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.