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An essential component of Maryland Sea Grant’s mission is to fund research that meets the needs of the many audiences in Maryland whom we serve.
To that end, we require the investigators we fund to develop plans to share their findings with constituencies whom the research may benefit and in ways that help solve problems and advance public understanding.
Here’s a primer about how to do this and what we expect.
All full proposals must include an outreach plan.
In their research proposals, principal investigators must articulate and justify the anticipated benefits of the research to be undertaken over short-to-long time scales and to various “end users” of the information or technologies developed.
|Potential End Users|
|Targeted groups within the general public|
Very few end users will read the journal articles or attend professional meetings. Hence, outreach must employ different, appropriate vehicles to convey the information to them in a readily understandable manner. There are many different tools that can be used, provided that there is a clear target audience and a logical outcome from the research effort.
Articulating a plan for this is a vital part of a successful proposal to Maryland Sea Grant.
The following are all important products of the research process, but they do not qualify as outreach to constituents or users.
A Maryland Sea Grant outreach plan describes how specifically targeted audiences will learn about research outcomes so that they can use the information when making decisions about coastal resources and policy.
An outreach plan describes what types of products you will create to communicate results and how the targeted audiences will get the information.
In addition, the plan should state, within reason, the proposers’ prediction of the impact of their research and outreach effort. For example:
A general distribution of information to wide audiences in the general public (e.g., via a website) can be useful but is most likely not sufficient in and of itself.
An outreach effort should lead to outcomes that can be evaluated as products of the funded project.
What are some options for successful outreach efforts? The key is defining a strategy for ways in which specific users can learn about and make use of the products of your research.
An outreach plan that specifically describes plans for interactions with businesses, NGOs, or citizen groups is as valid as one that directly involves Maryland Sea Grant staff, faculty, and products.
If funded, you are obligated to complete the tasks outlined in your outreach plan. Please follow through with all plans and keep all parties engaged abreast of your developments.
If you have questions about our requirements for outreach plans, please contact Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Director for Research and Administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org.