How to advance usability of scientific research?
Active interaction and collaboration between producers and users of scientific knowledge leads to results that the users really need, feel they can trust, and that they are confident to use. An interactive relationship also helps the users understand the nature of science and of scientific knowledge. This decreases barriers for utilising the knowledge: notions that scientific knowledge is too uncertain, inaccurate, or unreliable as basis for decision-making.
Our recommendations for effective co-design:
- All stakeholders are not interested in all topics. Consider who needs information produced in your particular project.
- Different end-users and stakeholders have different needs and time scales: ministers and members of parliament (e.g. 4 years), government decision preparation (a few months), legislation preparation (months to years), city-level decision-making and planning (from months to years depending on the task), companies (usually very specific topics, time scales from a few months to a couple of years).
- Identify your target groups and their time scales for relevant knowledge needs; are they preparing decisions/processes where your project could be useful?
- Arrange a meeting with suitable target groups and prepare a detailed interaction plan
- Who else should know about your research and results? Remember to communicate also to larger networks, media, and the general audience.
Check out the co-design leaflet by Future Earth Finland for more tips and best practices!