Life Transforming Research for WA Children Gains “Momentum” With World First Innovation

WA’s leading kids medical research institute is one step ahead of its national and global counterparts with the development of an innovative and world-first technology – demonstrating how investments in research lead to real-world impact that benefits our children, their families and the wider community.

Telethon Kids Institute’s Impact Solutions Lead, Dr Tobias Schoep, explains how the organisation’s creation of Momentum Empowering Impact provides an important way to connect and continue the engagement between academia and medical research with funders, donors and other stakeholders such as consumers and community.

“Globally, there is an increasing need for researchers to demonstrate how investments into research lead to tangible, real-world impacts which benefit society,” Dr Schoep said.

“Funders and other stakeholders are becoming more sophisticated in their need to understand their return on investments into research, and researchers themselves need new ways to share evidence of how these investments help in making progress towards real-world impacts.

“So, we at Telethon Kids Institute started searching for a solution to understand and communicate the impact of research, and because we couldn’t find anything that would serve our purpose, we decided to create a novel approach ourselves.”

On Momentum Empowering Impact

Together with Ms Tara McLaren, the Institute’s Manager of Impact and Engagement, and a team of innovators, Dr Schoep created Momentum Empowering Impact – a world-first software tool which helps close the gap in understanding the impact of research projects.

In developing Momentum, the Telethon team made sure their tool would be able to provide a narrative – a story of how a research project is progressing in real time, based on evidence, and with the end goal of the project always in sight.

Importantly, good user experience interfaces and stratified dynamic reporting are utilised in Momentum so the progress narrative and data can be connected to the right people. For example, the software is developing a functionality to show how a specified amount of research donations contribute to which development or what solutions funders and donors can tangibly associate with.

“There are currently no systems which operate under the same model as Momentum,” explained Dr Schoep.

“Momentum demonstrates the impact of a given research project to the people who support and fund the work, and it helps them to better understand exactly how their support contributes to improving the lives of children with significant health challenges.

“In essence, the concepts of Momentum represent a ‘leap of thought’ to identify pathways between research evidence and real-world impact.”

Winning with Momentum

National and international interest is growing around this WA-led world first innovation, with a number of well-known organisations wanting to test the system.

Momentum’s innovation has recognised by the technology and science sectors finalist for Most Effective Infrastructure Solution at the 28th WAITTA INCITE Awards – WA’s independent and premier awards event for innovation in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, national runner up as the Infrastructure and Platforms Innovation of the Year at the iAward and last week, winner of the CSIRO Award for Excellence in Research Management Practice.

“Our long-term goal is to help research organisations and their stakeholders, including funders, to improve their strategic management of, and investment in, research – and to demonstrate Momentum’s potential outside of the medical sector, such as engineering and information technology,” said Dr Schoep.

“To achieve this, we are now talking to some of the largest system providers in the world, to show that our approach to understanding the pathway to impact is truly innovative.”

Further information on Momentum: https://www.telethonkids.org.au/projects/momentum