Workshop joint SDG research programme

Workshop on strengthening knowledge sharing and research uptake

25 June 2018

How do we ensure that researchers and practitioners in a consortium exchange and create knowledge together? How do we stimulate and enhance the uptake of research and tangible output by a wider group of different stakeholders? And how do we improve the communication with important stakeholder? These were the key questions during the workshop on strengthening knowledge sharing and research uptake of the Joint SDG research programme, that took place on 31 May at the NWO in Utrecht.

Nine projects of the first call Tackling Global Challenges through Use-inspired Research came together to learn and exchange on the topics of co-creation, knowledge sharing and research uptake. The workshop was organised by NWO-WOTRO and facilitated by Riti Hermán Mostert, WCDI.

Enhancing research uptake

Knowledge sharing & research uptake are integral parts of the SDG research approach. They are crucial to enhance the impact of knowledge and envisaged tangible output and application thereof in practice, and subsequently to improve the impact of research. The process of co-creation between all the different partners and stakeholders involved in a project is intended to build and help deepen that knowledge together, but also increase the likelihood that research results will be used. While the prime responsibility for enhancing research impact lies with the SDG project consortium partners and stakeholders, NWO-WOTRO aims to facilitate those activities. In supporting the SDG projects, NWO-WOTRO focuses particularly on enabling uptake within the so-called inner circle: stakeholders involved in the project from its inception and throughout the project execution. To this end, a professional trainer has been engaged to facilitate the workshop on strengthening knowledge sharing and research uptake and to enhance the learning on the Theory of Change (ToC), Impact Pathway, strategies for research uptake, stakeholder engagement, and to yield insights on how to improve the communication plan of a project.

Knowledge sharing and research uptake requires a strategy consisting of context analyses and stakeholder engagement, internal and external communication, quality assessment, monitoring, learning and evaluation. Project teams are expected to integrate research uptake objectives and expected and desired outcomes and outputs in the Impact Pathways.

The projects’ Impact Pathway and ToC are necessary steps to enhance the uptake of tangible outputs and outcomes by various stakeholders. Riti Hermán Mostert started her presentation with an introduction to the ToC, why it is important to develop a ToC and how it is connected to the Impact Pathway. This introduction was followed by a presentation of a programme committee member Josine Stremmelaar who recently joined Oxfam Novib to head the Program Support and Impact unit. In her presentation ‘ToC in practice’ she focused on the importance and need of a ToC, how to develop a ToC (practical tools) and presented stories of change and examples in practice. She emphasised that it is necessary to continuously monitor change and change pathways, to test assumptions and constantly adapt the projects’ change pathways if necessary. Afterwards the participants had the opportunity to work in their own project groups on the projects’ ToC and Impact Pathway, improving stakeholder engagement and communication strategy. During the several hands-on sessions the facilitator provided tips to work on the projects ToC and Impact Pathway, how to maintain ToC thinking throughout the project, stakeholder engagement, and communication methods.

Source: NWO