Many of the resources in this toolkit are useful techniques for helping prepare research bids. What you learn or achieve from using them can have a life beyond bid preparation, into the project itself. The amount of effort you put in here will be determined by the size and complexity of the project.
For integrated research bids it is especially important that you hear from those who your research is trying to ‘impact’ on, those who are interested in the topic and those who have different types of influence.
When you get people together, there are likely to be multiple ideas on what the real problem is, or what aspect you should focus on. These different views are important as each person reveals something else about the system you are working in.
It is not just scientific knowledge that is important for integrated research.
Create a map of which stakeholders are engaged and their relative power
We often start the preparation of a bid with the solution, or the bit of science that we want to do. For integrated research bids, they need to begin by focussing on the problem you are trying to tackle (or the opportunity they are trying to realise). A range of perspectives across disciplines and knowledge sources and stakeholders is critical here. There are likely to be multiple ideas on what the real problem is, or what aspect you should focus on. These different views are important as each person reveals something else about the system you are working in. Once you have decided the areas of research to focus on, understanding the root causes of the problem you are interested in tackling and the consequences of it, can be useful for exploring where your research fits.
A holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's parts interrelate.
Revealing and discussing different perspectives to see problems from other viewpoints
It is becoming increasingly important to be able to articulate the outcomes that your project is trying to achieve and how the impact created by those outcomes will be realised.
Defining upfront the desired outcomes can really improve the likelihood of achieving those outcomes as it enables the team to get on the same page about what the project will achieve. The outcome spaces framework is useful here.
It is also important to get a shared understanding about how the project thinks the change will happen and who it needs to work with to realise those changes. Approaches such as programme logic and Theory of Change can help with this.
AgResearch’s Impact Planning Tool is useful for capturing and communicating who you need to work with.