Lay summaries

  • Do you want to make your charity’s research easy-to-understand and engaging for your supporters?
  • Do you find yourself wanting to talk about your charity’s research, but not knowing how to?
  • Do you find the researchers’ own lay summaries are often not ‘lay’ enough?
  • Got a lot of research projects to write-up but no time to do it?

The goal of lay summaries is to communicate complex information clearly to people who don’t have a scientific background. That’s exactly what I do.

I’ll write a summary that’s:

  • written in a format designed to make science understandable,
  • written to the word count and tone of voice you specify (including your preferred terminology),
  • accurate, understandable, and engaging.

… And give you and your team back the time to focus on other things.

Lay summaries for research projects

Easily-understood information about your research projects is a really valuable asset for your charity. Of course, most projects are interesting in their own right, but it’s essential to make them understandable and exciting for your supporters – after all, they’re the ones who make your research happen.

Lay summaries of your research can form a powerful basis for fundraising appeals and donor pitches, too. They can also help your non-research colleagues connect with what’s going on in their own organisation.

However, these summaries take time to write, and it can be hard to find the right person to do it. You need someone who understands both the science and the best way of translating that into something accessible and engaging.

If you feel like your research project lay summaries aren’t quite up to scratch (or if you wish you had some!), let me help. I can write lay summaries that get your supporters excited about your charity’s research, and make it clear how they’re making a difference.

Take a look at some of the lay summaries I’ve written for charities.

What my clients have said about working with me:

During our time working together, he produced high-quality, understandable summaries for our lay audiences that showcased our current research, as well as case studies of impact of previous research.

Richard was accessible, responsive, and quickly interpreted what was required – he was a pleasure to work with.

Leukaemia UK

“Richard was very proactive, and great at keeping us updated with the project. He was quick to ask questions, but also very comfortable working without close supervision or direction. This was a huge asset within our time-poor team.”


What I’ll need from you:

Background information about the research project – usually the original grant application form written by the researcher(s).

What you’ll get from me:

A summary of the research project that is:

  • about 500-750 words long,
  • written in easy-to-understand language that is sensitive to people affected by the condition,
  • written in a classic ‘Problem-Solution-Impact’ format, to get across why the project is needed, what it aims to achieve, and the difference it will make,
  • ready to be approved and put on your charity’s website.  


£200 per lay summary.

Summaries of research outcomes

When a research project ends, your charity will be wanting to let your supporters know what happened, and the difference the project made. 

To do this, some charities edit the lay summaries on their website to include information about the outcomes and the impact of these research projects.

But if your charity funds a large amount of research, it can be very time-consuming to do this, and very easy to accumulate a backlog of projects to update.

So let me help. I will update your research lay summaries based upon information such as the final report and any relevant publications. I’m also happy to re-write the lay summary entirely if needed.

“Before we worked with Richard, we had a backlog of research projects that needed updates writing for our website and we didn’t have the capacity ‘in-house’ to manage this.

“Richard not only cleared the backlog but gave us some really great advice about how we can enhance our research web pages. Because of his scientific background and great expertise in written communications, he rapidly got to grips with the complex nature of many of our research projects, and brought them to life in ways that are easy for our audiences to understand.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK

What I’ll need from you:

Information about the outcomes of the project – e.g. final reports from the researcher(s), relevant publications.

Background information about the research project – usually the original grant application form.

What you’ll get from me:

A summary of the outcomes of the research project that is:

  • about 500-750 words long,
  • written in easy-to-understand and sensitive language,
  • written in a format which gets across the aims of the project, what it achieved, and the impact that the project has made (or will make),
  • ready to be approved and put on your website. 


£200 per summary.

Need something with a bit more impact?

Do you have special projects that need a bit more than just an update to a lay summary? Perhaps you’ve been funding a research project over many years, and need to get across its significance. Or maybe there’s a particularly interesting story to tell about the impact it has made.

If so, you may be interested in impact case studiesfind out more about how I can help you get across the impact of your charity’s most important projects.