ASPA 2022 Scaling-Up Physical Activity SIG Session

Is soft infrastructure the missing link for successful scale-up?

Tuesday 29th November 1350 – 1450 hours

Traditional approaches to scale-up are pretty strict about what needs to be done. But research examining the success behind Australia’s largest ever scale up of an obesity program in schools and childcare centres shows that “loose implementation” may work best. Not just because it allows adaptation to context, but practitioners can help to nurture the foundational “soft infrastructure” needed: e.g., hope, trust, relationships, self-efficacy, identity and initiative. We can legitimatise and support this type of work, rather than let practitioners feel they must act in secret.

Chairs: Dr Harriet Koorts & Dr Sarah Kennedy


  • Emeritus Professor Penny Hawe is a former health promotion practitioner. She became a researcher to see if she could create stronger methods and evidence to capture the effects of health promotion programs. In Australia, she pioneered work in health promotion evaluation. From 2000 to 2013, while based in Canada, she was one of the founders of the Population Health Intervention Research Initiative for Canada (PHIRIC), a 10-year transformative training and research strategy by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and practice and policy based-partners. PHIRIC was set up to increase investment in and evaluation of interventions which aim to change population norms. Penny’s main work uses complex system science to better understand and strengthen change processes in organisations and communities. Most recently she has been researching program adaptation, implementation, and funding processes with colleagues at the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre.

Register for the conference

In-person registrations close 14 November 2022

Virtual registrations close 24 November 2022