A challenge for funders of research is that it often requires more than research to achieve their ultimate goals.
Restricting funding to research is often set out in the terms of; a bequest, a donation, a grant, the constitution and may be a requirement for the funder to maintain charitable status.
The outcome funders wish to achieve however is about the application of research.
Research grants normally focus on the conduct of the research; the collection, analysis and interpretation of data and some reporting including acquittals and publications.
Most application and review processes normally focus on the research capability and capacity but overlook the non-research components required for translation….. application of the research findings.
Funders can however significantly influence the potential for translation to occur even when their financial contribution is dedicated to the conduct of research.
Do funders of research consider translation through the lense of the halo effect? This is where we assume that because people/institutions are good at doing one thing they will be good at doing other things.
The economist describes this well using examples including car companies that role out a ‘halo vehicle’ that helps sell other vehicles. Apple’s iphone significantly influenced the sale of other mac products by also developing an ecosystem around their products.
Funders of research have the opportunity to influence non-research activities within institutions and create their own halo. A halo that can assist other funders of research also requiring non-research commitments and investments from institutions.
Considering non-research capability, capacity, track record and a commitment supporting translational activities in the review process when awarding grants can have a collective impact.
Translation takes more than research.
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