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Research Engagement and Impact


The Impact Planning Canvas is designed to help you map and plan your pathway to impact. It takes you step-by-step through the impact planning process.

You can find the downloadable Impact Planning Canvas on the CQU research Moodle site.

Impact planning canvas

Source: Withyman C. (2018) Planning for Impact: Researcher Toolkit, Research Divsion, CQUniversity Australia.

Magnifying glass icon What is your impact goal?

What problem is your research aiming to solve? This is your impact goal.

Write down your research goal and what key messages will you have to share? Or think you will have to share. What will solving this problem look like?

What benefits will your research provide? Think outside of academia. What are the long term benefits/impacts to society of your research?

Are you aiming to generate awareness? Change practice or behaviour? Share knowledge and/or tools? Is your focus to influence policy or to inform government or industry? You may have a couple of different impact goals.

For RHD Students: At this stage it is advisable to work with your supervisory team to help you identify impacts and mechanisms to measure impact.

Question mark icon Why are you conducting this research?

Why are you doing this research? What are the major factors driving the research challenge? Is it industry trends, healthcare challenges, population changes, environmental concerns, government regulation etc.

Are you really solving a problem outside of academic literature? Why is it a problem?

Group of people icon Who are the research beneficiaries and who are your project stakeholders?

At its core creating impactful research is about people. It’s about communicating your research to the right people, to those that will take you research and do something with it. This requires actively engaging with the people and organisations (your research stakeholders) at the correct time and making it possible for them to act on and implement the information/research you provide. This is why it’s essential to engage with people throughout the research process, from planning right thorough to impact.

If you are engaging with your research end users at the beginning and throughout the research process then you will be better equipped to ensure that the information and tools you provide as a result of your research are presented to them in a format that they can understand and use.

In this section you are identifying your project partners and stakeholders. This is about considering all the stakeholders in the research process. Think about who impacts your work and who will be impacted by your work. It is broader than just your funding or project partners.

Think about external partners and research end (or next) users who may be interested in your research and/or use your research. Also, what other expertise or knowledge could others bring to your research, and who has this expertise?

Who will be your research champions? Who will help you share your message and research into the broader world?

At this stage of your impact planning think widely and note down all the interested parties/stakeholders related to your research from both within and external to academia.

This could include:

  • other researchers and/or educators
  • research participants
  • research funding bodies
  • policy makers or regulators
  • public sector groups or organisations
  • individuals or groups of individuals (including the general public)
  • charities and NGOs
  • industry
  • practitioners and professionals
  • media

Calendar icon When will you involve project stakeholders?

When do you need to involve the project stakeholders? At what stage of the research process? Not all will be engaged in the research at the same time.

Some stakeholders will ideally be involved from the beginning of the research planning, others many only need to involved at the end when the findings are being disseminated. Others may be involved beyond the end of the project. Some may benefit from being involved throughout the whole research process.

Think about the ideal time along the pathway to impact to involve your project stakeholders. Are the external events that you can capitalise on to leverage the reach of your research?

Icon with four arrows. One each pointing up, down, left and right How will you engage and involve stakeholders and end users?

How will you engage and involve your research stakeholders? How will you deliver your message to your target audience in a way that is useful and understandable?

What is the most effective way to connect people with your message? Think about your research goal, available resources, budget and audience.

Will you create a product such as reports, fact sheets, press releases, toolkits, e-newsletters or a website? Will you patent your research or create a widget?

Will you offer events or link with other events? This is the social side of your research and may include events such as conferences, forums, workshops, annual meetings and media events.

Will you use networks to leverage the impact of your research? Examples of networks might include, communities of practice, professional associations, online forums and social media groups.

Folded document icon What resources will you require?

What resources will you need to fulfill the planned engagement activities? Will you need additional budget?

What expertise do you need? Do you have internal resources you can leverage such as marketing and media teams, partnership brokers or networks?

Tick icon Indicators of Impact

Please review Documenting Evidence and Impact

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