What is impact?
Is it as simple as it sounds? Research impact can be defined as “the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and economy”, as stated by Research Councils UK (RCUK).
Research impact embraces all the different ways in which research-related skills can benefit individuals, businesses and organisations, and nations. Including areas such as; developing global economic performance, more specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK; Grow and develop the effectiveness of public services and policy; and enhancing the quality of life, health and creative output.
There are two known types of impact; Academic impact – which is the visible and evident contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to scientific developments, across and within disciplines; and Economic and societal impact – which is the visible and evident contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to society and the economy, which has a great benefit to individuals, organisations and nations.
What category does your research fit under? Is it Instrumental – whereby your research influences the development of policy, practice or service provision? Or maybe it is Conceptual? – where your research contributes to the understanding of policy issues and reframing debates. Or perhaps it could be Capacity building impact? – which is through technical and personal skill development.
Research impact must also be demonstrable, it is important to provide evidence of the impact of your research, for example; that it has been used by policy makers, or has made improvements in businesses.
To find out more about what impact is, please visit here.
Why do I need to ensure my research makes an impact?
Over recent years, the government has placed a stronger emphasis on the need for evidence of returns from its investment in economic and social research.
Ensuring your research has impact has many benefits to, and for society. High quality and impactful research can help to;
- Develop the value and sustainability of public, private and third sector organisations
- Improve social welfare and cohesion
- Increase economic wealth, wealth creation and regeneration
- Enhance cultural enrichment and quality of life
Impact also has many benefits to the researcher. In order to maximise the impact of your research, you need to engage with your key audience and users – which can effectively provide benefits for the quality of our research, including;
- Early feedback which can help to shape your research plan and improve methodologies currently being used
- It helps to ensure that your research is relevant and meaningful
- It helps to recruit participants, e.g. for focus groups or interviews
- It also helps to develop new skills and raise your research profile
If you would like to find out more about why you should make an impact, please visit here.
If you would like to learn more about how to ensure your research has impact, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Rebecca Edwards in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office – ext: 61538 or firstname.lastname@example.org