We are setting an ambitious agenda for the CRCWSC in 2018, as we strive to deliver all elements of our Strategic Plan – delivering research excellence and translating research outputs into practice innovation by our Participants, and at the same time building the foundation for a post-2021 enterprise to continue our work.
To fulfil this agenda, we will engage more with our Participants, to facilitate adoption of research outputs through joint projects, and to make curated CRCWSC outputs more accessible. We also aim to increase the CRCWSC’s international visibility, as we lay the foundation for a global reputation.
And we will direct some attention to envisaging our Tranche 3 activities – what will our value proposition be to our existing and future partners in 2021 and beyond? We plan to start a 9-month stakeholder consultation campaign to develop a vision for Tranche 3 by June 2019.
We will engage more with Participants
Our main goal remains providing an integrative environment for our Participants (research, government and industry) to deliver innovation in urban water management practices. In 2018, we will focus on fostering meaningful and fruitful engagement with our industry and government Participants, as we work to achieve this goal. We will have commenced all five Integrated Research Projects and several regional projects (which are largely initiated and funded by industry partners). All of these projects involve significant stakeholder engagement.
We expect activities that involve implementing water sensitive practices to grow significantly during 2018, both in policy work and in on-ground works. We will also provide opportunities for commercial Participants – including our SME Associates – to become more involved in research projects, and commercial national and international fee-for-service activities.
We will expand our international profile
We will establish strategic partnerships with national and international organisations, to create multiple adoption pathways for our work. We are already expanding activities under existing Sister State relationships:
- between Victoria and Jiangsu (China)
- between Western Australia and Andhra Pradesh (India).
In addition, construction of the CRCWSC-led design Sponge City Innovation Park in Kunshan (China) starts this year, as does construction of two pilot (demonstration) revitalisation sites – one in Makassar (Indonesia) and one in Suva (Fiji) – which are part of the Monash University-led water sensitive revitalisation of slums project.
We will make our research and products more accessible
Our Participants represent a diversity of sectors and each has different priorities, so we are always working to curate and appropriately adapt CRCWSC outputs to their specific needs. Our Regional Advisory Panels will play a very important role helping us ensure Tranche 1 research outputs meet participant needs.
But to some extent, the benefits for our Participants depend on their efforts to extract and contextualise CRCWSC outputs for their specific operational circumstances. We need our Participants to remain actively involved in working with us to get the most out of CRCWSC outputs.
We will need more resources
This ambitious agenda presents some resourcing challenges, for both financial resources and human resources. Our highly dedicated team is already stretched, so we will explore innovative ways to increase our capacity to meet Participants’ needs and achieve our strategic initiatives. Options for increasing our capacity include outsourcing to our commercial partners, insourcing via secondments from our partners, and recruiting specialist staff. Particularly, we want to recruit key staff who can support a cohort of emerging researchers and water sensitive practitioners, and create opportunities for them in research, research translation and consulting activities.
As well as expanding our capacity, outsourcing and insourcing arrangements with our partners creates opportunities for direct knowledge translation.
Our team will strive to fulfil our plans
Our efforts and achievements over the next 12–18 months will determine the CRCWSC’s future path. By mid-2019, we will know if we have an adequate foundation for a bold post-CRCWSC enterprise that can continue to deliver the benefits of water sensitive practices to our partners and stakeholders globally. It is an immense challenge and our mission is ambitious. But we will be bold in our endeavours.
And even if we cannot establish this ambitious social enterprise, our ‘Plan B’ is equally impressive. We will have delivered a successful Tranche 2, and created an enduring knowledge platform for our partners.
I am quietly confident we will not go to ‘Plan B’, but I want to assure all that our work will have impact and will change lives, no matter the final outcome.