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Embedding industry engagement and collaboration skills: the Trek Program

About The Trek Program

The Trek Program is a hands-on, multi-week experiential learning program delivered on-line, with a strong emphasis on peer coaching.  The Trek Program gives impact-focused researchers a structured methodology to discover and validate the potential real-world impact of their research. It builds researchers’ skills and habits to extend investigator-led, curiosity-driven research into end-user/consumer-led research. 

Who is the Trek Program for?  The Trek Program is for researchers in any field who want to embed their industry engagement and collaboration skills, validate the impact potential of their project, and build collaboration with industry, community, or government  partners.  It’s primarily aimed at individual early to mid-career researchers, but it's valuable for researchers at any stage of their career who want to hone their craft in creating impact with their research. 

What will I learn?  


The Trek Program builds on the Base Program, and equips you with:

  • Frameworks and communication skills to rapidly test and refine the value of your research to stakeholders.

  • Relationship building and stakeholder management skills including tools to develop and execute targeted engagement plans.

The Trek Program helps you become adept in the use of the tools and frameworks introduced in Base Program, and also introduces new tools and frameworks including:

  • Problem and customer/stakeholder discovery: identify your most important assumption about the value of your research to stakeholders, and formulate these assumptions in a way that is clearly testable.  

  • Ecosystem map: develop a comprehensive understanding of the sector and stakeholders in the “industry” into which your research is likely to be adopted or translated.  Who cares most about the problem your research aims to solve?  What drives the adoption of innovation in this sector?

  • Early adopters: of all the people whose problems your research might solve, who will you engage with first?  What type of engagement will this be?  

In the Trek Program, you’ll learn about these tools and get hands-on experience applying them to your research project and talking to real stakeholders.  

Time commitment 

The Trek Program runs over eight weeks.  It involves participation in online cohort-based peer coaching sessions, completion of self-paced online modules, and conducting discovery conversations with external stakeholders.  At the conclusion of the Trek Program, each participant presents their research impact vision and the insights they have gained during the program at an online “showcase” event.  The total time commitment is approximately 30 hours over the eight weeks.



Trek Program participation typically leads to one or more of these outcomes for your research project: 

  • Clearer articulation of your impact vision as a researcher.

  • Broader support for your research and its impact goals from your Centre or university.

  • Input to and validation from research end-users or collaborators on the impact statement for a research project proposal - to increase the competitiveness of research funding applications.

  • Development of an action plan to build engagement with high-potential new industry, government, and/or community partners.

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