Engagement, knowledge exchange and impact

Your research will only have real world impact if it reaches the right people. Engaging stakeholders within your research can improve the quality of your outputs and impact, raise your profile and develop your skills. Knowledge exchange (KE) is the two-way exchange between researchers and research users, to share ideas, research evidence, experiences and skills and can help you to increase the impact of your research. Knowledge exchange and engagement may not generate impact immediately but can be a route to impact by increasing the visibility and accessibility of your research and increasing the chances of it making a difference to the world beyond academia. Knowledge exchange can be achieved in many ways, such as public engagement, working with industry or third and public sectors and policymakers.

Public and Policy Engagement

Engaging the public with your research can improve the quality of research and its impact, raise your profile, and develop your skills. Find out more about public engagement with research from the National Coordinating Centre for Public engagement NCCPE.

"Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit." 

Engaging with policymakers can be an effective route to impact. There are a number of ways researchers can engage with policy at a local, national and international level, through for example, Government and Parliament, devolved and local government and third sector and non-governmental organisations.

Essex, alongside the Universities of York, Lancaster and Brunel, are partners in a programme with HM Government’s Open Innovation Team (OIT) that helps Government departments to ‘generate analysis and ideas by deepening collaboration with academics’. The OIT works across all areas of government policy, providing demand-led, consultancy style service that helps officials understand and weave academic insights into their policy work. The partnership offers opportunities for PhD students  and academic staff to work in the Cabinet Office and other Whitehall Departments and our academics can get access to specialist support to help understand and engage with the policy making process in Whitehall. The OIT also offer regular training, delivered through Impact Academy, on how to influence the policy making process. Contact policy-engagement@essex.ac.uk for support with OIT engagement.

Essex is a member of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN), a community of UK universities and policy professionals committed to increasing the impact of research on public policy.

Contact Policy Engagement Support to sign up for regular updates on policy engagement opportunities, training and events and for further support with policy engagement.

Visit the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement and listen to the Louder than Words podcast to find out more about the public and policy engagement work of our Essex researchers.

Business Engagement

Find out more about knowledge exchange and commercialisation as potential routes for generating impact from your research.