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Course overview

The Course


Understanding your Audience
21-22 November 2017, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London.


Parliamentary Impact & Engagement, and Evidence Synthesis Methodologies
15-18 January 2018, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Sheffield


Evidence Synthesis in Practice
One day work-shadowing in an end-user organisation (various locations), and an assignment to be completed in the student’s own time, during January–March 2018.

One day training course wrap-up in March 2018 at Grantham Institute, Imperial College London.

Learn how to make sure your research has an impact outside academia and can influence decision makers.

Researchers are entering a world where a strong evidence-base is essential to support action that will protect our environment and tackle climate change. In a world that is complex and contains many uncertainties, this evidence helps policy-makers, business leaders and others make the best possible decisions.

The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Imperial’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment are teaming up with Defra, WWF UK, Anglian WaterNatural England and others to offer a training programme on how to synthesise evidence for non-academic audiences. 

Our training will provide qualitative and quantitative skills in evidence synthesis and presentation for end-user groups, indicating how these different styles of analysis, and use of outputs, can help researchers target and present their findings to different stakeholders. It will also afford signficant engagement with end-users, providing an insight into their priorities and perspectives, and the different ways in which they engage with and respond to scientific evidence. 

The programme is aimed at late-stage PhD students and early career researchers working within the NERC remit.

The course has now been completed [see summary of Module 1 here]. For information about future courses, please contact Laila Read,

The details:
  • The course will be delivered in three modules across five months, requiring ten days of time commitment, eight days of which are on-site training. 
  • Travel and accommodation costs are covered by NERC. 
  • There are 20 places available. Applicants will be selected based on the information they provide in the application form.
  • Deadline: 30 October


Course Details

Module 1: “Understanding your Audience” will provide an understanding of different ways in which end users engage with and respond to scientific evidence, and an awareness of timeframes for synthesis and analysis, styles and formats. Through interactive sessions with the Project Partners and other end-users, students will gain empathy and understanding of the perspectives of the end-users, clarity about the topics decision makers are interested in, and what academics can provide.

Module 2: “Parliamentary Impact & Engagement, Evidence Synthesis”  is a three day Environmental Science Systematic Review Short course, introducing the nature and application of different synthesis methodologies within different evidence contexts, followed by deep dives into two. This is reinforced though an e-Action learning course the students can take in their own time. The module finishes with a one-day workshop run by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with parliamentary clerks, to give researchers insights into how parliament works, and how to submit and present evidence to parliamentary select committees.

Module 3: “Evidence Synthesis in Practice”:  A work-shadowing day in an end-user organisation including preparation of an evidence synthesis brief in advance. The course then wraps up with a one day workshop including the Project Partners.

For further information, please contact Laila Read,