Develop a detailed, well-tailored KE plan that can deliver your goals and is fully embedded within the overall research programme:
- Strategy formulation Devise an overarching KE strategy that will be monitored and reported on alongside other aspects of programme planning and management. Putting in place such a strategy will create clear expectations in terms of what the minimum KE requirements are, with respect to user engagement, dissemination mechanisms etc. For activities funded by the Research Councils, a KE strategy will help to direct, inform and facilitate individual projects’ ‘pathways to impact’ plans.
- Resource allocation For an average research programme, allocate a minimum of 5% of overall funds to KE and continue to explore opportunities to secure additional funding for KE activities.
- Co-design Encouraging stakeholder advice and input on the design of your programme, either at the outset or at appropriate points during its course, will help ensure not just that the eventual findings will be of real-world benefit but also that they are conveyed in a manner most likely to encourage take-up.
- Sandpits Forums such as 'sandpits' can be used to help build collaborations with users/stakeholders and other researchers in the co-design of new research programmes.
- Building-in flexibility Wherever possible, design KE plans so that they incorporate the flexibility to adjust to emerging needs and priorities of research users and other stakeholders, as well as to changing circumstances. Splitting funding across different phases of a programme can help you respond better to evolving KE needs.
- Reserve budget If possible, keep some resource in reserve so that you can respond to any new questions and needs that emerge as engagement with users/stakeholders continues. For instance, there may be an urgent and unforeseen need to interpret and communicate new knowledge generated by your research. Having adequate resources available will help incentivise your researchers to do this.
- Thinking innovatively Do not be afraid to experiment with novel approaches to KE – this can be vital in enabling your research to stand out from the crowd and appeal to new audiences. However, when developing your plan, it is essential to take into account the funding you have available as well as the likely preferences of the stakeholders you are engaging with.