5. Maximising Impact
Our research must produce outputs which are useful, accessible and influential for government and other users, thereby maximising the impact of our research upon the strategic drivers identified earlier.
We recognise that there is not a simple journey from the design and production of scientific evidence to its subsequent impact upon policy and practice, and that there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved.
Early discussions with stakeholders to identify their needs and constraints are critical to shaping research and products which can subsequently be used to drive change and achieve impact. We will therefore ensure that stakeholders are involved in the early stages of co-constructing research wherever possible. As an example, stakeholders have already offered detailed ideas on specific subjects and questions as part of the public consultation on this Strategy, and we will use these as work is commissioned to implement this Strategy.
There is also a need for intermediary researchers, gatekeepers and other experts to act as a bridge in communicating the outputs of the research programme to stakeholders and wider society. To do this we will continue to support a Centre for Knowledge Exchange to help facilitate interaction and communication with stakeholders, and which will complement the Knowledge Exchange activities embedded within the wider research programme.
Within the research process itself, we will drive a culture of openness by improving the visibility of the research, and embedding open science and open data approaches. Research results funded through the programme, and the associated data, should be freely available by default (see Section 7).
We recognise that scientific research and technical innovation can also reveal emerging challenges, and new opportunities, which would have otherwise been unforeseen by government and policy makers. The horizon-scanning element of the research programme is a new initiative, specifically designed to support the identification of early-warnings for environment, natural assets, agriculture and rural communities.
Further details on both knowledge exchange and horizon scanning are provided in Annex B.