The funders’ view


Why do funders want to see findings communicated beyond the research community?

'We hope to bring about change and to do that we need to put good evidence into the right hands. It’s all about impact.'

Darshan Patel, Senior Research Manager, the Health Foundation

The driver for communicating findings beyond the academic and research community is impact. Researchers and funders both want to drive positive change. Research can bring greater evidence or insight to policy, practitioner and public audiences; funders want researchers to demonstrate that they can target and engage those audiences in their findings.

As a secondary factor, the Research Excellence Framework requires academic institutions to demonstrate how their research activities achieve wider impact – that is, an effect on, change to, or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond academia.

'We know that the most beautifully conducted research does not automatically lead to changes in practice or policy. Funders feel a strong obligation to get the best value from the awards they make and that means having robust plans for how you will communicate those findings to the audiences that matter most.'

Dr Natalie Armstrong, Professor of Healthcare Improvement Research (with several years’ service on funding panels assessing health-related research applications)

What are funders looking for in research communications?

Funders have identified the following as communications approaches that they would like to see reflected more in funding applications and research communications.

'We do not expect researchers to be able to communicate with everyone, all the time. However, knowing who your audiences are will help when planning a communications strategy. It will also make implementation of your dissemination strategy quicker and more impactful.'

Neha Issar-Brown, Programme Manager (Population and Systems Medicine Board), Medical Research Council

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