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Value of Research

Project Number # 1118

Value of Research

Realise all the benefits of your research investment

Today, research needs to deliver clear, demonstrable impact - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We also know that research is inherently valuable but hard to value. So, how can we harness the maximum benefit of the research we are undertaking? This question is not new to those who are working hard to make their research reverberate within or outside of their organisation and see its results come to fruition through practical implementation. 

We now know that, whether a research project is truly appreciated for its contribution to the knowledge of an organisation or whether results find their way to implementation does not only depend on the level of technical excellence the research displays. The key to a research project’s success or legacy is often determined by how well the complex interplay between the science and people aspects is managed.

While INNOVATION is a key ingredient of research guiding us into the future, COLLABORATION and IMPACT are the determinants of how well research is received by the end users. Our members have been clear: we would like to not only settle for the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harnessing the benefits of our research. A resounding good practice guide was needed, underpinned by international as well as our own industry’s rich experience and practice.

To date, the Value of Research initiative by WaterRA has delivered the following key products:



Phase 1: The Value of Research Phase 1 Report

Phase 1 of the project (undertaken in-house by WaterRA during 2018) reviewed numerous existing methods for assessing the value of research and considered their suitability for use by water utilities. A key finding of this Phase was that there are clearly recognisable common factors which contribute to maximising the value generated by a research program or project. Phase 1 provided key inputs on how to develop better guidance to allow the water sector harness the benefits across the research lifecycle (or research process).



 Download Phase 1 Report




Phase 2: The Good Practice Guide to achieving value from research

Our original scoping effort of the Value of Research project found that value creation starts before a research project has even begun and continues well after the final report has been delivered. There are core elements that an organisation needs to consider when it manages its research activities to extract the maximum value.

The Good Practice Guide to Achieving Value from Research defines the unique requirements for managing research so as to maximise and unquestionably demonstrate the benefits and value achieved across the full research lifecycle from problem/opportunity identification through to benefits realisation. The Guide has been written in a manner that allows every organisation to determine how value can be achieved along the way. It also highlights opportunities for collaboration and linkages between research managers in the water industry (often the end users of research) and research providers (often universities).

The Guide provides a standard approach to undertaking research projects with value creation at its heart, at every step of the process (project). Resource packages and tools are offered, so organisations can tailor the methods to their particular needs.


Download Phase 2 Report



NEW RELEASE: Phase 3: Good Practice Essentials

Good Practice Essentials is a summary of the GPG which distils the fundamental elements and core principles of achieving value from research, providing easy to follow guidance and key questions that help drive and measure value creation and impact throughout the research lifecycle. This Good Practice Essentials guide provides a step-by-step approach to maximise the value of the research across the research value lifecycle.

Good Practice Essentials takes you through:

  • What the Good Practice Research Lifecycle is and its phases
  • Core concepts which maximise research value
  • Good Practices and Principles and how to apply them through easy-to-follow questions 



Download Essentials Guide

If you are from a WaterRA member organisation, you can access this report and a wider range of content by registering and logging in, using the panel on the right.



Phase 3 Next steps: IMPLEMENTATION of the Guide’s practice approach

We have not yet arrived at the end of our journey! A Guide, on its own, is not a measure of how well research is now being valued.

Key elements of the Good Practice Essentials are currently being translated into our Research Value Analyser online tool which offers organisations the ability to assess their status and progress towards achieving the value and benefits of the research they undertake and, ultimately, enable benchmarking of the water industry and its research collaborators. The beta version of this online tool is currently in development and will be released soon.



If you wish to participate in the testing of the beta version of the tool please contact WaterRA's GM of Research Services, Jacqueline Frizenschaf



A big thank you to our BIG team, including our external collaborators and peer reviewers who made our Phase 2 product possible: Barwon Water, Coliban Water, Hunter Water, Icon Water, Melbourne Water, NT Power&Water, SA Water, Seqwater, South East Water, Sydney Water, UK Water Industry Research, Water Corporation, and WaterNSW; as well as our university members Curtin University, Deakin University, Griffith University, University of South Australia, University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Western Australia. Additional assistance and review was provided by Water Services Association of Australia, former Chair of the WaterRA Board, Shaun Cox) and our peer reviewers Dr Michael Du Plessis and Dr Mike Burch. The research was successfully undertaken by the research consortium comprised of HARC (Dr Matthew Hardy and Dr Phillip Jordan), Risk Edge (Dr Annette Davison), and Aither Consulting (Sarah Leck and Martijn Gough).