Alex Collie delivers an end-of-year report, looking back on ISCRR's work during 2014.

2014 has been a landmark year for ISCRR with some major milestones. Included among these was the development of a new strategy for the institute, linked to a new 5 year funding agreement with our major partners.  The strategy describes ISCRR as a knowledge broker – the critical link between our major policy partners in the VWA and the TAC, and the academic community represented primarily at Monash.

It articulates our task as being one focussed on developing, executing and translating research to deliver value of the TAC, the VWA and their clients.  Really our task is to drive the transfer of research evidence between the academic environment and the Victorian safety and injury compensation sector.

There are many definitions and descriptions of knowledge brokerage. And, of course, there is a body of research evidence on research knowledge brokerage . A simple description of the role of a knowledge broker is that they facilitate the transfer and exchange of information between organisations or environments where it is available to organisations or environments that would benefit from that information.

As the year has progressed and we have begun implementing the Strategy, our activities and value as a knowledge broker have become increasingly apparent. At ISCRR we deal specifically with research evidence, in a specific area of public policy (injury prevention, rehabilitation and compensation), and within well-defined geographic boundary (Victoria). These clearly defined limits make our task manageable. But it is not easy. We have established a range of systems, processes and approaches to fulfil this brokerage role.  We have also studied the environments in which we operate to identify factors within our partner organisations that will influence our effectiveness, and the design of our systems.

We have recently produced a summary of our approach, which helps to explain what we do, and why we do it. This brief document attempts to describe the nuts and bolts of our knowledge broker role, and summarises the value delivered to our partners so far.

There have been some wonderful examples of this approach at work this year. For example the design of the TAC's new residential accommodation for people living with serious injury was influenced by a number of projects established by ISCRR and involving Monash researchers.The service model at the newly opened Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Alfred Health was similarly influenced by research supported by ISCRR and led by a multidisciplinary team based at La Trobe University and Monash University. In Victorian workplaces, research developed by ISCRR with Monash and the VWA is developing new ways of assessing the health and safety of Victorian workplaces. In the healthcare sector, we have been involved in developing and are now evaluating the Health Benefits of Safe Work initiative being trialled in General Practice and led by the VWA.

These are just some examples of the highly targeted, applied research that is having a positive impact on the lives of Victorians, and on the TAC and the VWA.

As we move into 2015 our focus will be on maximising the effectiveness of our brokerage approach. ISCRR and its partners have a wonderful opportunity to bring about evidence informed change. It is a privilege to be involved in such a unique organisation.

Have a happy and safe holiday period.