• Project No 1130
  • Project Name The role of knowledge brokers in achieving research impact in the water industry
  • Lead Organisation Melbourne Water
  • Research Lead N/A
  • Main Researcher Dr Slobodanka Stojkovic
  • Completion Year 2025

Project Description

Water utilities invest significant resources in research, but the full impact may not be maximised if knowledge exchange between project participants and end users is not effective. Water Research Australia is supporting Melbourne Water to trial the inclusion of a dedicated Knowledge Broker to oversee knowledge exchange and facilitate research adoption in the areas of drinking water, recycled water, wastewater treatment, and asset management. WaterRA’s involvement in this trial will facilitate outcomes that can benefit the wider water industry as the Knowledge Broker will also focus on testing and applying the different tools, indicated in The Value of Research: A Good Practice Guide to achieving value from research Phase 2, to different projects within Melbourne Water.

This project will explore the value of engaging a Knowledge Broker to work alongside managers and researchers at all stages of a research project — development, implementation and knowledge transfer — to demonstrate the value of research. Consideration will be given to methodology already developed, such as the Good Practice Guide, which includes linking key people within a utility with the project researchers to ensure the outcomes of research meet their needs. It also includes planning and enabling researcher-utility interactions, e.g. presentations, meetings, publications, etc. and ensuring that quantitative and qualitative metrics are recorded.

A Knowledge Broker is important for identifying the key knowledge exchange and research translation activities required for maximum uptake of research outputs. Their role includes the production of materials suitable for knowledge transfer and facilitating other ways of communicating the research outcomes to bring about change. Evaluating and reporting research impact and business benefits are also essential tasks of a Knowledge Broker. By raising the prominence of research within Melbourne Water, it is anticipated that staff will become more aware of the need for, and the support of, an environment of continuous improvement, and are inspired to explore more innovative ways of working and use new knowledge in their day-to-day activities.