Translational Research is research which has, as its prime focus, linking theory and research findings to applications in practice. The concept of translational research applies in all disciplines but is most developed at the current time in the medical sector. Emerging practice from medicine and education is helping to refine methods and forms of publication see for example the MESH system – Mapping Educational Specialist knowHow www.meshguides.org and the parallel and better developed National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence knowledge pathways wwww.pathways.nice.org.uk.
Not all researchers are able to translate their research into applications in practice because they are not experienced practitioners in the field in which their research may apply. Take for example, research on water purification. The findings my be relevant to policy makers and to teachers at all levels in all schools and specifically science teachers. For the pure research to be usable in classroom teaching or by policy makers, a ‘translation’ process is needed addressing the questions: What does this mean in practice? How strong is the evidence for application x in context y. Emerging practice is that this can be most efficiently done by bringing research users with the researchers together, face to face or virtually, to work on the translation and the application.