F6. Celebrate positive research outcomes involving CSOs
CSOs are primarily motivated through their interests in solving (or at least improving) a particular societal challenge. It is therefore important for them to understand how research can achieve this. Highlighting specific examples of how research incorporating CSOs has led to change will allow CSOs currently lacking research experience to appreciate its relevance.
A publicly available online database containing good practice examples and short vignettes could provide an overview of current and past activities. Such a repository could furthermore support some of the other objectives such as the creation of networks and establishing contacts between researchers and CSOs.
Funders who are considering encouraging the involvement of CSOs in research projects should consider:
What existing success stories can we promote relating to the involvement of civil society in research? Do we need to establish a mechanism for specifically capturing such stories (for example through commissioning the drafting of the vignettes mentioned above)?
How can CSO involvement be highlighted within existing publications and mechanisms to showcase excellent research that we fund?
What communication channels exist within civil society through which we can disseminate our research highlights?
Is civil society involvement sufficiently emphasised within our websites, brochures and other materials?
Example: Sustainable results of a project on aquacultural development
The field of work for this research project was the development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean area. The project aimed to identify the research infrastructure of all the countries in the consortium and promote ways of grouping and harmonising the research activities, through the creation of a stakeholder platform that will be sustained after the end of the project. All the individuals we interviewed recommended that there is a need to identify ways to share the results further after the end of the project, instead of 'shelving them somewhere'.
The dissemination partner further argued that a project is 'Successful not only when it reaches the research objectives of the project, but also when they are able to transfer that knowledge to the relevant user'.