A fundamental component of research is connectivity – both with other researchers and with those who will ultimately gain value from the research. Traditionally this notion has been discussed in the context of researchers disseminating their results to end-users through publishing and teaching. But the advent of technology and social media means that there are now more and better ways of connecting with people than ever before, and a core capability that researchers need to develop is how to best use the technology to improve the quality of their interactions.
At the same time research institutions are increasingly recognising the importance of each component of the overall research system. This can be described as being made up of three components: The researchers; the individuals with technical expertise in areas as diverse as ‘external relations’, ‘research management’ and information technology; and the objects and artefacts that support research (including the tools/technologies which enable and enhance connections and support research engagement). Taken together these three components make up the ‘research ecosystem’ within an institution. Where this system is working well it is possible for researchers to maximise the value of their effort and for the clients of the research to gain greater value from the investment that has been made.
Taken together these two separate dynamics (i.e. the possibilities opened up by new technologies and an expanded view of the research infrastructure) have created a context where the traditional conceptualisation of research (as an exercise in discovery, dissemination and commercialisation) has been enriched and the potential to create a true research ecosystem is now possible. This poster outlines initiatives currently in use and suggests a way forward that will potentially result in a greater level of connectivity, better scholarship and research that truly adds value to the engine of the new New Zealand.