Support mechanisms for knowledge transfer
In their approach to impact studies many universities described the support they provided for knowledge transfer activities, particularly for activities in which knowledge was transferred both ways, between researchers and external partners. This included specific training and mentoring for students and early career researchers focused on strengthening the skills and experience of research teams in research translation activities. Universities also described their support for the dissemination of research and networking activities, particularly through the use of social media.
Training and mentorship with industry and other external partners
Training and mentorship of students and staff, particularly for early career researchers, was important for strengthening research teams to achieve high impact over the long term. Key activities supported by universities included:
- Training programs developed in collaboration with industry and other external partners which included skills development and network-building as well as knowledge exchange.
- Training programs provided by universities for industry staff or staff and members of other external partner organisations, which supported skills development, network-building and knowledge exchange.
- Mentorship provided by industry and other external partners, described by many universities and research groups as crucial in assisting early career researchers to develop skills, networks and to exchange knowledge, and which, in many cases, facilitated the development of long-term relationships and ongoing collaborative projects.
Universities also provided support for the use of social media for information sharing and the building of research networks as a mechanism for research translation. Social media platforms were used to distribute research findings, educate the public and facilitate broad or targeted participation in research projects. Key activities supported by universities included:
- A range of social media platforms used to target disparate stakeholder groups, facilitate public participation in research projects, provide forums for the exchange of ideas with communities and informed policy debates, and enable public consultations. Social media platforms provided public access to information about research and research outcomes.
- Social media campaigns used to increase the reach or application of research outcomes. For example, blogs were used to provide advice to individual users of research, such as patients using a particular therapy, while other formats were used to promote key messages based on research findings more broadly.
- Social media was described as an important mechanism for capturing the attention of broader audiences, often leading to deeper engagement and in some cases the recruitment of participants in the research process.
PhD and other student support
Universities highlighted the provision of opportunities and support for PhD and other postgraduate and undergraduate students as a significant aspect of their support for research translation. Examples of this support included:
- Funding of PhD and other students enabled researchers to place these students on projects involving collaboration with external partners, providing opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration. Alternatively, universities hosted PhD and other students funded by or employed by external partners.
- The funding of a large number PhD and other students allowed for multiple engagements with industry stakeholders, both nationally and internationally.
- Supervision or co-supervision of PhD and other students by external partners facilitated knowledge transfer and the development of ongoing collaborative relationships.
- PhD and other students were also supported to attend conferences, exchange programs and other networking events. The knowledge obtained by students was later transferred upon their return and provided valuable contributions to research projects.