Reflecting the ACIAR 10-Year Strategy 2018–2027 and its 6 strategic objectives, the Outreach Program is designed to communicate the work of ACIAR to audiences, both in Australia and overseas.
The objectives of the ACIAR Outreach Program are to:
- communicate the value and impact of our work, and increase our reputation as a trusted and valued partner
- build closer, more effective working relationships with our partners and other stakeholders
- support the communication needs of our Country Offices, with an emphasis on detailing research results and outcomes achieved at a regional and country level.
In 2021–22, comprehensive and coordinated strategies and plans, programs and projects will be developed and/or implemented to achieve these objectives. This work will include:
- developing an integrated campaign-oriented content strategy, including segmenting our messaging to key target audiences
- identifying opportunities to further engage with stakeholders, including leveraging the profile and networks of the members of the Commission for International Agricultural Research
- continuing to improve the user experience of our website, including developing a more dynamic blog format and a dedicated page for key thematic areas
- developing an online catalogue of scientific publications and enhancing online ordering
- building our In-Country Communication Officer Network to increase our reach and continue to communicate actively and effectively in-country and in our regions.
Work will continue on implementing domestic and international stakeholder engagement strategies to ensure we take a strategic approach to improving awareness and detailed understanding of ACIAR among specific stakeholder groups.
In 2021–22, the stakeholder engagement strategy will:
- increase engagement with Australian stakeholders, including their awareness and understanding of the ACIAR value proposition with information specifically targeted to a domestic audience
- strengthen relationships with international stakeholder organisations to establish productive partnerships, collaborations and co-delivered initiatives
- identify opportunities to leverage the profile and networks of members of the Commission for International Agricultural Research to raise awareness of and advocate for ACIAR
- continue to position ACIAR to help deliver on our 10-year strategy.
We will continue to participate in key sector events both in person and online to share the results of our research with a highly targeted audience.
Another significant event for ACIAR will be hosting the CGIAR System Council meeting in Australia. While the timing is likely to be November 2022, planning will be underway throughout 2021–22 to provide a series of opportunities for international delegates that demonstrate Australian leadership in agricultural innovation.
40 years of ACIAR
During 2021–22 the Outreach Program will leverage our 40-year anniversary to communicate our achievements and impact in a variety of forums. This will include producing 2 key publications: an impact assessment and a history of ACIAR that highlights achievements and partnerships through case studies and interviews. The Crawford Fund will also update its signature publication, Doing Well by Doing Good, that outlines the value of international agricultural research both in developing countries and in Australia.
A series of stakeholder events and a social media campaign, including video and photography, will be delivered throughout the year under the 40-year anniversary banner. A special edition of Partners magazine will also be produced.
The ACIAR website has undergone significant redevelopment in the past 3 years. User experience is now much improved on project, program, country and regional pages, and the search function is also much improved. During 2021–22, there will be further development of the website to increase usability, provide richer content and improve reach to our audiences.
New page templates will be created for a more dynamic liquid design news-style blog incorporating data visualisation and video content, along with more dynamic bespoke pages created for our key thematic areas, including Climate, Gender, Nutrition, Capacity Building and Measuring our Impact.
At the same time, the Google analytics and search engine optimisation of the website has been reviewed and audited, with work commencing on the recommendations to ensure it improves our site visibility and increases our organic traffic.
Growing from 20,000 followers in 2017 to an audience of nearly 90,000 in 2021, our social media channels are key communication tools. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, we can reinforce the impact of ACIAR-funded research to an engaged audience. During 2020–21 we audited our social media channels to develop a deeper understanding of the different audiences following ACIAR on each platform. In 2021–22, we will use this knowledge to create a digital playbook for each channel to ensure more targeted content and segmenting of our messaging to key audiences.
Digital content production will continue, with an emphasis on short-form video, photography and infographics.
A network of science, agriculture and development sector digital influencers will also be developed to amplify our voice and increase reach and engagement with our digital content.
Publications, including annual corporate reports, are an essential part of our outreach and communication work. Publications contribute to ensuring audiences in Australia and our partner countries can access and use our research findings.
The Scientific Publications Committee continues to ensure the quality and relevance of ACIAR scientific publications, so that our scientific and research partners are better served with improved review processes and more timely production of research publications.
During 2021–22, we will develop an online back catalogue of ACIAR scientific publications and improve the online ordering system. We will also continuously improve our publications production and distribution program, strengthening internal production support systems and processes to manage the timely production, distribution and promotion of ACIAR publications.
Corporate publications will be published accor ding to statutory and legislative requirements, and these will be available both online and, in limited numbers, as hard copy. The Annual Operational Plan and the Annual Review are published each year, both as accessible snapshots of our plans and activities.
The production of our flagship publication, Partners in Research for Development, continues on a quarterly basis, with ongoing review of content, audiences and delivery modes.
In 2021–22 we will continue to build our network of communication professionals in our Country Offices.
Currently, there are communication officers in 5 Country Offices: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Kenya. Communication plans and activities will continue to be devised and delivered on a country or regional basis to provide ACIAR Country Offices with communication expertise, ensuring more proactive content is being produced and increasing engagement with our partners and stakeholders.
This is particularly important while international borders are closed.
We will continue to partner with media organisations, both domestically and internationally, to raise the profile of our work to a wider audience. In 2021–22, we will engage with journalists in our region online to allow for COVID-19 travel restrictions.
We will also work closely with the Crawford Fund to generate positive media coverage, especially in regional and agriculture-based media in Australia.
The Crawford Fund has developed high-school curriculum materials that profile the work of ACIAR and other international agricultural research organisations and highlight a number of key issues, including gender and food loss. These materials are part of the Crawford Fund’s Next-gen campaign, which are targeted at undergraduate and high-school students. Next-gen aims to raise awareness about careers in international agricultural research. The Crawford Fund also oversees the administration of Researchers in Agriculture for International Development, whose membership contribute and feature in the Next-gen campaign through appearances in video and at events, both in person and online.