Preparation of a KE strategy should include estimation of the associated costs and decisions on what funding should be reserved at programme and at project level.
NERC, for example, suggests that at least 5% of programme budget should be reserved for KE. This funding is over and above what will be awarded via individual project ‘pathways to impact’ plans. For some programmes, though, and especially those with a significant ‘applied’ element, a considerably larger percentage may be appropriate. When calculating the level of funding needed, it's vital not to underestimate the time and effort required for engaging with stakeholders and relationship-building. DFID suggests 10%.
Activities to be covered by the KE budget may include:
- staff time to manage activities and undertake the roles of knowledge brokers and co-ordinators;
- running of workshops and other networking events to facilitate connections between researchers and research users and to enable the communication of research needs, interpretation of research results etc.;
- developing and actively maintaining communication channels such as websites, blogs, regular briefing sessions etc.;
- staff exchange schemes between research teams and user organisations;
- staff mentoring schemes where those that have previously managed KE projects act as mentors for those with less experience;
- integration and interpretation of research across projects and programmes to answer cross-cutting user needs;
- preparation of reports, briefing notes etc. aimed at specific user groups and couched in appropriate language.