What is Research Impact?

Research Impact is defined by Research England as a demonstrable

“effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia” (REF2021).  

Research Impact arises from a combination of sound research and a collaborative and engaged approach. Impact is best realised when research and research data are made open and accessible, when partnerships are equitable and sustainable, and when research questions and methods are adapted and modified to incorporate the views and expertise of stakeholders and beneficiaries. 

While engagement isn’t a prerequisite for research, it helps situate your research within the bigger picture. 


TU Impact Framework (coming soon!) REF Impact (Research England) What is impact? (ESRC)
Impact Resources (Fast Track Impact) Macmillan Research Impact Framework (Macmillan Cancer Research) Knowledge Mobilization Tools (Research Impact Canada)

Reading List

Bayley and Phipps. 2019. Building the concept of research impact literacy. Evidence and Policy. 15:4.  

Reichard, Reed, Chubb, Hall, Jowett, Peart and Whittle. 2020. Writing impact case studies: a comparative study of high-scoring and low-scoring case studies from REF2014. Palgrave Communications. 6: 31 

Chubb, Derrick. 2020. The impact a-gender: gendered orientations towards research Impact and its evaluation. Palgrave Communications 6:72.  

Fenby-Hulse, Heywood, and Walker. 2019. Research Impact and the ECR. Routledge. 

Greenhalgh, Raftery, Hanney, et al. 2016. Research impact: a narrative review. BMC Med 14:78. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-016-0620-8 

Smith. 2020. The Impact Agenda: Controversies, Consequences and Challenges. Policy Press. 

Development Opportunities 

Boosting Your Research Profile Programme: This programme is open to all researchers, from PGR to Professor, and supports attendees to develop their academic profile, improve their communication skills, and write high quality publications.  

Realising Research Impact Programme: This programme introduces participants to research impact and support them with developing personalised impact plans and delivering high quality engagement and enterprise activities.  

For more information on these programmes, visit our Research Training and Development pages.