Research & Innovation Services

Step 3.1: What can you do to involve and inform them?

(Information for your Pathways to Impact or Dissemination/Exploitation Plan)

Now that you have considered the whole pathway you need to consider how your project fits into the pathway and which beneficiaries you need to involve in your project.

Note: It may be too early to engage with the end beneficiary and it might only be appropriate to engage with one beneficiary.

What do the Research Councils expect you to write?

What does the European Union expect you to write?

How to engage?


For each beneficiary you must first decide which approach you can take to involve them with your work. There are three distinct, if often overlapping, purposes that engagement can serve:

  •  informing – Inspiring, informing and educating the beneficiary and making your work more accessible
  •  consulting – Actively listening to the beneficiaries views, concerns and insights
  •  collaborating – Working in partnership with the beneficiary to solve problems together, drawing on each other’s expertise.


  • Presentations and lectures.
  • Lifelong learning festival appearances.
  • Media work.
  • Exhibitions.
  • Writing for non-specialists whether online, in journalism or books.
  • Public meetings and discussion events.
  • Panels and user groups.
  • Online consultation.
  • Deliberation and ‘upstream’ engagement.
  • Collaborative research projects.
  • Creating opportunities for students to work with community organisations.
  • Helpdesks to make it easy for people outside the university to draw on university expertise.

Note: It is possible that you might need to engage in more than one way with a single beneficiary.

Knowing your beneficiaries

Once you have decided whether you need to inform, consult or collaborate with each beneficiary you need to determine what will help the beneficiary respond to your research. For each beneficiary the questions you need to consider include:

  • What do we know about them that can help us?
  • What trade organisations do they belong to?
  • What do they read?
  • Where do they meet?
  • Where, when and how are we most likely to reach them?
  • What do we want them to do, think or feel as a result of the activity?
  • When during the project do you need to engage with them?

Note: Consider how important it is to engage with each beneficiary. It may be better to focus your resources on one beneficiary if interacting with them will achieve the greatest impact.


Once you know more about your beneficiaries and the interaction you wish to have with them you should now be able to determine the activities you should do in your project to reach them.

Typical types of activities include the following, but this list is not exhaustive. You have scope to be creative.

Activity Inform Consult Collaborate Description
Events x x x For example public lectures, debates, conferences, workshops, seminars, open days
Printed Materials x     Translation of research into a printed format
Media Activity  x x x Using the media to publicise a story linked to your research
Social Media x  x x Online interaction between people in virtual communities and online networks
Website Development  x  x  x Information about developing websites
Film and Audio  x     Footage or recordings that explain and explore your research
Developing a Demonstrator  x  x  x To prove the feasibility and benefits of your research
Research Collaboration  x  x  x Financial and/or in-kind collaboration
People Exchange      x Transfer of people in and out of the University to enhance the application of research knowledge
Public Engagement  x  x  x Methods to engage with the public
Communicating with Policymakers  x  x   Engaging with policymakers to influence decision or procedures
Staff Employment  x  x  x Employment of staff to undertake administrative activities
Patents, License Agreements and Spin-out Companies  x x  x Information about patents, license agreements and spin-out companies


If you have any questions about the toolkit please contact Alice Hovanessian.