An approach to measuring and encouraging research translation and research impact

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Searles, A
Doran, C
Attia, J
Knight, D
Wiggers, J
Deeming, S
Mattes, J
Webb, B
Hannan, S
Ling, R
Edmunds, K
Reeves, P
Nilsson, M
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Background: Research translation, particularly in the biomedical area, is often discussed but there are few methods that are routinely used to measure it or its impact. Of the impact measurement methods that are used, most aim to provide accountability - to measure and explain what was generated as a consequence of funding research. This case study reports on the development of a novel, conceptual framework that goes beyond measurement. The Framework To Assess the Impact from Translational health research, or FAIT, is a platform designed to prospectively measure and encourage research translation and research impact. A key assumption underpinning FAIT is that research translation is a prerequisite for research impact. Methods: The research impact literature was mined to understand the range of existing frameworks and techniques employed to measure and encourage research translation and research impact. This review provided insights for the development of a FAIT prototype. A Steering Committee oversaw the project and provided the feedback that was used to refine FAIT. Results: The outcome of the case study was the conceptual framework, FAIT, which is based on a modified program logic model and a hybrid of three proven methodologies for measuring research impact, namely a modified Payback method, social return on investment, and case studies or narratives of the process by which research translates and generates impact. Conclusion: As funders increasingly seek to understand the return on their research investments, the routine measurement of research translation and research impact is likely to become mandatory rather than optional. Measurement of research impact on its own is insufficient. There should also be a mechanism attached to measurement that encourages research translation and impact - FAIT was designed for this task.

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Health Research Policy and Systems
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© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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Policy and administration
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Searles, A; Doran, C; Attia, J; Knight, D; Wiggers, J; Deeming, S; Mattes, J; Webb, B; Hannan, S; Ling, R; Edmunds, K; Reeves, P; Nilsson, M, An approach to measuring and encouraging research translation and research impact, Health Research Policy and Systems, 2016, 14 (1), pp. 60