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Stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange in environmental research

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Professor Philip Lowe, Dr Amy Proctor, Dr Eric Ruto



It is commonly put forward that effective uptake of research in policy or practice must be built upon a foundation of active knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement during the research. However, what is often lacking is a systematic appreciation of the specific practices of knowledge exchange and their relative merits. The paper reports on a 2009 survey of 21 research projects within the UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme regarding the involvement and perceived impact of over a thousand stakeholders in the research. The survey reveals that most stakeholders were involved as research subjects or as event participants. Large numbers were also engaged in the research process itself, including involvement in shaping the direction of research. Stakeholder engagement is perceived as bringing significant benefits to the process of knowledge production. A close relationship is found between mechanisms and approaches to knowledge exchange and the spread of benefits for researchers and stakeholders. Mutual benefits are gained from exchange of staff or where stakeholders are members of research advisory groups. Different stakeholder sectors are also associated with different patterns of engagement, which lead to contrasting impact patterns. Any efforts to alter knowledge exchange processes and outcomes must overcome these differing engagement tendencies. Overall, much greater attention should be given to early processes of knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement within the lifetime of research projects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillipson J, Lowe P, Proctor A, Ruto E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2012

Volume: 95

Issue: 1

Pages: 56-65

Print publication date: 04/11/2011

Date deposited: 12/12/2011

ISSN (print): 0301-4797

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8630

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.10.005


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Funder referenceFunder name
Scottish Government
RES-224-34-2003-01UK Research Council
RES-229-25-0025UK Research Council