Panelists: Communicating your research

Professor Aaron C.T. Smith

Professor Aaron C.T. Smith

Aaron C.T. Smith is Professor and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia, specialising in business industry engagement. Aaron has research interests in the management of psychological, organisational and policy change in business, sport, health, religion and society, and has authored 13 books and consulted to more than 100 clients concerning these issues. Aaron’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) and two doctorates, the first in management and the second in cognitive science.

Selections of Aaron’s research and other books

In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

To stakeholders—and especially business—research outcomes are largely irrelevant. What matters is not outcomes but impact. A researcher must be able to communicate how the results from a research project (particularly with industry collaboration) deliver an impact on performance.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I once wrote a popular science book about aliens (but I don’t think they are here). It has outsold all my ‘serious’, academic books…

What is one fun fact about you?

I am fastidious about research methods but am completely incapable of following a cooking recipe.

Dr Kevin Thomson

Dr Kevin Thomson

Dr Kevin Thomson is the Grants Facilitator with Enterprise Connect. Kevin started his career in research with a B.Sc (Hons) in Physics, Masters of Engineering Science, and Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Monash University. Kevin has been involved in many research collaborations with Universities, CRCs and CSIRO, with funding from ARC Linkage, COMET, Commercial Ready and the Victorian Government MVP.

He currently delivers the Researchers in Business program for Enterprise Connect in Victoria, and is employed by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). Researchers in Business aims to assist companies by providing a fast, easy way of connecting to researchers at Universities, supported by a grant of up to $50,000.

In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

Effective communication with stakeholders works best when there is true

collaboration – working together and sharing experience.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I was responsible for developing the plastic material used in Ford Falcon bumper bars from 1987 onwards.

What is one fun fact about you?

I produce a barrel of red wine (with 3 friends) every year. We call it ‘Dead Crow Shiraz’

Professor Deb Verhoeven

Professor Deb Verhoeven

Professor Verhoeven is Chair of Media and Communication at Deakin University.  She has previously served in both academic and film industry positions. From 2008-2011 she was inaugural Deputy Chair of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. A former CEO of the Australian Film Institute, Professor Verhoeven is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association, the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI), an Honorary Life Member of Women in Film and Television, and a founding executive member of the Australasian Association for the Digital Humanities (aaDH). Deb is currently Project Director of the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) initiative and Deputy Director of the Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention (CMII). To read more, visit:

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In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

There is no single best way to communicate research. Great communication is always achieved by understanding and meeting the nuances of context. Or as Aristotle put it a million years ago, by attending to: ethos, pathos, and logos. 

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I survived the 1985 Mexican earthquake.

What is one fun fact about you? 

I once wrote a book on the representation of sheep in Australian cinema.

Professor Roslyn Russell

Professor Roslyn Russell

Roslyn Russell is a Principal Research Fellow in the school of Economics, Finance and Marketing. Roslyn undertakes research in the areas of financial inclusion and financial literacy and involves working with some of Australia’s major financial institutions, state and federal governments and NGOs. In addition to the work with industry, Roslyn also has been successful in winning ARC grants – her current Discovery grant is exploring how women make financial decisions.

In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

Simply, clearly, succinctly.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

If it’s an accomplishment I want people to know about then they already do.

What is one fun fact about you? 

Still thinking......can't decide which one to choose.....

Professor Sinclair Davidson

Professor Sinclair Davidson

Sinclair Davidson is Professor of Institutional Economics in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University and also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. Sinclair has published in academic journals such as the European Journal of Political EconomyReview of Political EconomyJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Cato Journal. He is a regular contributor to public debate. His opinion pieces have been published in The AgeThe Australian

Australian Financial ReviewDaily TelegraphSydney Morning Herald, and Wall Street Journal Asia.  Sinclair runs the largest Australian libertarian blogsite Catallaxy Files.

In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

Once you define stakeholders beyond ‘other academics’ the best way to spread ideas and research results is via the popular media (newspapers, The Conversation, etc.) and social media such as blogs and twitter. Popular communication is very different to academic communication and appropriate skill sets need to be developed for that task.  

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I played a substantial role in undermining the economic arguments for the Resource Super Profit Tax.

After an appearance on ABC television I was labelled an ‘evil, bald, fascist gnome’.

What is one fun fact about you?

I am a huge MeatLoaf fan - even after his grand final appearance.

Dr Simon Sellars

Dr Simon Sellars

Dr Simon Sellars is a Senior Social Media Analyst, Web Services and Information Policy at RMIT University. In previous lives, he's been an academic, a researcher, a lecturer, a travel writer and a book and magazine editor.

In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate research to stakeholders?

Speaking as Senior Social Media Analyst, I'm going to be completely obvious and say social media is a great way to communicate research. I won't say it's the "best way" because it's obviously a tool among many, and won't be applicable in all cases. However, the obvious benefits of social media are that it allows research to be immediate, shareable, global and collaborative. Social media can offer opportunities for realtime collaboration between stakeholders, for communicating research findings to geographically distanced stakeholders and for keeping track of the effectiveness of research using analytics tools.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I don't think there is one that not many people know about. It's all been laid bare on social media! However, a few recent things: I graduated with a PhD in Cultural Studies in 2009; I co-edited a recently acclaimed volume of interviews with the author J.G. Ballard; and I am the proud father of a 13-month-old daughter.

What is one fun fact about you? 

I once co-wrote a cult travel book on micronations ("nation states" that people form as a hobby). Amazingly, according to our publisher, this was optioned to be made into a film starring Jack Black. Alas, we never heard back from Mr Black.