Creating Impact through engagement and creative pathways

Anna Kivilehto - Research Advisor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden
Dr Vanessa Crosby - Manager of UNSW Library’s Research Reporting Unit
Dr Paul Wong - Senior Data Management Specialist with the Australian National Data Service
Jaylene Wehipeihana - Business Growth Advisor, University of Auckland
Marita Hoist -

Creating (Societal) Impact through Living Labs

Demonstrating impact is increasingly important for all agencies funding research and innovation. European Commission alike has growing needs to measure impact generated by its financing in order to show results. When impact can be quantified, in euros, patents or advancement on TRL scale, it is simple to measure. However, when impact is seen in societal terms such as better policies or public engagement measuring it becomes much more complex. Enter Living Labs.

The ‘Living Lab’ can generally be understood as a framework for an open innovative process taking place in a real-life environment supporting collaboration, co-creative research and development by involving the user(s). The European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) defines LLs as operating as intermediaries among citizens, academia, private companies and the public sector (quadruple-helix-collaboration) for joint value user engagement, co-creation, rapid prototyping or validation to scale-up innovations and/or businesses.

One way to maximise impact in publicly funded RDI-projects, already at a proposal stage is to align activities with principles of living labs. Thus, our workshop describe and further explore the concept in relation to (social) impact, specifically in terms of project planning and proposal writing, and show where you can access more information.

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Design Thinking for Pathways to Impact


In 2018 the Australia Research Council introduced a national Engagement and Impact assessment. Australian universities now face familiar challenges in supporting researchers to systematically gather and report on engagement and impact activities. These challenges are marked in creative arts, humanities and social sciences disciplines where pathways to impact are complex and iterative, methods of recording activities tend to be ad hoc, and research dissemination falls outside traditional publication norms. To evaluate the potential value of Symplectic Elements’ Impact Module to support these activities, UNSW Library is conducting a pilot project with researchers engaged in potentially impactful research activities that information systems and reporting processes do not currently capture. We will conduct semi-structured interviews to investigate current methods for planning and tracking impact and engagement, develop field-specific user personas based on representative pathways to impact to inform process design, and produce a suite of software support materials tailored to disciplinary needs. Employing an evidence based approach to software implementations, we will argue, is more likely to maximise user engagement, improve data quality and support the culture change necessary not only to accurately report on, but also increase the effectiveness of, activities aimed at translating research into measurable benefits beyond the academy.

Research Data as a Pathway to Research Impact


Can research data contribute to research impact beyond academia?  Most of us would probably answer in the affirmative.  Some may even cite a few exemplars to demonstrate the case.  However, a systematic approach to understand the connection between research data and research impact has not been explored so far.  The U.K. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 is perhaps the first research impact assessment undertaken at a national scale which provides a rich data source for a more systemic exploration of the connection between research data and research impact (beyond academia).

In 2017, the Australian National Data Service undertook a project to text mine the detailed impact section of the U.K. REF Impact Case Studies.  The initial finding suggests that research data played a non-trivial role in supporting the generation of research impact in many of the cases.  In certain “data intensive” cases specifically, counterfactual considerations may warrant direct attribution of impact from research data.  If this is right, then institutional investment into infrastructure and management of research data could be considered as an investment into pathways for generating research impact beyond academia.

How can we help? Engaging with indigenous communities.


The need for academic institutions to have strong research partnerships with indigenous communities is growing. Recognising the contribution that indigenous communities make to research, institutions need to ensure they have in place strategies that enable their university to develop and grow as a trusted institution to engage and partner within the indigenous space. Various countries have identified a need to address inequities within indigenous communities, through Government policies. Academic institutions need to equip its research management professionals with a clear approach for researchers to understand how engagement with indigenous communities relates to them and their research. I have undertaken a study tour of five university’s in New Zealand, Australia and Canada of their research management practices. I will present my learnings from my study tour of five University’s in Australia, Canada and New Zealand of their indigenous research management practices, and how they have developed and implemented strategies for engaging with indigenous people and communities within a research context. Each university has a different approach to research management support in the context of indigenous people and their communities.

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Room Tinto
Time 14:15 - 15:30
Date Thursday 7th June, 2018
Theme Research Impact & Research Engagement
Style Panel
Speakers Anna Kivilehto - Research Advisor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden
Dr Vanessa Crosby - Manager of UNSW Library’s Research Reporting Unit
Dr Paul Wong - Senior Data Management Specialist with the Australian National Data Service
Jaylene Wehipeihana - Business Growth Advisor, University of Auckland
Marita Hoist -