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Guidance on costing for knowledge mobilisation activities


Published: 26 January 2015

Version: 1.0 - January 2015

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Knowledge mobilisation is about bringing individuals and communities together to share knowledge to catalyse change. This can lead to impact. Processes in knowledge mobilisation include engagement, dissemination to research users, commercialisation, communication and so on.

This guide suggests possible activities and typical costs for grant proposals, including ways to account for the staff time required. Industry, business, public sector bodies, charities and communities, in the UK or abroad, are described throughout as “stakeholders”.

Please use this as a prompt towards the plans and activities appropriate for your research. Please note that this costing guide does not guarantee that these costs will be granted, even if your proposal is accepted.

Possible Knowledge Mobilisation Activities (in no particular order):

  • Public Discussions – such as Café Scientifique, Festival of Ideas, Twilight Talks, InsideArts, and Thinking Futures in Bristol can be low or no cost. Find out what’s on in your local area. Consider whether there is publicity and if you can support this via social media. Include travel costs for you or your research team.
  • Travel costs – talking to stakeholders can be free, but consider requesting funds to travel to their locations, attend their conferences or host workshops (see below); day trip to London ~£150, an overnight stay ~£150.
  • Stakeholder Conferences – it can be useful to attend industry or practitioner events as well as academic conferences. Travel, subsistence, registration and possibly exhibit costs should be added in the usual way according to conference location e.g UK £1,000, EU £1,500, USA £2,000.
  • Stakeholder Workshops can be used before, during and after research to shape the research programme and data collection, review progress and discuss how the findings can be used; costs include travel, catering, room hire, and potentially a professional facilitator or participants’ costs; e.g. £3,000 for a large event with international guest speakers, or £500 for a small buffet for 50 people in UoB rooms.
  • Wider academic communities – consider whether your work might find its impact through other research disciplines, either by changing their practice of through their influence on stakeholders; include costs for travel, seminars or workshops as above.
  • Advisory roles on government committees, inquiries, charitable boards, NGOs and industry trade bodies can all be routes to impact; ensure any conflicts of interest are declared, and include travel costs if the stakeholder cannot reimburse.
  • Catering – don’t forget catering costs for any events or stakeholder visits you organise at UoB or elsewhere; Hawthorns costs are online
  • Training for researchers – available in public and schools engagement, social media, working with industry etc. @ ~£500/full day
  • Training stakeholders – consider the technical & transferable skills which researchers take into industry, or whether you can offer research-based training events or summer schools for stakeholders (costs vary)
  • Staff secondments – sometimes it is clear that research will be useful for particular partners; a secondment for a few weeks is an ideal way to exchange knowledge, costs include salary (often a PDRA), travel and accommodation.
  • Prototyping and testing of new devices, instruments or methods is an ideal route to impact but can be difficult to anticipate at this stage; stakeholders might be expected to contribute; discuss costs with stakeholders if there’s clear opportunity. There may be a central resource in your university to advise on commercialisation
  • Breakfast Briefings – for policy makers and stakeholders, cost of venue and breakfast ~£1,500
  • Policy Briefings – production of high-quality briefing document or booklet. Costs variable to include time, editing, illustrations, production and distribution.
  • Software and technical documentation can be produced for stakeholder audiences or particular methods or instruments; copyright applies and licensing may be possible (talk to RED); include costs and time for writing, testing, design and distribution.
  • Intermediary organisations are often good routes to impact e.g. trade organisations, sector groups, think tanks, NGOs working abroad, regulatory bodies, professional societies; consider costs of travel and attending their events, include them in stakeholder workshops
  • Co-production and action research methods can allow impact to develop in parallel with the research; consider any additional costs need to achieve both your research goals and impact objectives.
  • Schools engagement could require consumables and equipment (£100 – 1,000), staff travel (£20 – 200), teacher time to collaborate and develop materials @ £30/hr, coaches for day trips @ £150 each.
  • Artist in Residence – artists will have day rates or agree costs for installations & events; ensure clear impact objectives are agreed; include publicity and venue costs
  • Performance-based engagement – e.g. bilingual theatre workshops to explore translation, creative writing workshops, community arts practice; include costs of arts facilitators & equipment
  • Engagement equipment – some larger projects request tablets, cameras, exhibit models etc. for public and stakeholder engagement events.
  • Software & Apps – need to be developed or refined for public/professional users. Programming can cost from£5,000 - £15,000. Your local university may be able to advise on whether an App is a good option and how it might create impact.

Cost free activities:

  • Web & PR – University-based web pages and press releases are tested ways to raise visibility, though are unlikely to create impact on their own. External web-sites can be costly to maintain and are likely to become dormant after project funding ends; they also have less visibility that pages based on University servers.
  • Media and Social Media – can be excellent vehicles to disseminate research to non-academic audiences, but impact can be hard to evaluate. Online social media tools require only time
  • Stakeholders’ PR – project partners can also provide good media coverage and public engagement opportunities
  • Open data – depositing data sets and findings in public databases enables others to use them and widens the possible routes to impact via other academics
  • Intellectual Property Protection and Commercialisation – Check with your local university for support.
  • Project Advisory Board – include relevant stakeholders in any project advisory board; meeting costs can appear under project management or governance

Staff time for knowledge mobilisation activities

Don’t forget to include the days/weeks of impact work in the overall research project plans & costs

  • Research Associate time – estimate the time required for impact activities; allow for this within and during the research, or add time after the research is completed e.g. for a secondment.
  • Knowledge Exchange specialists – to engage with stakeholders, set up events, broker new relationships and identify routes to impact. Some Universities regularly request such staff time and pool it to fund specialists at School/Faculty/HEI level.
  • Project Administrator – can support the organisation of events, marketing and publicity.