UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Communicating your research – co-creating a toolkit with and for students

5 January 2023

Increasing the influence and impact of sustainability and health research.

Top hands collaboratively drawing ideas

The Bartlett’s Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc has been designed to meet the growing demand for specialists to drive the health and wellbeing agenda in the design, assessment and management of sustainable and healthy cities.The MSc provides a number of opportunities to develop students’ research and inquiry skills. However, a key skill required to advance sustainable innovation for health and wellbeing is communication. There is an increasing need for students to understand how to engage different audiences to achieve impact on policy and practice.

A past MSc student, Sem Lee (2020-2022) is joining forces with a module lead, Gemma Moore, to co-produce a toolkit with students help students plan their research communications activities and focus their communications on where they can make the most impact.

The work has been supported under UCL Changemakers programme which provides project funding and guidance to students and staff who want to work together to enhance the learning experience of students at UCL.

Last year, during her MSc Sem undertook a community-based dissertation – where the research questions were influenced by a community partner (Waltham Forest Land Trust). She states:

“It is so important to present us (students) with opportunities that can help us feel empowered to disseminate our research as this completes the research cycle. This also helps build on key communication skills and helping to develop other soft skills such as stakeholder management and relationship building.”

Over Term 2, Sem will be working with some of the current cohort of students from Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc to create a toolkit of resources and building knowledge sharing between students on how to communicate own research to wider audiences.

It is hoped that the resulting toolkit will support students to plan their communication activities - thinking through who, when and how to engage, across the whole research lifecycle (from inception to dissemination). As well as providing some tips and suggestions to help students learn to adapt and present their ideas and research to different audiences.

Gemma Moore, who leads a module on the MSc, and is Faculty Impact Lead for the Bartlett notes:

Our students not only the desire to increase the influence and impact of sustainability and health research – but lots of ideas on how to do this too. This is why we are working with them to create the toolkit for them. By working with our students, we hope that the toolkit will capture the diversity of ways that students’ work can be shared – and with a range of audiences from fellow researchers to practitioners.”

As part of this project, Gemma and Sem will also provide commentary on any institutional barriers and opportunities in appropriate infrastructure to help further and develop support in this area.

If you would like know more or get involved please contact Gemma Moore at gemma.moore@ucl.ac.uk