• Class Number 1482
  • Term Code 3020
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Christopher Cvitanovic
    • Dr Christopher Cvitanovic
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 14/02/2020
  • Class End Date 16/03/2020
  • Census Date 21/02/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 21/02/2020
SELT Survey Results

Scientists around the world consistently list achieving tangible impacts on policy and practice as a core career goal - yet few have the knowledge or skillset needed for turning this into a reality. This has arisen because traditional scientific training programs rarely teach the skill set and competencies required to operate effectively at this interface. Thus, this course focuses on providing students with the theory, as well as the practical knowledge, skills and tools that are needed to operate more effectively at the science-policy-practice interface to achieve tangible impacts from their research. This will be achieved by drawing on current research from the fields of knowledge exchange and research impact, as well as the inclusion of guest lecturers from the realms of policy and practice so that students gain a first hand account of the practical ways in which they can bridge the gap between science, policy and practice.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the key principles underpinning successful knowledge exchange between environmental scientists and diverse stakeholder groups;
  2. Apply theories underpinning successful science-policy-practice interface as they relate to contemporary grand socio-ecological challenges such as climate change, population growth and biodiversity loss;
  3. Understand and apply practical strategies for building successful relationships with diverse stakeholder groups founded on trust and respect;
  4. Synthesise scientific knowledge and practices to produce a strategic research impact plan;
  5. Synthesise scientific knowledge to produce a range of engagement aides/products such as policy briefs, blogs and infographics;
  6. Evaluate the effectiveness of themselves and others at influencing environmental policy and practice.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Where an assignment is formed of a number of activities, the date range indicates the due date for the first component and the return date of the final component. Further information is provided in the assessment section of the class summary, and details are provided on the course wattle site.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This course is delivered intensively. The face-to-face component will run from Monday 17 February until Friday 21 February from 9 am to 5 pm. The course focusses on developing theoretical knowledge and practical skills and will consist of lectures, practical sessions and interactive sessions where students will be required to be present. Lectures will cover topics including, but not limited to: An introduction to politics, policy and practice. The roles of values, world-views and beliefs in decision-making. Understanding different knowledge systems, and their value in decision-making. Traits of usable environmental science. Barriers to, and enablers of, knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers. Personal attributes of scientists that achieve impacts on policy and practice. Practical sessions will include, but will not be limited to: Developing policy 'pitches' and briefs. Turning your policy 'pitch' into a blog that people want to read. Developing infographics to convey your research to diverse audiences. Using social media to build you policy and practice influence. Developing a research impact plan. Managing your on-line presence. While this course will be primarily delivered by the convener it will also include 2-3 guest lecturers from different environmental policy agencies in Canberra so that the students can hear first hand about decision-making processes. Assessment will occur both during and after the course.

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Policy Pitch 20 % 20/02/2020 26/02/2020 2,3
Infographic 15 % 26/02/2020 02/03/2020 3,5
Policy Brief 25 % 02/03/2020 09/03/2020 3,5
Research Impact Plan 40 % 09/03/2020 16/02/2020 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Class attendance and participation is not assessed in SCOM8088, however, student are strongly encouraged to attend all of the face-to-face components of the course from 17th-21st February 2020.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 20/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 26/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Policy Pitch

A key component of engaging for policy impact is the ability to translate complex scientific ideas into understandable and actionable messages. This assessment is designed to help you develop these skills, and will work in two stages.

Firstly, you will need to identify and select 3 peer-reviewed papers on a topic of your choosing. I recommend choosing recent and seminal papers on the topic (i.e. those that are attracting high numbers of citations and media attention). Then, in class you will complete a practical exercise known as ‘The Policy Box’ in relation to your chosen papers. This exercise will help you extract the key elements of a policy pitch; (i) the issue, (ii) the problem, (iii) the ‘so what’, (iv) the potential solutions and (v) the benefits. This activity will form the basis of parts (a) and (b) of the first assessment item:

  • The first assessment item will is a written summary of the policy box exercise and will be worth 10% of your overall grade. In this piece, you will summarise the five areas outline above for your chosen topic, by drawing on your key papers. The maximum length for this summary should be two pages, single-spaced, in size 12 font. When this assessment item is submitted, you must also include the three references that you drew upon in a reference list at the end of the document (not included in the two-page limit).     

  • The second part of this assessment will be an oral presentation and will also be worth 10% of the overall grade. In this assessment, you will be required to use your policy box to develop and deliver a ‘policy-pitch’ to the class. The policy pitch will be a maximum of 3 minutes, and will be completed during class on the final day of the face-to-face component. Sufficient time will be provided in class to develop, and practice, your policy pitch before the assessment. 

[Please note there are 2 activities associated with this task with individual due dates]

Part A: 11.59pm on Thursday 20th February 2020, via Turnitin.

Part B: In class on Friday 21st February 2020.

Returned: Wednesday 26th February 2020

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 26/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,5


Visual summaries can be a great way to help convey complex scientific ideas to external stakeholders, including policy makers. In the assessment, students will develop and submit an infographic summarising the key messages of their policy-pitch (i.e. a visual summary of assessment item 1). 

Due: 11.59pm on Wednesday 26th February 2020, via Turnitin.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 02/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,5

Policy Brief

Policy briefs are becoming an increasingly common tool for communicating the practical implications of research to policy-makers and other decision-makers.  They are particularly advantageous in situations whereby it is challenging to meet the policy-maker in person, or when you want to convey the implications of academic research to broad groups of policy-makers and decision-makers. 

Writing a policy brief is quite different from essay or report writing. Emphasis is placed on the clarity and succinctness of the brief, which is essential in persuading the target audience of your key message. Policy briefs aim to be practical and well-researched in order to make timely evidence-based recommendations. In doing so, a policy brief should:

  • Have a clear and specific purpose/focus, and a particular audience in mind. This could be the person making the decision, an advocacy group, or the media. It is important to keep this audience in mind when evaluating what information needs to be included in the brief. What do they know about the issue already? What new information would provide insight to the issue? The brief should be limited to one issue or problem.

  • Be practical and based on evidence - a policy brief aims to be persuasive and a big part of convincing the target audience of your key message is supporting your ideas with evidence. Evidence should be used to indicate that there is an issue with existing policy and to make recommendations.
  • Be accessible and succinct - a policy brief uses language that is familiar to the target audience in a clear and simple manner. It should also be logical and be easy to follow. The assumption should be made that the target audience does not have time to read a lot of text, so the brief should be formatted clearly with descriptive headings.
  • Include a list of references or acknowledged sources - this is so information or statistics can be found and followed up on, if necessary.

In this assessment, students will develop a policy brief in relation to their chosen topic. It will be a maximum of two A4 pages (including images and references) will size 12 font. Students can choose their own format for their policy brief (different examples of commonly used templates will be shown to you in class) but at the very least the policy brief should include the following elements:

  • Executive Summary: This section of the brief, also known as the overview, aims to provide a short summary of the brief and makes its significance (the "why") clear. It should include a description of the issue being addressed, a key message stating why the current policy needs to be revised, and any recommendations. This section is typically one to two paragraph in length.
  • Purpose: This section aims to convince the target audience of the importance of the issue being addressed and why it requires action. It usually will include a brief description of the issue, a short overview of the causes, and a clear statement of the implications as it relates to current policy. The length of this section will depend on knowledge of the target audience and complexity of the issue.
  • Critical Analysis: This section provides a discussion of the current policy being implemented, emphasising its strengths and limitations. This is where you make your case. It should be made clear what aspects of the policy needs to be changed. Include a short overview of the policy being critiqued and illustrate why this policy is inadequate. Address how different stakeholders are implicated in the issue. This will typically be the longest section since this is where the bulk of your analysis occurs (but take care not to ‘waffle’ on or give unnecessary of complex levels of detail that detract from the overall messages that you’re trying to convey). 
  • Recommendations: This section is where you detail what changes need to be made to existing policy in light of the limitations you outlined in the analysis. It will usually contain a list of practical steps or actions that need to be taken, and by whom, to address the issue. This might contain a concluding statement that reiterates the key message and suggests the significance of the proposed recommendations. 
  • Key references – references to show which ‘evidence’ you have used to inform your brief.


Due: 9am on Monday 2nd March 2020, via Turnitin

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 09/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 16/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Impact Plan

If you want your research to make an impact, you need a plan. This assessment item is designed to help you understand the key steps of research impact planning, as well as how to apply them in practice. Specially, you will develop a research impact plan for your chosen topic that consists of the following sections:

  • The identification and articulation of S.M.A.R.T goals
  • A completed stakeholder analysis in relation to your specified goals
  • The identification of specific impacts that you want/meed to achieve in order to achieve your higher levels goals; and
  • A monitoring framework to track your progress towards achieving your specified impacts.

This assessment item is the largest for the course, and accordingly an entire day (Day 4) of the class schedule has been designed to help you understand how to develop your research impact plan – and additional time will be provided on Day 5 to work on your plan and ask any remaining questions that you might have.

Overall your research plan should be no longer that 6 pages of text using no smaller than size 12 font. This includes all headings, figures, tables and references.

Due: 9 am on Monday 9th March 2020, via Turnitin

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments submitted through Turnitin will be returned through the system with electronic comments. Assignments graded in class (e.g. the oral presentation) can be collected from the convenor – please contact them directly to organise to collect.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Christopher Cvitanovic
6125 8157

Research Interests

Dr Chris Cvitanovic is an environmental social scientist working to improve the relationship between science, policy and practice to enable evidence-informed decision-making for sustainable ocean futures. In doing so Chris draws on almost ten years of experience working at the interface of science and policy for the Australian Government Department of Environment, and then as a Knowledge Broker in CSIROs Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Dr Christopher Cvitanovic

By Appointment
Dr Christopher Cvitanovic
6125 8157

Research Interests

Dr Christopher Cvitanovic

By Appointment

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