Communication & Engagement Plan for your PhD: some tools

I wrote a post  last year about needing a Communication and Engagement Plan for your PhD and I’ve found some resources that I thought I would share

Firstly- this Prezi by Cameron Pegg is aimed at Universities

How Universities can create (and contain) popular content by Cameron Pegg

How Universities can create (and contain) popular content by Cameron Pegg

Secondly, I heard  Enrique Mendizabal from talk at last years Development Futures Conference – I don’t agree with some of his ideas about Development Practice (notably that ‘development’ would be better served by technical professional creating one-on-one links with people/organisations in developing countries and that ‘development studies’ are a waste of time) but I do think his website has some great resources for thinking outside the box on your communication and engagement plan.  Check out the links to Manuals – especially if you scroll down to some of these:

  • Handbook to help researchers have impact from the London School of Economic’s Impact of Social Sciences project: It provides a large menu of sound and evidence-based advice and guidance on how to ensure that your work achieves its maximum visibility and influence with both academic and external audiences.

(original from

You might also have seen this recent article from Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol, on The Conversation about how pictures and graphs are powerful tools that can be used (or misused) for communicating research.  In fact, The Conversation its-self is a great place for PhD students to start as place to communicate your research.  Articles only have to be 800-1000 words and Associate Professor Helen Sword has written some lovely tips in an article here

If you are interested in using some online Data Visualisation tools- again, has a great link

After facilitating a workshop on using Data Visualisation Tools for Communicating Research last year at our annual Postgraduate Retreat – some of the feedback was primarily that

(a) you need  a good internet connection and

(b) some of the free tools don’t seem to function properly. 

(c) visuals can be highly subjective- always get a 2nd opinion- (preferably from your target audience)

and persist! because you don’t have to be a graphic design artist to ensure that you can communicate your PhD research.

Rally against reports getting dusty on the shelf or only being seen by your Supervisor! 

If you don’t have a Communication and Engagement Plan for your PhD- its not too late for a 2014 New Years academic resolution!



About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at
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