New guidelines to enhance researchers’ knowledge exchange activities have been launched by Living with Environmental Change (LWEC), the cross-Research Council and Government partnership. Launched at the first LWEC annual conference, in Birmingham, the guidelines will be complemented by two training courses aiming to improve researchers’ understanding of how to run successful knowledge exchange programmes.
‘Knowledge Exchange’ (KE) refers to the exchange of information, people, ideas and expertise between researchers and research users. The users of research could be policy-makers, businesses or members of the public. According to LWEC, the overall aim of KE is to ‘maximise and accelerate research impact’.
The new guidelines are not meant to be prescriptive but instead to ‘inform and inspire’ researchers with tips, ideas and suggestions for how KE can be made most effective.
There are eight elements to the guidelines:
1. Target: Develop a clear idea of what you need to achieve in terms of KE amd put in place an appropriate structure to realise your aims.
2. Design: Develop a detailed, well-tailored KE plan to deliver your goals and embed this within the overall research programme.
3. Engage: Find ways of establishing dialogue, build relationships, develop collaborations and create a culture of trust and shared purpose with potential research users and other stakeholders.
4. Facilitate: Look for and take advantage of opportunities to assist and strengthen stakeholder engagement and involvement and to enhance the whole KE process.
5. Share: Harness specific mechanisms to ensure a two-way flow of knowledge, skills and ideas to underpin knowledge exchange as your programme progresses.
6. Impact: Focus on delivering tangible results of real value to as many of your programme’s research users and stakeholders as possible.
7. Sustain: Take measures to ensure engagement and impact can be sustained beyond the life of the immediate research programme or project.
8. Evaluate: Monitor your KE activities and impact. Learn lessons from your experiences and use these to refine future programmes and projects.
A one and a three-day training course will be offered, facilitated by Dr Mark Reed, Dr Anna Evely and Dialogue Matters, an independent training provider. Registration is open now via http://www.sustainable-learning.org/training.