Give and take matrix

A process for multi-project research teams to establish and clarify links between projects.

This tool involves developing a Give-and-Take matrix for the research program. It is best developed at a group workshop of at least three hours. The following steps are a guide to developing the matrix:

  1. Bring all the individual projects (or project leads) together 
  2. In individual project groups, document what they would like to get from the other projects (Takes) and what it would like to give to other sub-projects (Gives). The Gives and Takes should include any specifics on the form of the exchange and the dates.
  3. As a plenary, each research project in turn describes its proposed Gives and Takes
  4. Discuss the areas of alignment and when Gives and Takes are not aligned.
  5. individual project groups discuss feasibility of securing the proposed Gives to meet other projects’ needs
  6. Decide necessary adaptations to each project research design
  7. As a plenary, summarise proposed gives and takes on a matrix (e.g. using post-it notes on a white board) for each project.
  8. Document the matrix and circulate to all projects as agreed, including information on specific form of the exchange and dates, along with any changes to the research required
  9. Regularly review the matrix
See a give and take matrix being developed

Within a research programme with multiple research work streams, it can be useful to identify  and clarify the points of interaction or information exchange and expectations between different projects.

It is best deployed the planning phase of the research when there are multiple and interdependent research work streams within a wider programme and regularly updated.  It can also be used in later project stages to explore cross-cutting results or interrelations of achieved results.


A completed give-and-take matrix, giving an overview of agreed reciprocal contributions among sub-projects, specific details of the exchange and dates, making clear valuable links and interfaces. An improved mutual understanding of the other subprojects and project team members will be achieved.

More information

The same principles can be used for clarifying expectations within a research team. This is sometimes called a Role Expectation Matrix.

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