Engaging with research users 


The role of engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Research ‘users’ are any people, groups, organisations or companies who may be interested in, affected by, or benefit from, your research findings.

Knowledge Exchange is a two-way exchange between researchers and research users—to share experiences, ideas, skills and eventually, findings. It refers to any process through which academics listen to others’ experiences and share their own—that is the process through which external perspectives are brought in to academia.

You may engage with different research users in different ways—such as asking how they define the problems you are interested in (and what solutions they think would work); consulting them in your research process (to ensure that you are asking the right questions); collaborating with them to co-develop your research and informing them of your research findings.

It is important to go beyond traditional modes of dissemination. Users can, and must, play active and varied role in the use and application of your research.

Building relationships with research users—and maintaining this two-way interaction with them at all stages of the research process—can help to inform and refine future research, engagement and Knowledge Exchange activities.

These relationships can also provide evidence of impact, expand the reach of your research and lead to unforeseen opportunities for future collaborations—useful for REF-type exercises, career development and future funding opportunities.

The College’s Researcher Development Programme provides a range of relevant training on Community Engagement, Business Engagement, Introduction to Policy Impact and Engaging Online.

Book a course to develop your impact knowledge and engagement skills.