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The Research Impact Academy works together with associates that are experts in their disciplines. Through our collaborative approach, we bring you more value and opportunities for impact.

Tamika Heiden

Dr Tamika Heiden

Principal and founder

Dr Tamika Heiden founded Knowledge Translation Australia in 2014. It has since transformed to become the Research Impact Academy (2019). Tamika has a background in health research and research coordination where she was focused for more than 15 years. Tamika is passionate about making impact easier for researchers and research organisations.

Tamika’s education in knowledge translation and research imapct, along with her dedication to improving social outcomes from research, led her to develop Knowledge Translation Australia. Tamika’s goal, and purpose as the Principal of the Research Impact Academy, is to ensure that research is relevant and accessible to the people who need it. Tamika has well developed networks, both nationally and internationally, and has trained widely in the field of research impact.

Coming from an applied science background Tamika’s purpose was to do research to make a difference. Tamika was first introduced to the science behind knowledge translation whilst she was working in Aboriginal Health. The idea of research belonging to the community it would serve and of that community being involved with the research from conception through to delivery aligned with her personal philosophy, that knowledge should be shared.

Through her experience in research impact and translation Tamika has won coveted awards in translation from SickKids Hospital and in innovation from the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization forum. Tamika is regularly invited to present on research impact, run workshops for researchers, and assist in strategic planning.

Alex Wade

Dr Alexandra Wade 

Research Impact Officer

Alex has a background in health research and science communication. She has a passion for knowledge translation and making research accessible to create real-world impact.

She has experience in grant writing, stakeholder engagement, co-design, and evaluation.

As a Research Impact Officer with Research Impact Academy, Alex works with researchers, universities, government, and not-for-profit organisations, to plan for, evaluate and communicate their impact.

Our Associates

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Dr Narelle Tunstall


Principal and Founder, Empirical Research Development

With extensive experience in research management, grant writing and researcher development, Dr Narelle Tunstall provides expert support and coaching to help researchers achieve their goals. 

Narelle is passionate about supporting researchers and facilitating research outcomes. Narelle supports researchers to articulate clear and compelling narratives of their research and career impacts for research grants, academic promotions, and award applications. 

To date she has completed hundreds of critical grant reviews, across all major schemes and disciplines, supporting over $55 million in research funding. She also facilitates career and talent development programs with a focus on supporting women in academia.

Narelle’s experience extends across the largest Go8s to the youngest Australian Universities in various researcher development and research management roles. This has included management of an NHMRC Centre for Clinical Research Excellence, a Commonwealth Collaborative Research Network, and two ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres.

Narelle has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a PhD in genetics from Monash University and a Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice.

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Cathie Withyman


Communications and Impact Specialist

Cathie Withyman is a research impact communication specialist. She has worked with leading universities and government departments both domestically and internationally to develop and craft engaging and insightful impact narratives.

Cathie possesses over 15 years experience partnering with researchers, program managers and communication professionals to facilitate training and skills development in the effective communication of research and program impacts. She is a master at drawing out the true nature of impacts and weaving this into a compelling narrative.

A key achievement of Cathie’s to date has been the compilation of a leading Australian University’s submission to the Australian Research Council’s 2018 Impact and Engagement Assessment. Cathie managed the development and authoring of 12 Impact Case Studies and 10 Research Engagement Narratives over an intense six-month period.

She is skilled at coaching and mentoring research academics to plan, record and report on research impact. She has developed training programs and resource materials to support academics in this increasingly important area of their work.






Carolyn Crawford


Director, F2F pl

After a decade in stockbroking, listening to and watching a vast array of effective, and not so effective, communications, from morning meetings through to annual results, Carolyn Crawford became inspired and one-tracked in her desire to support people to be more clear, confident, focused and influential, in all their daily business meetings and conversations.

She’s now been a corporate communications coach for over 23 years, is a global online communication skills trainer and an Amazon best-selling author of the unique graphic guide to business presenting, ‘Presenting To The Max’.

She has worked with almost 11,500 people across the full gamut of industries and at all levels of those businesses, combining elegantly simple toolkits with direct personal coaching to ensure business people are fully equipped for every conversation – whether written or spoken, easy or difficult, internal or external, large-scale or small.

Clients include: adidas, ANZ, First State Super, Freehills, General Mills, Hallmark Cards, IAG, Melbourne Metro, PricewaterhouseCoopers, TAL, Telstra among many, many others.

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Emma Clark


Digital Content Producer at Indigo Content

Emma helps individuals and organisations to educate, promote and advocate by making useful, clear and persuasive content. Specialising in content strategy and production, Emma is passionate about using content for positive change. She draws on over a decade of communications experience, with life-changing organisations spanning research, health, early childhood, education, environment and film. These include The Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne International Film Festival and The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Emma loves teaming up with researchers to find meaningful ways to share their ideas, adventures and discoveries with the world.


Molly Patton


Director, Patton’d Studios

Molly founded Patton’d Studios as means to combine both her passions: science and the creative arts. Covering all media from journal covers and graphics, to web design and animation, Patton’d Studios is a hub for research organisations to go to for STEM-specific design services. Molly has backgrounds in biomaterials engineering and fine art photography; an equilibrium that is now entrenched in the Studio’s design processes. She is now a full time creative director, heading design teams on all kinds of projects to communicate the incredible world of scientific research, and the role it plays in crafting tomorrow’s solutions.