Building researcher and research administrators capability to engage with industry for impact

Kavitha Chandra-Shekeran
RMIT University

Increasingly university administration is focusing on embedding industry in everything they do to ensure research is relevant, valued and delivers impact. Australia’s National Innovation Science Agenda and increasing competition for research funding are key drivers towards industry engagement for researchers.
However for traditional researchers focused and used to research publications and government grants approaching industry can be foreign and daunting requiring new and specific skills.
Researchers are increasingly requiring support to map and understand and respond to industry problems.
Further how to approach and manage research relationships requires specific skills and strategies.
Too often researchers approach industry to fund projects but provide little in return which is of impact and can be practically used by industry. With a greater focus on researchers being industry engaged it is critical that researchers ensure they are developing meaningful and ethical relationships with industry that are of mutual benefit.
The presentation will discuss and share strategies and training which support researchers to approach industry partners with integrity and codesign and engage at the early stages with partners to ensure impact.
The presentation will profile training methods and frameworks used to support researchers with ethical industry engagement. These will include the use of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework to promote and improve the practice of public participation or community and stakeholder engagement as well as a high-level value proposition and research canvas.
The focus will be on working with humanities researchers as often whilst they may not be producing new technology or products they are supporting not-for profits and government organisations with policy and social change.
The session will cover strategies to support researchers understand industry priorities and identify shared research priorities.

Initial results show that we are beginning to see researchers think more about consulting with industry partners early on as they develop research questions and projects to ensure the research is relevant and can be translated by industry. However developing relationships that are more than consultations and move beyond to be empowering and two-way participatory relationships is where the IAP2 framework can be useful.
The presentation will share and highlight adult learning tools that have been developed to assist with learning outcomes which include:
• How to identify industry partners relevant to research priorities
• How to research and understand industry needs
• How to frame and develop the value of research for industry
• Understanding and promoting the benefits of working with industry for universities
• Understanding and promoting the benefits for industry to work with universities
• How to communicate and manage research projects with industry
• How to work ethically and undertake engagement and participation with industry partners
• How to use the IPA2 public participation spectrum for industry engagement
Most importantly as a practitioner presentation I would like to source other tools with colleagues so we can share our experiences in building researcher and support staff capability to increase positive and impact relationships between universities and industry.