Telling the Story of Research Toolkit

Resources and tools for research communications

Learn more about the three core areas of research communications that are necessary to articulate the value of research and maximize the impact of communications efforts.

Changing funding patterns mean that the long term growth of the research enterprise requires effective, strategic communications about the value of university-led research.

Yet there are a variety of obstacles that complicate communicating research value. Institutions need to communicate research to a much broader set of stakeholders who may have different interests, priorities, and levels of understanding. And faculty are not always effective at communicating their research to lay audiences.

Chief research officers (CROs) are often thrust into the spotlight as the primary advocate for the research enterprise, and they find themselves overwhelmed by the marketing and communication challenges. While they recognize the importance of their role in improving research communications, they want and need to have more effective tools and tactics for doing so.

To support CROs and their staff in articulating the value of research and maximizing the impact of communications efforts, the University Research Forum has developed the following toolkit to accompany the 13 tactics outlined in our national meeting study, Telling the Story of Research.

Tool 1: Research Communications Self-Assessment
To get started, use our self-assessment tool to evaluate your institution’s current research communications infrastructure and pinpoint key areas to target improvement efforts.

Tool 2: Effective Media Conversations Planning Worksheet
This tool will help communications staff guide conversations with faculty who will speak about their research to the media. It provides faculty with a series of questions to think through prior to media conversations. By completing the worksheet, faculty can generate a list of key talking points and responses to commonly asked questions.

Tool 3: Research Website Self-Audit
Use this checklist to evaluate how your research website measures up in terms of the 14 most valuable features. This tool will help research offices evaluate the strengths of their research website, as well as identify the areas where they can target improvements.

Tool 4: Research Fact Sheet Template
Institutions need to better articulate the value of university research to a broad group of stakeholders that includes boards, legislators, and the general public. This tool will help to create a compelling one-pager that communicates the value of research to key stakeholders.

Tool 5: Social Media for Research Communications
This tool provides CROs, communications staff, and faculty with an overview of why social media is important for research communications, the different social media platforms most commonly utilized for research communications, and strategies for better utilizing those platforms to increase public engagement.

Explore the full study

To support and improve research communications, CROs can use these thirteen tactics—download the full study.

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Telling the Story of Research

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