Harnessing specific mechanisms to ensure a two-way flow of knowledge, skills and new ideas will underpin KE as your programme progresses:
- Programme events Create a ‘community’ of researchers and stakeholders by organising regular events that build relationships and aid information-sharing and the creation of new knowledge together. Ensuring that the same people consistently attend these events will help facilitate this process. When planning an event, make sure you understand what will make participants feel comfortable, secure and creative, what will reinforce their trust in the process and how you can deliver an environment where ideas can be challenged constructively.
- Targeted workshops Well-focused workshops can provide the perfect medium for sharing key information with stakeholders – for example, where there is a clear policy question or an industrial issue on which your programme has produced significant new evidence. Keep workshops (and meetings in general) as small as possible; where larger workshops are unavoidable, ensure plenty of the work is done by small groups of participants.
- Good facilitation Employing a professional facilitator (or a member of your team who has undertaken recognised facilitation training) can maximise a workshop’s usefulness.
- Town meetings Town meetings and similar forums can be used to help you build collaborations not only with users/stakeholders but also with other researchers.
- Informal interaction During formal meetings, create opportunities for researchers and users/stakeholders to interact less formally as well – for example, by ensuring that breaks are long enough, by including activities where people can work together in small groups or perhaps by engineering opportunities for those involved to talk with each other en route to a project site etc.
- ‘Remote’ contact Harness technologies and media such as Skype, video/teleconferencing, social networking and secure shared websites to provide forums for ongoing, low-cost interaction with research users and other stakeholders, in order to supplement regular face-to-face meetings. This is especially important when dealing with organisations/individuals located in other countries.
- Making connections through LWEC Collaborating with other LWEC activities as well as across projects in an individual programme can enable significant findings and important information to be shared more widely.
- Harnessing LWEC Use LWEC events, LWEC Fellows and the LWEC website to share good practice in KE with users/stakeholders and with other researchers. Make the most of communication materials and training packages produced by LWEC Partners to help you convey your scientific findings to policy-makers.
- Trade journals and specialist media Trade journals and a whole range of non-mainstream media potentially provide a useful channel for conveying information to industry, so developing contacts and building links with such publications can be a good investment of your time.
- Non-written outputs Demonstrate new techniques, decision-support tools and other non-written research outputs by taking them direct to potential users or showcasing them at appropriate events.