Dr Iain Butterworth

University-Community Engagement: The Key to Generating Research that Makes a Difference

30 October, 2018

University of Wollongong

Co-Presenter Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng is a Founding Co-Director of the PowerLab and an NHMRC Career Development Fellow in Environmental Health of Children and Women. Xiaoqi will update on PowerLab research, engagement and impact in local communities.

Dr Iain Butterworth, Head of Professional Services, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, has more than 25 years’ experience in a range of sectors, including community development, government, higher education and consulting. Prior to joining AHURI, Iain was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, and helped establish Deakin University’s interdisciplinary post-graduate planning degree. He co-led the formal Partnership between Deakin University and the Victorian Dept of Human Services. Iain is currently National President of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association, and an Urban Scholar with the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme.

Seminar abstract: Too often, research is commissioned and published that, despite its theoretical brilliance and methodological rigour, is seldom used by policymakers to drive change. Researchers complain that their work is overlooked, whilst policy makers and practitioners might complain that researchers are producing research for the Academy, rather than to help equip people in the real world with evidence and resources to solve wicked problems. Meanwhile, in this new, Trumpian “post-truth era”, community advocates argue that politicians no longer care about evidence at all. In spite of all these pitfalls, research can still be brokered that expands the body of knowledge, influences policy, builds community capacity and sometimes even changes the world. Core to the success of transformational research are the principles and practice of university-community engagement. In this presentation, Dr Iain Butterworth will share his experiences of leading this kind of change, and outline a roadmap for generating community-engaged research that can influence practice and policy.