Thirty-two researchers from KSI’s 16 partner research institutes spent five days from 13-17 April working with expert peers from the ANU and the University of Melbourne to develop research proposals on a diverse range of important policy issues at KSI’s first Research Design Workshop and Clinic. This Workshop and Clinic is intended to help strengthen the ability of partner organisations to conceive and design new research projects, and write funding proposals.
To a large extent, many of KSI’s partner organisations have found it difficult to pursue an independent research agenda due to a lack of skills in designing research projects and writing proposals. Often, this has meant that the research they do reflects donors’ priorities, rather than their own. All 16 KSI partner organisations identified a need to strengthen their research design and proposal writing skills and requested KSI’s support to address this need. In response, KSI organised the Research Design Workshop and Clinic. It is hoped that the Workshop will become a regular event, promoting research quality, organisational sustainability and dissemination of research findings.
The Workshop combined presentations on research design and ways to develop strong funding proposals with intensive peer-to-peer support aimed at helping researchers develop the outline of a complete research proposal by the end of the week. Participating researchers from KSI’s 16 partner organisations worked extremely hard, in some cases until late at night, to accomplish this goal.
“This was a valuable opportunity for early career researchers from KSI’s partner organisations to develop their skills with intensive support from senior academics who focus on similar issues in their own work,” said Ben Hillman, KSI Senior Advisor.
Participants will now have an opportunity to further develop and refine their research proposals before sending them to their expert peers for further input. Once proposals have been finalised, the researchers’ organisations will be invited to submit them to KSI to be considered for funding as part of the next round of core funding grants. Assuming projects are funded, the expert peers will stay involved in the process, providing on-going support to researchers as they collect and interpret data and write up their findings.
“Based on the positive feedback we’ve received from the participants already, the Workshop provided an extremely valuable learning experience, and we expect there will be strong demand from our partners to run it again before too long,” added Ben.