Advisory Groups

Advisory groups are often aligned with research projects and programmes (also encompassing steering groups, community of practice, community of interest, stakeholder groups, or governance groups).

An advisory group consists of individuals with unique skills and knowledge, who have been brought together for the general purpose of providing support, feedback and new ideas to a project team.

Formal advisory groups usually set up in conjunction with large projects or programmes, especially applied research. Due to the costs associated with establishing advisory groups, smaller, more fundamental research projects can obtain similar benefits by close consultation with the client at the proposal stage and by communicating findings during research and publication stages. For commercially-funded projects, direct interaction between the science team and stakeholder will fulfil many of the functions of an advisory group. 

 

The advantages of having an advisory group include:

  • Enabling a great opportunity for successful adoption and practice change if the views and knowledge of the next users and end users are incorporated early on and throughout the project
  • Ensuring that programmes are meeting next and end-user requirements in order to deliver impact
  • Providing both positive and negative feedback to science teams
  • [Group members] acting as advocates for the science and assisting (or take the lead) in obtaining future funding
  • Provide external and independent peer review
  • Maintaining a two-way relationship with stakeholders and provide a wider context for the research.

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Advisory groups can be costly in terms of time and resources, and if the role of the advisory group is unclear then this can lead to friction within the project. It is important to address these issues from the outset in the set up and maintenance of your group. Click the links below to learn about: