Highlights and musings from the NHMRC Research Translation Symposium

I attended the NHMRC Research Translation symposium on the 27th and 28th October. The symposium was very interesting and provided some very valuable opportunities to network with like-minded individuals. This blog is about the symposium and some of the key points that were made along with my interpretations of the information provided and what it means to researchers that want to successfully translate their work for greater good.

There were a few quotes during the symposium that really stood out to me, these were in reference to researchers working with policy makers:

“Speak truth to power”

“Translation is a contact sport”

“Understanding each others worlds”

“Research evidence is not the main game in policy making”

The symposium focus tended to be on the researcher policy maker interactions. As such, the point was raised, and it is interesting to remember that policy makers and researchers share a common goal, to make change. However, there are competing interests and it is important to acknowledge and understand the difference timescales, languages, incentives and what counts as evidence  for policy makers, all of which differ for researchers.

Chris ham highlighted that:

  • Policy is a soup made of many ingredients
  • Politicians bring values and ideology to bear
  • Policy making is a process not an event.
  • Evidence has to be available “just in time”
  • Exchange and listen, support, monitoring direction, guide rather than direct change.

For policy makers, changes in direction can happen fast and often, it is an unpredictable and dynamic environment. To understand this as researchers, imaging a situation where you arrive at work only to be told that you are no longer to continue doing your current research project as the directions and priorities of your work environment has now changed and so has your research project! Can you imagine?

One great suggestion was to put in place a conflict resolution policy as part of the partnership between researchers and policy makers. This policy would enable shared value, shared understanding and shared responsibilities of the partnership. Whilst another was the know where you are going, what is the journey and to have an implementation plan. Allow for and plan for the deliberative intersection between researchers and research users.

Below I am sharing my poster from the symposium along with the story of each day of the symposium hashtag and the corresponding tweets from each of the sessions.

As always, happy translating.



Poster – Knowledge Translation for Research Impact

Day 1 of the NHMRC Research Translation Symposium


Day two of the NHMRC Research Translation Symposium