Successful delivery of the operational model for Australia’s new national Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR) involved a unique collaboration between Flinders University and Wells Advisory.
Establishment of an Aged Care CGTR was identified as a key strategic action in a 2018 report on Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy, as a means of translating research into best practice in order to drive meaningful and systemic changes in the aged care sector. The Commonwealth government committed $34 million in funding for the Centre in 2019 and the tender for Stage 1 – development of an effective operational model for the centre – was awarded in 2020 to a consortium led by Flinders University and Wells Advisory.
Development of the model required shared contributions and responsibility from both Wells Advisory and Flinders University throughout Stage 1 of the project, with key individuals from both organisations collaborating closely as a blended team.
“It was a true partnership – both partners were able to contribute the very best of what they do,” says Dr Guy Edwards, Wells Advisory’s practice lead, Strategy and Planning. “This gave us the flexibility and pragmatism of a consulting approach without some of the formality of the ‘expert’ model more common in consulting firms, which in practice often lacks genuine depth.”
Wells Advisory’s commercialisation perspective and experience helped the university conceptualise its expertise and know-how – including its research and industry partnerships – as a unique resource with real commercial value.
“It was important we recognise that a lot of what the Aged Care CGTR will produce and deliver for the aged care sector will be based not on new research but on knowledge and expertise that already exists within Flinders,” explains Dr Edwards.
“We helped Flinders think of its aged care research knowledge and expertise – and its networks and connections in the sector – as a commercially valuable property in and of itself.”
Drawing on the experience of its team of consultants and advisors, Wells Advisory is able to bring a more sophisticated, “shared value” economic approach to research commercialisation, involving not only costing research inputs but also valuing the outcomes of research when translated and applied in the marketplace.
“Our approach is to help research leaders view their ideas and expertise as commercially valuable and, even more importantly, to identify the ways in which that commercial value can be realised,” says Dr Edwards.
“Leadership in commercialisation is about recognising the commercial value of existing knowledge and resources, not just speculating on the potential of future inventions.”
The underlying question, Dr Edwards says, is one that all research institutions can – and should – be asking: “How do we take the things we already know about and realise their true commercial value?”