Inglis Clark Symposium: Engaging with Impact

Case Studies

#1 Citizen Science 

Presenter:  Assoc Professor Gretta Pecl (Principal Research Fellow, IMAS)

Climate driven changes in the distribution of marine species are being reported from around the globe, however, the rate of range extension or contraction varies in both space and time. To minimise negative impacts and maximise opportunities, we need monitoring infrastructure in place to capture distributional changes within reasonable time frames and with a degree of certainty. Redmap (Range Extension Database and Mapping project, is an online database and mapping resource allowing members of the public to submit observational data (including photographs) of marine species occurring outside their known distribution (i.e. species that may be undergoing range shifts). Active across Australia, the project is designed to be a low-cost and sustained approach to assess changing marine species distributions. Australia has over 3.5 million fishers and divers - many equipped with consumer electronics and the capacity to record verifiable observations. However, one challenge to the adoption of such datasets is the perception of bias or low quality. In addition to extracting geo-tag information from photographs (validating location), species identifications are verified by essentially 'crowd-sourcing' from a large panel of expert scientists using a semi-automated validation workflow. This initiative has the potential to generate large amounts of valuable information for researchers and engage communities in climate science (using their own data), raising awareness of climate change impacts and consequences. Redmap is an early warning system for changes occurring in the marine environment, and has the potential to play a pivotal role in directing management decisions and actions.

Presenter:  Dr Elizabeth Shannon (Senior Lecturer, Postgraduate Programs, School of Medicine)

UTAS CARES is an interdisciplinary collaborative which received a Community Engagement Grant in 2015 to develop sustainable collaborative arrangements between UTAS (staff and students) and a broad range of grassroots ecological community volunteer groups (CARE groups) in Southern Tasmania. We are achieving this in two ways:

Increase staff/community engagement: increase the interaction between UTAS staff teaching, researching and publishing in relevant areas and CARE groups.

  • Develop regional collaborative governance arrangements to support ongoing academic/community engagement.
  • Implement four demonstration projects. All collaboration participants will have the opportunity to nominate specific projects for implementation.

Increase student/community engagement: increase the number of UTAS students engaging in local ecological volunteering activities while studying in Tasmania.

  • Develop targeted CARE group materials for UTAS students highlighting opportunities to engage with unique Tasmanian environment, local culture and community. Impact will be gauged by number of downloads, hard-copy material disseminated.
  • Face-to-face CARE group engagement CARE groups to visit Southern campuses for Orientation Weeks and National Student Volunteer Week. Additional opportunities will be taken up as they present.

Develop and maintain UTAS student website resources: Present and disseminate results. A public seminar will be held in November 2016, in order to commence the dissemination of results from this UTAS community engagement grant. It is anticipated that individual demonstration projects will also lead to associated publications.

During 2016 we intend to establish the feasibility of the Southern collaborative, with the intention that this model be expanded to other parts of the state.

#2 Shared Value

Launceston Cycling Festival
Presenters: Assoc Professor James Fell & Bonnie French (School of Health Sciences)

Effective community engagement activities are a key strength of the Sport and Exercise Science Discipline's teaching and research activities.  In December 2015 the University was the major partner for the annual Launceston Cycling Festival. Within this partnership, the University's School of Health Sciences and the Avanti Racing Team held a week long training camp following the Festival. Team Avanti stayed onsite at the University's Newnham Campus, in student accommodation, and worked closely with Exercise Science students and PhD scholars monitoring fatigue throughout the week. This session will discuss the makings of this partnership, and explore the short and long term benefits to our students, the University, and the Community.

ExPhys Clinic – Pilates for Older People Program
Presenters: Dr Marie-Louise Bird and participants (School of Health Sciences)

The School of Health Sciences offer exercise assessment and prescription services, and group fitness classes, to the community through the Exercise Physiology Clinic on the Newnham Campus. One of the programs offered by the EP Clinic is group Pilates classes for people aged over 60 years, which are designed to improve balance and reduce accidental falls. This program initially started as a research study, and has continued as a regular class, offered 3 times a week, on request of the participants. During this session we will invite some participants of the program to discuss the many benefits they have found this program offers, and how these outcomes are mutually beneficial for the University.

#3 Partnerships 

Tasmanian Humble Products – Tasmanian School of Business & Economics and Pathways to Success
Presenters: Dr Kate Burton (TSBE) and Brett Williams (Pathways to Success)

In 2015 the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics and the Pathways to Success Program piloted a program which saw College students work with and mentor high school students on a social enterprise project. The students came together once a week for a school term and, with academic input and guidance from a marketing lecturer, designed a marketing strategy for a wood product made by the high school students. Over the school term the project grew, and the students ended up launching their own business at the end of term – Tasmanian Humble Products. Along the way students learned the basics of marketing, building and writing a business plan, pitching their idea to industry experts and talking to the media. The business has continued and will work with another cohort of college students this year to expand and further market its offerings.

Presenters: Leanne Arnott (Community, Partnerships & Regional Development) & Kate Coad (2016 AGFEST Chairman)

AGFEST is Australia's premier rural event based in Carrick in Northern Tasmania and attracts between 60,000 to 70,000. The event is managed by the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania Inc (RYOTI) and relies heavily on volunteers for its delivery and success. The partnership between the University and the AGFEST committee had several dimensions and provided significant engagement opportunity. Firstly, the delivery of a research project studying patrons, exhibitors and volunteers with a particular focus on the economic value of AGFEST to the region and the importance of volunteers on its success. Secondly, school student learning materials was developed as part of the Kids Agricultural Awareness Program. Thirdly the co-ordination of an exhibition site profiling University innovation and providing interactive activities for students.

The significant presence at AGFEST in 2015 allowed the University to engage with many community members that would normally be considered hard to reach, particularly school aged children and their parents. Approximately 8000 patrons visited the centralised University site and 17,000 patrons visited one of the University sites over the 3 days. 

The partnership has also provided the footings for a mutually beneficial relationship with RYOTI into the future, which will include further volunteer research, opportunities for Journalism students to report on the event, a possible RYOTI Ag Science scholarship and study options for their volunteers in the area of event management. 

#4 Engagement with the Health System

Work Integrated Learning, Teaching and Research
Presenters: Associate Professor Annette Marlow (Director of Professional Experience Placement, Faculty of Health) & Professor Leigh Kinsman (Professor of Healthcare Improvement, UTAS and the Tasmanian Health Service)

This session will provide an overview of the University's engagement with the health system for the purposes of providing high quality learning experiences for undergraduate students within health disciplines, and to meet local healthcare needs through world standard research.

Work Integrated Learning

Each year within the Faculty of Health approximately one million hours of student learning occur off campus within healthcare settings. Measuring the impact of this learning from the perspective of the healthcare sector, the consumer and the student is a key focus of the Faculty's Professional Experience Placement (PEP) team.  As such, an online portal and survey instrument to measure, and report on, students' perceptions of their learning while engaging in Work Integrated Learning, including preparation prior to WIL, engagement with active learning while on WIL, and opportunities to develop a professional sense of self has been developed.  The processes related to the development of this evaluation tool will be presented.


The School of Health Sciences has established a number of joint research appointments with health services that aim to address local healthcare challenges and grow the international research reputation of the University of Tasmania. These appointments play a substantial role in reducing the unacceptable gap between evidence and practice. For example, Professor Kinsman has been contributing to an international research program designed to reduce waiting times in emergency departments in Tasmania, Victoria and Canada. This requires significant engagement of a community of researchers, clinicians, managers and policymakers and is contributing to targeted, localised interventions. The impact has been measured by the "Health Services Research Impact Matrix" to be presented at this symposium.

#5 Our Community

Dementia friendly communities: prioritising action through community inclusion - Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, Faculty of Health
Presenters: Dr Helen Courtney-Pratt & Dr Kathleen Doherty (Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre)

The development of dementia friendly communities is an important strategy to support people to live well with dementia through a range of integrated social, environmental and physical strategies.  Internationally and nationally, there is a growing need for communities to focus on becoming dementia friendly in response to increasing numbers of persons living with dementia.

In order to initiate this research we took a number of parallel approaches. Through engagement with a peak body enabling contact with facilities, and by building on pre-existing projects and dementia friendly communities the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (WDREC) has initiated identification of a range of Dementia friendly initiatives.  Three geographically distinct areas were the focus in order to maximise our reach, and to understand community specific differences and similarities.  The aim of the project includes bringing Wicking to the community, for mutual exchange of ideas through the following deliverables:

  • Facilitated community workshops in partnership with community, WDREC and Aged and Community Services Tasmania in three regional areas
  • Strengthening of links with the community for sharing knowledge and expertise in dementia
  • Community based dementia priorities to inform future projects
  • Establishment of  a dementia  community stakeholder reference group for engagement in future projects

This presentation focuses on the work to date, including barriers and enablers, and highlights the importance of community input to research direction in response to identified community need.

The Midlands Regeneration Art Project (MRAP) is a collaborative initiative developed by the Science Art Lab, based at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania.
Presenters: John Vella & Lucy Bleach (Office of the Tasmanian College of the Arts)

Building on Greening Australia's extensive restoration work of planted habitat 'bridges' that enable endangered species to move East-West across the state, site-specific artworks have been proposed as a creative way of supporting biodiversity, and raising new focus for community and tourism in the region.

The project explores interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary site-specific art practice. It responds to regional environmental challenges through developing 'habitat' artworks, which function as catalysts for social as well as environmental change.

MRAP activities have included engagement with primary and secondary students from local schools within the region. By engaging school students, the project seeks to raise further awareness to the environmental challenges facing the region and explore ways in which art can play a meaningful role in shifting attitudes, engendering empathy and pragmatically and creatively responding to specific problems.

To date the project has achieved remarkable support from the local community and industry partners. Following initial discussions and site-visits with MONA in 2014, in 2015 a series of four design proposals were produced and presented to the local community in partnership with Greening Australia (GA) as part of a consultation / information day, organised with dedicated sessions for local school children and the wider community.

In 2016 the pilot habitat artworks will be constructed and installed within the region.