Massey University, Massey Business School
Category: Enhancing Approaches to Leadership Education Development
Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Accreditation Status: Business
The Research Translation Competition demonstrates research relevance to external stakeholders. It builds staff capacity and confidence in communicating research to a non-specialist audience.
Call to Action
Research conducted within Massey Business School (MBS) aims to be relevant and important not only to academia but to the business community as well. However, many of the outcomes and practical ideas that could be implemented can get lost among lengthy journal articles or conference papers. To make the research more accessible, Massey Business School developed the Research Translation Competition with the aim of taking Massey Business School research to the business community in a form that is easily understood and presented in a form in which business practitioners can pick up on main findings and implement the latest research in their day-to-day work.
The objectives of the Research Translation Competition (RTC) are to (1) encourage staff to translate selected research papers (based on actual papers that are in the public domain) into a form that is usable and valued by the business community, (2) develop staff capability in communicating effectively with non-academic (especially business) audiences, (3) enhance MBS’s reputation for high-impact research, and (4) engage the business community through knowledge exchange and involvement in the judging process.
The competition is a two-stage process, enabling more developmental opportunities for participating staff and engaging more fully with businesses and the wider community. Before the finals events are campus-based heats. All staff are invited and encouraged to submit an article (1,000–1,500 word limit) written for a business audience and based on a completed research paper or a recently published journal article. The judging panel reviews and provides developmental feedback to all submissions, focusing primarily on what would help the article be more appealing and useful to a non-specialist (especially business) audience.
A panel of judges (comprising members of the business community, industry partners, and College of Communications adviser) shortlist and provide feedback on the submitted articles, based on the following criteria: likely interest and value of the findings to the business community (60 percent), quality of the writing (20 percent), and quality of oral presentation (20 percent). Cash prizes (or contributions to research accounts) are awarded to the top three finalists, the top early career researcher (selected by the judging panel), and a people’s choice award.
The 2014 RTC received 19 entries, was an unqualified success, and became one of the highlights of the year. Encouraged by the success, a second competition was run in 2015 with 30 entries from the faculty. Massey Business School’s experience with the RTC has shown that it can garner the interest of academics, the business community, and the media. Participants represented most disciplines, and the five finalists ranged from full professors to early-career academics. The finals event was intended primarily just for staff and advisory board members, but some members of the business community heard about the event and requested to attend. The advisory board and other business people attending had high praise for the event. The finalists were invited for media releases and a video series, Big Issues in Business (BIBS), adding another incentive for staff to participate.
For example, Valentyna Melnyk, the event winner, was featured in a BIBS event and video. Other finalists also received media coverage; one entry was published in the Institute of Directors magazine at the urging of an advisory board member. Recently, the New Zealand Business Dean Council has agreed to make the TRC a national event to “draw more attention from the media, business, and government communities to the most impactful research being produced in business schools; increase the likelihood of attracting government and industry funding for business research; and counter the perception by some stakeholders that much academic research is purely academic and not useful for or accessible by business."