Research Engagement and ImpactBe Your Best for Impact
Research can not only engage directly with a community, but can then impact beyond the immediate academic research outputs to society in general. The Australian Research Council (ARC) defines Impact as: ‘research impact is the contribution that research makes to economy, society and environment, beyond the contribution to academic research’ in their guidelines for the ARC Pilot Engagement Study.(1) In our continuing series on the upcoming Excellence in Research Australia round, we now look at what impact research at Flinders has had, starting with the Flinders-Panthers Be Your Best Program.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists a lack of physical activity as one of the 10 leading risk factors for premature death worldwide. Figures presented in January 2015 by the WHO provide the frightening statistic that one in four adults is not active enough. The effects of insufficient physical activity include heightening the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
To further compound the problem, epidemiological research in Australia shows insufficient physical activity is often found in communities in low-socioeconomic areas where its effects are heightened by poor nutrition. Both physical activity and poor nutrition are major modifiable risk factors in the reduction of a number of chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Research conducted by Professor Murray Drummond and the SHAPE (Sport, Health and Physical Education) team at Flinders University in partnership with a popular local sporting club, has designed and tested an innovative health project with schools in the local area to assist in modifying behaviours in young Australians and thereby promoting healthier choices.
The effects of engaging in increased physical activity for children go beyond the health outcomes listed for adults. Children and adolescents who undertake regular physical activity and enjoy good nutrition show greater personal responsibility and improved group cooperation than those who did not. Research conducted by Flinders SHAPE Centre showed child-focussed programs to enhance physical activity and improved nutrition were more successful when these activities were associated with inspirational individuals within a child’s community. So they set out to use this research to improve lives.
The Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program was designed to build on healthy living messages already in place at schools by regularly bringing fruit and vegetables, fun activities and local sports heroes (Panthers footballers) into the children’s school environment to promote physical activity and good nutrition as positive lifestyle choices. Run by University students together with Panthers footballers, the program enjoyed phenomenal success with the children and their communities. School principals hosting the initiative were excited by the response it received from both the students themselves and the parents and teachers supporting them. Working with the footballers gave the program a degree of ‘cool’ that working with teachers and parents did not have. The Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program had a different role from regular school lessons, namely the promotion of key lifestyle concepts with positive reinforcement. In that way the children could engage with role models on a peer-to-peer basis rather than in a teacher-student way. These interactions inspired the children to a healthier lifestyle because it was something they had seen someone they admired doing, and that being healthy was ‘cool’.
"In terms of academic impact this research has resulted in a number of important research papers and international book chapters that will be accessed by scholars around the world to emulate the program in their own unique settings. From a practical and ‘real life' perspective we have impacted the lives of several hundred children by changing attitudes and behaviours associated with physical activity and nutrition in regions where these aspects of health are poorest. Through sport, and by utilising sport and PE students as agents of change, we have also played a role in promoting children's awareness in these low socioeconomic localities that university is a ‘cool’ place to be. The potential to be interrupt the cycle of education attrition is a real prospect for families where higher education is not a high priority," said Murray.
In addition to the predicted outcomes of the program, working with University students had unforeseen positive consequences for the children involved. All schools involved in the initiative are located in low socio-economic areas with few positive career and educational opportunities. By giving the children regular and positive contact with University students from similar backgrounds, the idea that there was more to life than school and possible unemployment was invigorating to the participants. Teachers reported that students engaged with the program expressed significantly increased interest in attending high school and seeking tertiary education as a direct result of engaging with the Flinders students in the Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program.
By connecting children with accessible sporting role models in an environment focused on healthy lifestyle choices, the Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program has been a great success. SHAPE director, Murray, is working with the South Australian National Football League to expand the program into additional schools and working with additional football clubs in the future to bring the impact of the program to a greater part of the society.
(1) ARC Pilot Study overview information - http://www.arc.gov.au/ei-pilot-overview
More posts in "Research Engagement and Impact" series:
- (13 Dec 2018) ECR Spotlight - Dr Ben Lewis
- (29 Nov 2018) Impact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs – Dr David Smith
- (29 Nov 2018) Research Roundup - 29 November 2018
- (15 Nov 2018) Impact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs – Dr Lua Perimal-Lewis
- (14 Nov 2018) Research Roundup - 15 November 2018
- (01 Nov 2018) Flinders research from an undergraduate class to a record breaking swim attempt
- (01 Nov 2018) Research Roundup - 1 November 2018
- (31 Oct 2018) ECR Spotlight - Dr Bev Rogers
- (31 Oct 2018) Flinders researchers trip to Germany on bringing science to market
- (18 Oct 2018) Melbourne and Canberra fellowships advance research and leadership skills for Flinders researcher
- (18 Oct 2018) Impact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs - Dr Linlin Ma
- (18 Oct 2018) Research Roundup - 18 October 2018
- (04 Oct 2018) How can Australian innovation create new industries and jobs?
- (04 Oct 2018) Research Roundup - 4 October 2018
- (27 Sep 2018) Saving Nemo at Ngeringa Winery
- (20 Sep 2018) Assisting the UN and developing nations on how to measure wellbeing
- (20 Sep 2018) Equity Hub to assist translating research into change
- (06 Sep 2018) Steps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering
- (23 Aug 2018) Finding the invisible traces
- (09 Aug 2018) Diving in Deep to strengthen links with UNESCO members
- (09 Aug 2018) Impact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs
- (09 Aug 2018) Older Adults engaging for a better quality of life
- (08 Aug 2018) The scientist’s guide to a successful career in academia
- (27 Jul 2018) Flinders aiming to lead the blueeconomy
- (27 Jul 2018) Can you have a conversation with a computer?
- (12 Jul 2018) Flinders linking with arts and culture to explore their real value
- (12 Jul 2018) WHO internship for Flinders researcher
- (28 Jun 2018) Flinders linkage grants success
- (28 Jun 2018) Flinders’ led project top in Radiation Research
- (18 Jun 2018) Nothing going to waste - Flinders NIH Success
- (18 Jun 2018) ECR Spotlight - In Conversation with Dr Sam Elliott
- (29 May 2018) Flinders leading the reviews to improve remote health
- (17 May 2018) Generating conversation through The Conversation
- (15 May 2018) ECR Spotlight - Dr Ashok Manoharan 2018
- (03 May 2018) Flinders’ Archaeologist off to Cambridge for a year
- (26 Mar 2018) New chapter of Indigenous history told through food
- (08 Mar 2018) Flinders linking with Indigenous groups to explore aspects of colonial Australia
- (22 Feb 2018) ECR Spotlight - Ian Moffat
- (21 Feb 2018) Flinders working to Beat Cancer
- (25 Jan 2018) Why are little penguins declining?
- (25 Jan 2018) Scimex - Register now to be a part of breaking news
- (24 Jan 2018) ECR Spotlight - Alice Clement
- (21 Dec 2017) A Flinders first - automated launch and recovery for autonomous underwater vessels
- (13 Dec 2017) 2017 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers
- (11 Dec 2017) ECR Spotlight - Vishnu KK Nair
- (06 Dec 2017) NHMRC success for Flinders
- (24 Nov 2017) Aiming to improve the health, education and wellbeing of children
- (17 Nov 2017) Accelerating the Interplay Wellbeing Framework
- (16 Nov 2017) 2018 Visiting International Research Fellows to Flinders
- (15 Nov 2017) ECR Spotlight - Ashokkumar Manoharan
- (15 Nov 2017) 2018 Flinders Endeavour Scholars and Fellows announced
- (14 Nov 2017) Time to Bragg about science writing
- (10 Nov 2017) Flinders Forensic Science cleans up at Awards
- (10 Nov 2017) Flinders successes in the recent ARC grant round
- (30 Oct 2017) Students Present Around the World
- (20 Oct 2017) Over $8 Million to Flinders from the National Palliative Care round
- (19 Oct 2017) ECR Spotlight - Sam Schultz
- (17 Oct 2017) Flinders' Fresh Scientists in the Pub
- (11 Oct 2017) Indigenous knowledge, not just for Indigenous communities
- (06 Oct 2017) Leading Drug and Alcohol researchers at Flinders’ NCETA secure $1.7 million in funding
- (05 Oct 2017) ECR Spotlight - Margaret Shanafield
- (28 Sep 2017) Our Distinguished Geographer
- (07 Sep 2017) ECR Spotlight - George Karpetis
- (01 Sep 2017) Eureka! Prize for blood test for bowel cancer recurrence
- (22 Aug 2017) Different environments, different DNA, different dolphins?
- (17 Aug 2017) ECR Spotlight - Dr Harriet Whiley
- (03 Aug 2017) ECR Spotlight - Giselle Rampersad
- (17 Jul 2017) Time to Scope your research - FAST
- (17 Jul 2017) Time to Scope your research - Hoverflies
- (13 Jul 2017) Tips from a first time interviewee
- (12 Jul 2017) Saving Nemo at the Star of Greece
- (07 Jul 2017) Invasion of the European crabs
- (20 Jun 2017) Fossil finds bring Australia's evolutionary history to life
- (07 Jun 2017) Peer Prize up for grabs
- (02 Jun 2017) Tracking the marine ecosystems in South Australia
- (29 May 2017) Be Your Best for Impact
- (18 May 2017) Aiming to catch criminals as never before
- (05 May 2017) Excavating with and in a Community
- (29 Apr 2017) What does engagement look like? Community-initiated research.
- (24 Apr 2017) Planning for one of the world’s youngest nations
- (07 Apr 2017) Pitching ON tasty seaweed jelly
- (29 Mar 2017) Best and Brightest for Hearts
- (27 Mar 2017) The Best Student Publications - Flinders 2016 edition
- (16 Mar 2017) From workshop to book - Underwater archaeology and 3D
- (21 Dec 2016) Recent Funding Success
- (21 Dec 2016) Research Impact - Point of Care Testing
- (21 Dec 2016) New ARC College of Experts
- (20 Dec 2016) Flinders Celebrates - 2016 Research Successes
- (19 Dec 2016) Vice-Chancellor Awards for Research Excellence
- (19 Dec 2016) Cardiology, Mental Health Projects among NHMRC Grant Success