMRC investigator award. Your session on preparing for this grant enabled me to get my head around what might be required in terms of research impact, and helped me articulate my research impact for the application. Thanks to your workshop, I learnt this important skill.
Thanks for an instructive and engaging workshop. It was really timely. I went straight to a research project planning meeting and could make suggestions to our design so we could capture metrics around impact which was great.
Really enjoyed the workshop, unfortunately I was only able to attend after morning tea, i found it was really helpful and helped me make plans to plan research with impact
I would recommend RI Academy to any researcher wanting to ensure real impact clinically or otherwise. Engage them early in your planning
3 Must-do’s for your next grant application
All too often the grant application deadline creeps up. We get so busy trying to finish off previous grants, manage our teams and publish our research in order to attain funding. With all this going on it’s not surprising that the process of developing strategic collaborations and valuable non-academic partnerships can fall by the wayside, or become an activity left to the dying hours prior to submitting the grant.
Collaborations and networks take time to build, particularly the more valuable ones. It is important determine what it is you need and are looking for with regard to who gets involved on your next grant. This process should not be taken lightly, with limited funds to go around, limited time to get work done, and increasing pressure to create impact we need to consider these relationships very carefully.
There are many things that you need to do to achieve high quality collaborations for your next grant, but here are the three you can start to do right now and that will help you determine your next steps.
Assess the project needs – Plan your research strategy.
- What is the long term goal/vision of your research?
Often research is being undertaken for a great reason but without any bigger picture thinking. This is an unfortunate side effect of time restrictions in doing the research, but also time to plan future research. This has also been highlighted as an increasingly limiting factor in why philanthropic funders do not want to put money into research.
Try to develop a goal other than publishing a paper or “determining the effect of A on B”.
What staff and equipment will you need to achieve your research goal?
Considering this will help you to assess the external collaborations and partnerships that may be of value. Consider multidisciplinary partnerships and non-academic involvement.
Determine the value of the collaborators.
- What is the value that each collaborator and co-investigator brings to the grant?
Often collaborators remain the same and the relationships and vision can become stale. Take the opportunity to map out the skills and expertise that the collaborators have for the new project.
Outline the expectations.
Too often this is a step that can be overlooked in the rush to submit. Good planning and some specific guidelines as to the expectations of each collaborator are vital in ensuring smooth sailing through the process.
Carefully consider how the money gets used or divided up, who will provide overall management of the collaboration, what are the responsibilities of each collaborator on the grant, and simple tasks like meetings and stakeholder engagement responsibilities throughout the project.
Find alternative collaborations
Make new friends
You may well find that once you have determined your goals and the expertise needed to achieve them that you are missing some valuable collaborators. This is usually the non-academic links but can also be other multidisciplinary collaborations.
Think outside the box
If your goal is to change a way something is delivered in practice then submitting a report is not likely to achieve that, perhaps working with people in computer science to develop new programs or an app would be better, or working with someone in education to deliver an outcome to practice, or working with the arts to develop a more innovative solution to the delivery of practice change.
Consider what you need and what will provide the best opportunities to achieve your “big picture” goal. Doing this before you get the funding will help in setting the vision.
So you’ve decided you need some fresh eyes and new collaborators, now what, how should you go about finding them? Stay tuned, next week I will provide some insights into developing new networks and collaborators, but be warned it takes time!
Collaboration tools for researchers
The world is getting smaller, or so it seems. Research teams are no longer limited to the same institution, the same jurisdiction, or even the same country. Collaborative research teams are very powerful and have the ability to achieve more than one entity can on its own, but how can we manage teams and work collaboratively when there is distance and time zone changes to consider?
There are many online tools and platforms, along with bespoke options for sharing information and working together. What works and does not work will depend entirely on the team using it, the requirements of the project, and of course the skills and knowledge of the collaborators themselves.
My goal here is not to advertise or recommend specific platforms, there are too many and each situation is different. It seems that the social media and online platform developers have realised the potential market of the academic world and we see many academic specific platforms appearing.
I present here a few that may be of interest for different types of collaboration, particularly for researchers.
- Networks and interest groups
Non academic platforms that can be useful for creating networks and interest groups include LinkedIn, and Google+ communities. An academic platform for this is ResearchGate.
- Shared document creation
Google documents, etherpad, mediawiki, fiduswriter, zoho are some of the popular resources being used to do this. Researchers can also choose to use Figshare to exchange ideas and share document with colleagues.
- Collaborative information creation and sharing
If you require a more collaborative space for information sharing and upload then perhaps a Wiki would be a good option, or again Figshare.
Google hangouts and skype still seem to be a popular choice amongst the general public, however within the business world gotomeeting is now being used quite widely.
The problem with choosing and using many of the platforms is that there will need to be some time investment for all users to learn how to use the platform and in some cases the platform may need to be managed by a single individual with input from many members.
Are you using any of these platforms or have you had success with any others that you can share? I would love to hear what people are using and how they are working in different situations. Please share your experiences in the comments.
Three cool tools for researchers
With so many online programs, apps and other tools available, and new ones being created everyday, it can be impossible to choose what to use or even to know what’s available. I thought it would be a good opportunity to walk you through three online tools that I am using frequently. There are many that I use, but these three I will show you are the most popular and are relevant to knowledge translation and researchers.
This is an easy to use form and survey builder. The forms look great and are appealing to use which means people are more likely to fill in your survey. You have most likely used survey monkey for your survey needs to date, but I highly recommend you give Typeform a go. It has advantages over survey monkey in that it is supported on Linux platforms and they have a mobile web app.
A big advantage of Typeform is the ability to use visual elements in the survey making the forms easier to digest than paragraphs of text. As the name suggests Typeforms are forms done awesomely!
Check out the video here http://www.typeform.com/tour/
Amazingly simple design software. This online graphic design platform has six million users in 179 countries. Canva, founded by a young Australian female entrepreneur, is considered a graphic design disrupter. Canva allows you to create graphic designs from scratch or using any of the hundreds of templates available. It provides both free and paid templates, but there are so many free options you won’t need to worry. If you do need to purchase an image from them it will cost only $1 per image. You can download your creations as jpg’s in different qualities or as a PDF ready for print. The options on Canva are seemingly endless. It is particularly useful for creating posters, social media images, and well really just about anything you need (even the picture for this post!). Check it out today!
Here is a quick video tour of Canva
The workspace for your life’s work! This is a great application that you can add to your internet browser on a desktop computer, and also to your phone as an app to capture things on the go. Evernote is like a digital filing cabinet to store websites or pages, PDF’s, images, or to clip things on your screen to save. The options of how to save and what to save are endless. You can save your files in different workbooks (folders), add tags to find things later and group relevant articles, and share with your colleagues. You can even use it to capture your own notes on the go. With the phone application, you have the ability to take photos and capture voice recordings straight into Evernote. It even has a business card capture capability to help manage your new connections.
There you have it, three great tools that you may find useful in your day to day activities. The best thing about all of these is that there is an option to use them for free without limited functionality. If you have other tools you find useful I would love to hear about them.
If you liked this post and want to learn about more great tools and get instructions on how to use them, join us as member. Or to stay up to date with our blogs and get great information every fortnight, join the mailing list.
Lost and confused in translation
With over 90 terms used to describe knowledge translation, 52 of these specifically for the medical discipline, its no wonder there is so much confusion about translation. This can be a contentious topic since translation, or whatever you choose to call it, can mean different things to different people.
My goal here is to outline a few of the terms used in the knowledge translation field and hopefully help others understand translation a little more.
Knowledge transfer – This term has been used within the literature since the 1950”s and usually refers to a one-way transfer of knowledge from researcher to user. The action of pushing information out has resulted in limited knowledge uptake, proving that simply receiving knowledge does not necessarily lead to using it.
Knowledge translation – emerged in the late 1990’s and describes a wider approach to creating and applying knowledge. It is a system of activities that includes two-way communication and knowledge exchange between academic and non-academic stakeholders beginning at project inception. The term is widely used in health and medical research in Canada. Other terms synonymous with this are knowledge mobilization, the term used within the social sciences in Canada.
Knowledge Exchange – has been defined as collaborative problem-solving between researchers and decision makers. Knowledge exchange emphasizes mutual learning, interactions and exchange between relevant parties to assist in new research and decision making.
Implementation – refers to the uptake or adoption of research in practice. Implementation research, or implementation science, is the field of study that examines methods of implementing knowledge into practice. Implementation is an element or sub-science within the overarching knowledge translation system.
Dissemination – refers to the spreading of knowledge from research. Scientific journal publications are an example of this.
Translational research – This is the terminology used to describe the transfer of basic science discoveries into clinical applications. Translational research does not encompass widespread adoption of knowledge and is used only in clinical sciences.
As you can see from these six terms there can be a lot of confusion, particularly when the terms are used interchangeably. The most important thing to consider with translation of research knowledge into practice is to take a wide approach to methods used and choose the relevant process based on your research area.
Our courses help researchers to understand the system of translation and provide you with the tools and frameworks to make it happen. Register now for the upcoming workshop in Perth on 30th March, or register your interest for the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane workshops here.
Building your KT plan
When faced with the question of research impact many people conjure up thoughts of the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF) and endless reams of case study paperwork. But perhaps more important than merely measuring and reporting our impact, is the development of the pathway to get to impact and embedding strategies to measure our impacts.
When I talk to researchers and heads of universities they sometimes say, we are not interested in translation training, but we need to learn more about research impact. This suggests there can sometimes be a misunderstanding of what knowledge translation (KT) is and the activities it encompasses. To clarify, KT is the pathway to impact. KT is the system of processes that guide us through the creation of relevant questions, develops partnerships with a variety of multidisciplinary and non-academic partners, innovative dissemination methods, contextual relevance of knowledge, and sustainable implementation, all of which are required if we are to create and measure our impact.
Importantly, we must consider the impacts related to both finding what we hope to find, but also related to what it means if we don’t find what we are looking for. Much like the research project itself, we must plan the process and strategies to create the opportunities for impact. The solution is to add KT planning into the research planning process so that we can see our pathway to research impact. By planning in this way, we set up and create our opportunities for success. The right partnerships will not only facilitate relevant research questions and solutions but will provide end user buy-in increasing the likelihood of uptake to practice. And of course, impact is measured at the level of the user!
How then do we plan for impact? What do you hope to find and what does that mean to the end use of the research?
What do you hope to find and what does that mean to the end use of the research?
How will the new evidence be implemented into the end users processes or organisation?
What capacities are required to ensure this happens?
What are the possible barriers and facilitators to this process?
Help, I don’t know how to plan my pathway to impact! I feel your pain; we have all been here, some of us have probably even gone so far as to mention a policy brief or a report without knowing what we would do with it! Unfortunately, the evidence shows that the implementation and uptake of guidelines and reports is approximately 8%, this just doesn’t work. How will you deliver something that matters and what might that look like?
Avoid only using academic impacts, it’s almost a given that you will publish papers and present at academic conferences because if you don’t you will not get funding again. Consider the other things that you will have from your research. Break it down into outputs and outcomes.
What are the outputs from your research? What new knowledge will you create, how will this impact on future research, industry, government and other service delivery or policy?
Too many questions?
We have an answer. Knowledge Translation Australia has partnered with one of the world’s leading organisations, SickKids Hospital, to bring you their renown Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT) two-day workshop. The excellent news is that we have announced the first of these workshops and the dates are set for Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. For more information and to register your interest follow this link.