End User - Researcher Collaboration

In our approach to research utilisation we have identified that strong and healthy relationships and partnerships are vital for effective utilisation of research. We have also identified that active engagement between research and end users is important. The Research Utilisation Plan includes the formalisation of engagement with end users, through the Lead End User and the Research Advisory Forum, and also embeds engagement and collaboration opportunities within project plans and the AFAC business groups.

Lead End User role - The establishment of Lead End User representatives from a Bushfire CRC partner organisation is an innovation that is intended to provide a much stronger integration of end user needs into the research projects as they are initiated through to the adoption of the research outputs in some years’ time. The Lead End Users for each project are shown in the plan as well as on the Bushfire CRC website. The role of the Lead End User will change over time as the project progresses. The Lead End User will be best placed to support the utilisation of research by facilitating appropriate interaction between the researchers and the end users, often through participation at an AFAC Group meeting.

Year 1 (July 10 - June 11) Year 2 (July 11 - June 12) Year 3 (July 12 - June 13)
  • Project definition, general advocacy
  • Awareness raising of intentions
  • Monitoring and Feedback
  • Awareness Raising of project and emerging findings
  • Initial Impact Assessment
  • Initial Impact Assessment
  • Monitoring and Feedback
  • Assess Impact & product identification

An independent report on the role of the lead end user was completed in October 2013. The report found that: lead end users were successful as research leaders highly valued lead end users industry knowledge, industry contacts, intellectual challenge and contribution and support; industry respondents valued the lead end users role in matching research outputs to user requirements and the translation/interpretation and communication of the research into ‘industry speak’; and the lead end users themselves are now a cohort of ‘research savvy’ people within the industry. The key issues identified were an incomplete appreciation of the role, including time commitment by the lead end user themselves and lack of acknowledgment of and support for the role. View the full report.

Research Advisory Forum - Each partner agency of the Bushfire CRC has a representative on the Research Advisory Forum which provides an avenue for engagement between the agency and each of the research projects. The Research Advisory Forum meetings have been factored into the Utilisation Plan as collaboration opportunities. Research Advisory Forum meetings are generally held twice per year and consider about half of the projects each time. (Link to RAF)

AFAC business groups - The leverage that the Bushfire CRC can achieve through partnering with AFAC business groups www.afac.com.au is considerable. End User agencies are encouraged to utilise their AFAC representatives as a means to access the Bushfire CRC Research in the context of its relevance and implications to the industry. All of the Bushfire CRC research projects have been ‘aligned’ with the key AFAC interest groups and the detailed plan identifies the Group, the Group Manager and upcoming meeting dates (where known). Inclusion of appropriate consideration of the research project at these meetings is envisaged to go through the generic phases of creating awareness, engagement of users, consideration of potential implications and development of appropriate utilisation ‘products’. The Lead End User for the project should be able to guide the passage of the project and its outcomes through these meetings.

Summary of AFAC Groups and Bushfire CRC Extension Research Project Connections

AFAC Group Research Project /Lead End User
Rural & Land Management Group Risk Assessment & Decision Making/David Youssef & Ralph Smith
National Fire Mapping/Neil Burrows
Fire in the Landscape /Neil Cooper – 2 carbon projects, 2 water projects
Extreme Fire Behaviour /Simon Heemstra
Community Safety Group Community Expectations/Mick Ayre
Effective Communications – Communities and Bushfire /John Schauble
Human Behaviour Under Stress 1 - 3 University of WA projects / Damien Killalea Human Behaviour Under Stress 2 /Damien Killalea
OH&S Sub Group OH&S and Surge Capacity/Robyn Pearce
4 projects on the Operational readiness of rural firefighters - – smoke impacts and endurance - sustaining operations
AIMS Panel also Rural and Land Management/Urban Operations  Incident Management Systems/Liam Fogarty
Knowledge Management Group also Rural and Land Management Group and Community Safety Group  Fuels and Risk Planning in the Interface/Mike Wouters
Business Management Group Economics and Future Scenarios/Andrew Stark and Shane Wiseman