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  • Writer's pictureTayah Ryan

Implementation key part of research process

A kiwifruit cane with research tag
Grower supported trials is often an important part of the implementation process

The implementation of new science or knowledge is essentially the process of putting research into practice. “Making it happen” – a great passion of mine!

Great research does not necessarily equate to high industry uptake or change.

Publishing new research and extending that research through education alone is rarely enough to instigate significant change. The risk, if the process of implementation is not a key focus, is that the research is forgotten, repeated (at expense) or not applied effectively or sustainably for the end user. Instead, a multilevel approach should be considered, with relevant strategies applied. Some of the things I've noticed over time that are important for effective implementation of science outcomes in the horticultural industry include:

  • Science at its heart: An in-depth understanding of the evidence based research is imperative. I not only review the scientific literature, but engage leading growers, look at supplier funded research and relate experience in other crops or countries where relevant.

  • User centered approach: Implementation of new on-orchard practices or innovations generally involves working with early adopters. Early adopters often have strategic motivations for being involved - understanding this and modifying the way you support implementation on their orchard enhances the process and leads to more sustainable outcomes.

  • Industry specific knowledge of the context and ecosystem you are operating in.

  • Key stakeholder engagement: this is important to get right and is often overlooked.

  • Identifying the barriers to adoption and what could be done to overcome them.

  • A focus on outcome monitoring and continual improvement - good data is key!

Ultimately, every project requires a different strategy or set of strategies to effectively implement change. It's a challenging time for many in the horticultural industry. Bridging the gap between research and practice will no doubt play a major role in navigating us through those challenges.

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