The research utilisation approach taken by the Bushfire CRC since 2010 has been reviewed and revised in response to stakeholder feedback. A survey of end users in December 2012 revealed significant progress since 2010, with end users generally satisfied with the Bushfire CRC’s information products and the many opportunities provided for engagement and collaboration. The survey also suggested that end user partners are still finding it challenging to deal with understanding the impact of the research on their business.
The Research Utilisation Strategy 2013-2014 continues to emphasise the following as key areas for success:
- Relationships and partnerships beyond AFAC to individual agencies and new partners
- Increased engagement and active involvement in addition to passive approaches
- Nurturing of a responsive and learning culture within individual end users, by agencies
- Building of research utilisation capacity and capability within end user agencies
- Creation of high quality products to support utilisation in a collaborative way
- Supporting agencies to make the research meaningful for their context.
The revised strategy places more emphasis on helping to build research utilisation capacity by providing professional development in how to run events for utilisation purposes, encouraging the development, writing and sharing of case studies that demonstrate research impacts, and the continued production of user-friendly information products, particularly Fire Notes. It also reinforces the need to continue to work closely with the industry’s knowledge management endeavors, such as the conduct of a joint Professional Development Events Program.
Research Utilisation Review 2014
Access the Research Utilisation Review 2014 here. The review discusses findings based on a survey used to consult the industry on existing and potential research utilisation practices to inform future directions. This survey has been carried out three times; 2010, 2012 and 2014 and the results compared.
The key findings were:
- Agencies, and the industry, need to build capability in developing robust processes of deliberative review, assessment and evaluation so that evidence-based practice can be demonstrated. These factors all need to be addressed if the industry and involved agencies are to reap the full benefits of Bushfire CRC (and other) research.
- Information products are an essential foundation, but they do not help with skills to identify what needs to change and to help bring about change and they need to be supplemented with more active engagement strategies.
- There was evidence to support collaborative activities which are highly engaging, such as workshops and being members of a project team. It needs to be recognised that deep engagement along the journey brings about a higher level understanding of the research, and most importantly – help with evaluating what needs to change. This goes to the heart of achieving impact.
- Barriers to research utilisation were underpinned by three factors: (i) Agency Capacity to make sense of the research (ii) External Context which included the overwhelming amount of research outputs and the amount of change occurring in the industry, indicating a need to provide opportunities to step back and strategically consider the big picture, and (iii) Research Utilisation Enablers, that is access to information products and engaging events, are still required.
With the research continuing to be wound up, the focus quite rightly is shifting to utilisation, with professional development forums conducted by researchers for AFAC groups a key aspect. Last week the Rural and Land Management Group participated in a PD forum on firefighting and economics. Professor Stephen Dovers (Australian National University) and
The Bushfire CRC is pleased to launch a speakers bureau featuring the leading bushfire researchers from Australasia and their areas of study. Our researchers are keen to pass on their knowledge to personnel in the emergency services sector. This is an important initiative in our endeavour to promote research utilisation. Please visit our speakers bureau for more information and to make an inquiry.