“Doing” Impact

There are many and diverse ways to achieve impact. The routes to generate impact have no clear formulas that one can follow. Illustrations are available in King’s College London’s analysis report of the impact case studies submitted to REF2014: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/policy-institute/publications/Analysis-of-REF-impact.pdf

However, in most cases it helps to consider the user’s perspective

  • Who are the potential users of your research?
  • What are their needs or expectations?
  • How will they access the research?
  • What mechanisms are best employed to deliver what is needed?
  • What are the barriers?
  • How can any resulting change or benefit be measured? i.e. What do we want to know and in how much detail?
    Impact plan

Steps along the impact road

  • Identify appropriate audiences for the research, i.e. who would benefit from the knowledge.
  • What is the best way to reach this audience and initiate dialogue, i.e. what are the appropriate communication channels (press articles, workshops, user groups, conferences, newsletters, exhibitions, etc.).
  • Make your research accessible and understandable to a wide audience – make it easy for them to know why your research is important and why they should talk to you.
  • It can be useful to have a 30-second pitch ready – but try to ensure that it leads to a follow-up discussion.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to find an opportunity.
  • Record (in Pure) how your research is being used. In particular for pivotal or landmark events, reactions, changes of direction, identify who benefited and how?
  • Gather evidence – feedback, corroborating letters or emails, screenshots, documents, etc.

    HEFCE Guidance on evidence table

ESRC Updated Impact Toolkit is now available Read more


The Health Foundation has developed an online communications toolkit to help health and healthcare researchers increase the influence and impact of their work.