This week, TransRe officially confirmed the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) as its partner. Dr. Hartmut Fünfgeld, Senior Lecturer at RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and a Research Program Leader in the RMIT Centre for Urban Research, will lead this initiative through the development of a toolkit for policymakers. Recently, he sat down with TransRe and discussed his role and objectives:
What is RMIT’s role in the project?
"My [RMIT’s] role is to help TransRe make sense of some of the research findings during the course of the project…assist TransRe in translating research findings to be useful in the policy context in Thailand, in collaboration with local government and officials, with a view that this toolkit is not only going to sit on someone’s shelf, but actually test it and have some sort of certainty that the toolkit has relevance locally, and in parts, be implemented by individuals and groups."
Why a toolkit?
"‘Toolkit’ is a very sexy word at the moment. Everyone wants to have a toolkit. I don’t care what it’s called, but ultimately, I have a strong commitment in doing research that has some sort of impact at policy and practice level.
From my point of view, in every research project, especially in social research, we should be asking ourselves, What impact is this going to have for the people and communities we’re studying? The issues we’re studying? The issues we’re raising in reports and papers?”
What do you hope to achieve?
"What I hope to bring is the ability to translate or make sense of social research findings into something that is practical, achievable, and feasible with constrained resources. This could be a number of things: awareness raising activities, training of NGO workers, demonstration projects, and particular events. There are a lot of options.
[It’s important] to come up with guidance, ideas, and practices that can actually be directly implemented in a policy, community setting, organizational setting outside of academia."
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