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  • Author or Editor: Sara Bice x
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Authors: Kirsty Jones and Sara Bice


The gap between research and practical implementation remains a major challenge for policymakers. Research co-creation, involving researchers co-designing and co-producing research with industry, government and civil society, can support improved end user uptake and better research implementation.

Aims and objectives:

This Practice Paper introduces a process of research co-creation based in implementation science and integrated knowledge translation theories. It details the development of the Infrastructure Engagement Excellence Standards (IEE), a framework of 10 Standards defining the qualities of community engagement for optimal infrastructure planning and delivery. The paper details a research co-creation process applicable across a variety of industries and policy settings.

Key conclusions:

The Practice Paper introduces a theory-based method for research co-production and discusses strengths and weaknesses of the co-creation approach used to develop the IEE Standards. Implementation science and integrated knowledge translation theory offer important insights to support more successful research co-design and co-production. Research that incorporates these theories is better positioned to achieve implementation. The creation of the IEE Standards offers one helpful example of how researchers, policymakers and practitioners can begin to close the research-implementation gap.

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This article provides an appraisal of collaborative conceptual modelling (CCM) as a tool for research translation. First developed by , CCM draws on the tools and frameworks of systems thinking as a way of addressing transdisciplinary problems. We applied CCM in two separate workshops – one discussing ‘Digital Cities’, and the other on ‘Energy Futures’. The aim was to assess the value and limitations of CCM in an applied setting, as well as its value in producing transdisciplinary research outcomes. We found that CCM is a valuable tool for researchers interested in addressing complex or ‘wicked’ problems. At the same time, it has its own challenges. These barriers include recruiting workshop participants who are not researchers; assisting workshop participants in developing a truly collaborative approach; and training participants in how to draw some of the main CCM tools (particularly causal loop diagrams). Future research will explore how to address these challenges, and apply CCM in a contested space.

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