What forms can ‘legacy’ take?

The legacy of a research project or program can take many different forms. Traditionally, we tend to focus on the publications or products developed as a result of the research investment, however, there are many other ways that a project or program can leave a legacy from its work.

For example, will the project or program effect change in:


By building capacity for NRM through:

  • raising people’s awareness
  • changing attitudes
  • increasing willingness to act
  • improving confidence
  • developing skills
  • generating knowledge
  • establishing relationships.

Who are the people and organisations that could increase their capacity for NRM in this way?

Social infrastructure

By leaving behind new processes or organisations to support NRM (e.g. to enable negotiation between competing interests), learning about change over time through oral histories, developing knowledge about community sociology, learning and sharing ideas about sense of place.

Technical information

By developing information:

  • storage banks
  • data libraries
  • collating data
  • establishing interpretation services
  • producing publications
  • electronic databases
  • time series photographs or maps
  • publications in refereed journals

It is important to think about the different forms that legacy can take so that you can work out which ones you will invest the most resources in. Remember, legacy is not something you do at the end of the work, it is usually far too late then and you have lost opportunities to engage with the people or to establish the products and structures that will drive your legacy. Legacy must be planned for at the start of the research and undertaken during the course of it.