Skip to main content

Stakeholder mapping

Advice on segmenting and reaching relevant policy audiences.

Who is your audience?

Once you have determined that your research has policy relevance, an essential step in developing a successful engagement plan is to define who your audience is and routes to reach them.

Your research may be relevant for policymakers, including those working in Parliament, in Government or in devolved, regional or local government.

It may also be relevant for other policy actors, including think tanks, who are working on similar issues or challenges.

Stakeholder mapping should enable you to define:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your current relationship with them and who are your key stakeholders?
  • What is needed? What do you need them to think, feel or do?

Once you have completed this step, you can develop plans to reach those audiences.

RIS’ Planning for Impact toolkit has extensive resources to help you understand potential beneficiaries of your research and how to segment your audiences.


There are a variety of ways you can start to build networks with policymakers and policy actors who you have identified as potential beneficiaries of your research.

  • Use social media (X / LinkedIn) as a platform to connect with individuals and organisations working on similar themes. This can help you become aware of emerging issues and contribute to live debates. Contact Tom Mason ( for help and advice on developing a social media strategy, including LinkedIn training.
  • Research organisational websites for relevant policy contacts. Each Government Department also publishes an organogram of staff roles, although these can sometimes be complicated to navigate.
  • If your research aligns with a policymaker or a policy actor's area of responsibility, you could make short, tailored, speculative approach to individuals with a brief introduction and overview of your work.
  • Keep your policy contacts informed about your research and activities, including inviting them to events and sharing publications. Your communications should be relevant to their interests, informative and timely.
  • Keep a record of your policy contacts and remember to update Pure with any policy engagements.

Further information

Learning from others

Read about Bath academics who have effectively used stakeholder mapping in their research:

On this page