Science is becoming more multidisciplinary and applied. For many grant applications you are therefore required to list and engage the stakeholders of your project. Stakeholders are people, organizations, and companies that are affected by your research and might be willing to collaborate with you as a partner, end user, or advisor on your proposed project.
Stakeholders play a crucial role in thinking about how to utilise the gained knowledge and products that arise from a research project. Many scientists, however, do not know who their stakeholders are, what they can contribute, or where to find them. Below, we will therefore outline how to approach this challenge systematically:
- Brainstorm: Sit together with your collaborators and brainstorm about the beneficiaries of your research. Consider NGOs, government agencies, foundations, companies, individuals etc. Write down everything you can think of and think about whether you already know people in these organisations.
- Select: After you produced this list, go ahead and group the stakeholders so you can find out which beneficiary might be interested in your project. Think about what they can give and take from your project. If this is balanced they are more likely to be interested to collaborate. You can use a power-interest matrix to group and balance their interests and needs.
- Connect: After selecting your stakeholders, delineate what motivates them, what their values are, and how you can win them over to participate in your project. With this information you can go ahead and approach them.
- Involve: When you have successfully approached your stakeholders, it is time to involve them in your consortium. Specify their role during the project and how that will benefit both parties. Early engagement of stakeholders helps to adapt your project to make it more applied or societally relevant.
Good stakeholder engagement is an essential feature of many grant schemes, particularly the ones that are looking for strong knowledge utilisation and societal impact. Stakeholders will improve your proposal by adding knowledge utilisation opportunities and help you to align your project so it can better reach the desired impact. It is therefore important to not underestimate this part of your grant writing process and start interacting with your stakeholders early!
Do you need help with this process? We at Evers + Manders have decades of experience with stakeholder analysis and involvement and have a large network that you can profit from. Don’t hesitate to contact us without obligation!
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