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The Lowitja Institute believes that investing in knowledge generation and translation will result in lasting positive impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We define knowledge translation (KT) as a series of interactions that connect research evidence to changes in policy and practice. These interactions occur from the initial project idea formulation, through to implementation and project findings.
KT enables us to create a direct link from community priorities, to evidence base, to policy development, then finally to monitoring and evaluation. Within these links lie opportunities to close the gap between policy production and successful implementation.
The Lowitja Institute connects research and knowledge to changes in policy and practice through a process that aligns with our research principles to act for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, engage research end-users, strengthen the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research workforce, and measure impact.
The Lowitja Institute KT activities begin with research questions that are developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, and non-Indigenous organisations and government agencies. This is implemented through a carefully designed process that minimises power dynamics and privileges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
The emerging research questions then shape the research projects that the Lowitja Institute might support. Each research project that we fund includes additional funding to implement a Knowledge Translation Plan that supports researchers to adopt a strategic, systematic, and appropriately resourced approach to translate their findings. The steps that each Knowledge Translation Plan covers is outlined below in Figure 1.
Externally, the Institute is also engaged in a series of strategic interactions that support organisations, policymakers, and communities to engage effectively. For example, we hold regular KT forums to highlight the work of the Institute and to influence future strategic decisions in policy development, service delivery and evaluation.
At the Lowitja Institute we believe that it’s not enough to package research, nor is it enough to only make research outputs more compelling for policy makers. We want to do all of these things and also facilitate and guide interactions with those that shape policies, programs, and practices. This can bring us more effective policy commitments with better impact and a clearer line of sight back to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community priorities and knowledge.