Partner engagement

Our focus on collaborative relationships and partnerships defines much of our work. Our unique partnership across disciplines, with governments, and with industry partners with global reach is critical for the translation of our research.

The Centre supports partner engagement in co-design arrangements where our partners are core members of research activity, to design research in home and education settings, public spaces and health services. Our partners provide us with real-world intelligence and specialist skills about children’s digital technology experiences, including children’s rights and online safety. Our partners are also critical in communicating our findings and sharing stories and outcomes to the wider public.

In addition, our partners benefit from the translation of research findings to create more knowledge and united understandings across disciplines, governments, communities, and families.

We aim to work with our partners to:

  • co-design research activity and translation of outcomes
  • enable evidence-based research to inform new policy
  • provide information to inform practices and make well-informed decisions regarding the use of digital technologies at home, at school and during recreation
  • enable product development to be informed by research



In 2021, the Centre began work to establish and build on existing relationships with our partners. As the Centre undertook its planning, a survey was distributed to partners in August to better understand how and in what ways they would like to be involved with the Centre. The survey results indicated that partners were keen to be actively involved in research design and development, and provide specialist resourcing and skills. Our partners also indicated that outreach and engagement is an area that were interested in getting involved.

In 2021, the Centre also undertook initiatives to begin cultivating its relationship with partners, including:

  • initiating a Partner Newsletter to provide regular Centre updates
  • involving partners in developing key planning and strategy documents, including the Strategic Plan
  • inviting partner participation and collaboration on core projects
  • seeking partner engagement to identify research gaps
  • engaging in co-design practices to build research projects
  • inviting feedback on the survey content for the Longitudinal Family Cohort Study
  • holding an online, public-facing partner panel event to celebrate Children’s Week 2021 (read more below)

The Centre recognises that maintaining positive and open partnerships over the course of the Centre’s life builds the foundation for genuine and impactful collaborations. In addition to ongoing shared activities and collaborative enterprises, in 2022 a Partner Reference Group is being established as a formal platform for partner engagement and collaboration.

Children's Week partner panel event

To celebrate Children’s Week 2021 in October, the Centre held a public online event featuring a panel of partner representatives. Chaired by Advisory Committee Chair Taryn Marks, the panel featured Samantha Yorke (Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Australia), Kate Highfield (General Manager, Professional Learning and Research Translation, Early Childhood Australia) and Megan O’Sullivan (Statewide Operations Manager, Scitech).

The Children’s Week theme in 2021 focussed on Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child – that children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others. The panellists discussed how the pandemic and digital technology have given rise to children’s right to make their own friendships, and the implications and opportunities. More than 150 people from around the world registered to attend the event and participate in the discussion. The event was a fantastic opportunity to engage with our partners and showcase their expertise in digital childhoods.

Scitech and the Digital Child

Scitech is a science centre and children’s museum in Perth with a focus on STEM early childhood education. We are visited by more than 900,000 children and families every year who come to engage in exhibitions that inspire interactivity and creativity. Working with the Digital Child team throughout 2021 on the Digital Scitech project has been an incredible opportunity for us to focus the design and development of our exhibitions on children’s learning outcomes. This project has allowed us to add a research-based lens to our design process and use evidence to inform the design of our exhibitions. It’s also been fantastic to work with PhD students on these projects. We have enjoyed being involved in developing their research practice, and giving them an opportunity to apply their projects in a real-world setting.

William Peng, Scitech General Manager – Exhibitions & Operations

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the lands on where we gather and pay our respects to the Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits of this country.