Our work with researchers in the early stages of their career can help to:
- encourage links with policymakers and practitioners
- broaden understanding of the research landscape
- enhance professional development
- develop expertise in realising pathways to impacts.
This supports EPSRC’s aim to develop the research leaders of the future and to enhance the overall impact of research.
ECR knowledge exchange skills development
We run a series of events to bring together early career researchers in the built environment and infrastructure sectors. These help to enhance their professional skills and develop their expertise in maximising the impact of their research.
Events include face-to-face workshops, webinars and on-line opportunities to share expertise and knowledge. The first two workshops focus on strengthening knowledge exchange skills and are an opportunity for networking with fellow scientists working in similar areas.
Participants are encouraged to get involved in the whole series of events, where possible.
Find out more about our previous workshops:
- Stakeholder engagement to achieve impact
- Achieving impact through stakeholder-focused proposals
- Devising a successful proposal
- Engaging stakeholders
- Engaging policymakers
- Making research useful
Stakeholder engagement to achieve impact
To enhance the uptake, use and impact of their work, researchers must be able to identify and engage with stakeholders in policy, practice and academic communities. The nature of this engagement may vary from keeping in touch with developments to complex co-production of outputs, but it is generally agreed that engagement, initiated early and sustained throughout the overall research process, ensures expertise on both sides is used to deliver useful outputs in a timely manner.
Our workshop explored various approaches to stakeholder engagement, including identifying key players, considering the initial approach and the co-development and use of final outputs. Discussions and practical challenges allowed participants to build on their own expertise and to put the concepts being explored into practice.We welcomed contributions from EPSRC and stakeholders experts who shared their perspectives on successful engagement to achieve impact.
- Collaboration for transformation – experiences for effective stakeholder engagement, Kit England, Climate Ready Clyde (pdf, 10.3 MB)
- Linking early-stage research with exploitation and creation of impact, Jakob Sprickerhof, EPSRC (pdf, 1.1 MB)
- Stakeholder’s ‘taster’ menu (choice of methodology), Michael Crilly, Studio UrbanArea (pdf, 78.9 MB)
- Having impact, Nicola O’Connor, Mandarin Research Limited (pdf, 4.5 MB)
- Stakeholder mapping key points (pdf, 240 KB)
- Stakeholder engagement strategy checklist (pdf, 230 KB)
- Agenda, participants and research areas (pdf, 250 KB)
Achieving impact through stakeholder-focused proposals
Identifying the potential impact of research and understanding how to achieve this impact are key skills needed by researchers to help realise the benefits of their work. To be successful, proposals must demonstrate both the potential to deliver high quality, innovative science in a manner that can be used by research, policy and practice communities, and the ability to promote the understanding and uptake of new evidence and knowledge as it emerges.
This workshop focused on strengthening the impact pathways across a range of research proposal types; from large grant proposals to small impact accelerator-type awards. The various elements of devising a strong impact section – from identifying and approaching key stakeholders, developing engagement strategies, and considering appropriate knowledge exchange mechanisms – were explored, together with integration into the full proposal and how to approach the review and interview stages.
We welcomed expert contributions from EPSRC, Policy Connect, and successful research fellows.
- EPSRC and impact David Holtum (pdf, 4.9 MB)
- Top tips Briony Turner (pdf, 1.9 MB)
- Approaching the review process and panel interview Roger Street (pdf, 1.6 MB)
- So what – an opportunity Briony Turner (pdf, 7.8 MB)
- Workshop 4 summary (pdf, 1.5 MB)
Policy Connect work to inform and improve UK public policy, for which they need accessible and relevant information in a concise and useable format. In return, they partner with researchers, help spin out findings and suggest new contacts across the policy landscape.
Devising a successful proposal
EPSRC are committed to supporting the next generation of research leaders, and there are various funding mechanisms available to support ECRs in developing their own research.
This workshop explored the various elements of devising strong and comprehensive proposals from considering the initial approach and identifying key players through to planning the outline and full proposals, and how to approach the review and interview stage.
Devising a successful proposal details presentations and further information from the session.
This workshop explored various approaches, from identifying the main players through to the communication and use of final outputs.
Engaging with those elusive stakeholders captures presentations and creative thinking from the day in an online format.
The residential event ran from lunchtime to lunchtime to allow for in-depth discussions and networking opportunities. It included facilitated sessions and discussions and practical challenges to allow participants to build on their own expertise and put the concepts into practice.
Hosted by Tom Sutton, who works on infrastructure resilience in the Cabinet Office. Tom reflected on his experience as a policy advisor to provide insight into how research and evidence can be used in decision-making, and offer advice on how researchers can work with policymakers.
Our blog – Look, over here! – examines the main messages from the day.
When we went in [to the ECR event], we were seeing research from our perspective. When we came out of it, I felt like we saw it from a perspective of government, of industry, people who were looking at it…
Making research useful
- Making research useful: knowing your audience presentation (pdf, 1.2 MB)
- Recording of Making research useful webinar (you may be asked to install software to run the recording)
Jonathan Breckon from the Alliance for Useful Evidence explored the role of good communications in ensuring that research has influence and practical impact. Reflecting on experience and drawing on lessons learnt from the social sciences, he demonstrated how evidence, working with stakeholders and addressing the right questions can have impact beyond the research community.
- James Painter, Reuters Institute, Oxford: Communicating Climate Change in the Media (pdf, 9.2 MB)
- Adam Corner, COIN: Experiencing the impacts of climate change… or climate silence? (pdf, 900 KB)
- Chris White, EPSRC: An EPSRC perspective: the value of KE skills, maximising impact, ECR opportunities (pdf, 900 KB)
- Communications options notes (pdf, 7.3 MB)
- Understanding your audience notes (pdf, 5.9 MB)