Why is KE important?
Both academics and research users can benefit through sharing knowledge, skills and experience. Successful KE helps researchers to influence policy and practice and helps shape the research agenda by raising awareness of where there is a need for new knowledge, processes, products and methods of delivery. Similarly, research users in business, government and the voluntary sector can benefit from resulting innovation and associated improvements to the quality of outputs or production efficiency.
The UK has a strong science base, but performs less well in capitalising on new research to generate innovation. Effective KE is vital in ensuring research is translated into policy and practice. As a funding body, the ESRC spends over £211 million a year on research, training and knowledge exchange. We want to ensure that our funded research is not only of the highest quality, but also has a positive impact on society. KE is therefore fundamental to the way we work.
However good your research, there is little point in doing it if nobody knows about it. If your research is to make a difference to policy or practice it must be accessible to potential users and other interested parties. Thinking about who these might be and how to actively engage with them through the lifespan of your research will help you to:
- Gain a better understanding of the needs of potential users, their expertise and their perspectives on your chosen topics
- Inform and improve the quality and focus of your research
- Gain valuable new skills
- Increase the prospects of your research being applied
- Enhance your reputation
- Open up opportunities for joint funding
- Increase opportunities for further research funding and career opportunities
Next step, carrying out KE.