Making an impact with research: (IV) partnerships

In my previous post I argued that ‘silver literature’ (my classier term for grey/gray literature) had a strategic role to play in the business of making an impact with research.

But learning how to write silver literature — such genres as leaflets, booklets, briefings, trade press articles, teaching resources, white papers, and reports — is one thing: how do you then get it published, disseminated, and read?

By establishing partnerships, that’s how. Finding charities, NGOs, professional associations and membership bodies, think tanks, and corporations that share your interests. That way you can leverage their programmes and their networks — their social media accounts, periodicals, mailing lists and event series. 

But it’s not likely to be much good trying to establish such partnerships when the research is more or less complete: building a relationship takes time; and organisations are unlikely to feel a stake in something they haven’t in some way contributed to; and you may discover a mismatch between your interests and theirs. 

And it certainly can’t be done whilst you’re writing the grant bid. Most researchers seem not to allow enough time to fully develop and polish the bid itself, let alone build relationships with third parties.

No, the only solution is to think long term and build partnerships before you write the bid.

This requires strategic planning. But think of the rewards. Think how, when you settle down to write the dissemination and impact parts of your grant proposals, how straightforward it will be. And how convincing and refreshing it will be to the awarding body:

XXX have confirmed that they are likely to host an event in their YYY series…PPP have confirmed that in principle the findings may published in their QQQ series…the editor of AAA has suggested that they publish a series of interviews in BBB

and so on.

So the next post asks, how do you establish partnerships?


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