“Engaged research” encompasses the many ways that researchers meaningfully interact or collaborate with diverse stakeholders in any or all stages of a research process. An EU-funded project, “Opening Doors”, employed an engaged research approach in the co-design of an open, online educational course in open science and open innovation for early career researchers (ECRs). The goal of the “Opening Doors” project is to shape more innovative, socially aware, integrative ECRs, ready to meet the challenges of the future. It is expected that participants on the “Opening Doors” educational course will develop competencies that are valued in open innovation networks, enabling them to thrive in complex knowledge networks and enhancing their contribution to both academic and non-academic environments. The co-design of the course was a three-stage process: 1) stakeholder interviews were undertaken in Ireland, Denmark and the Czech Republic with PhD graduates, PhD students, PhD employers (academic and non-academic) and PhD educators, to understand what skills and attitudes are valued for promoting open, innovative and impactful research; 2) a co-design workshop was then created which took the form of an online “world-café” event with diverse stakeholders; 3) a final “industry check” was undertaken with employers to ensure that this training for ECRs is ‘fit-for-purpose’ in terms of supporting the development of skills and attitudes that are valued in open science and open innovation environments, and to verify the validity of our engaged research approach. This approach resulted in a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of open science and open innovation that we believe will, in turn, lead to meaningful societal engagement. The predominant themes that emerged from this work include the importance of accessible, relevant communication with research audiences outside of one’s discipline and crucially, non-academic audiences - where an open mindset and an attitude of curiosity and mutual respect is key.