Impact case studies

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercises provide some great examples of the journey from research to impact. For College members unfamiliar with REF, most of our impact case studies were submitted to the following Units of Assessment (UoA) in Panel A: UoA1 (Clinical Medicine); UoA2 (Public Health, Health Services & Primary Care); UoA3 (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing & Pharmacy); UoA4 (Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience); UoA5 (Biological Sciences); and UoA6 (Agriculture, Food & Veterinary Sciences). Highlighting the multidisciplinary nature of College research, we also had crossovers with UoA7 (Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences); UoA8 (Chemistry); UoA10 (Mathematical Sciences); and UoA22/20 (Social Work & Social Policy).

REF2014 case study database

The REF2014 database provides a comprehensive, searchable resource to find any impact case study submitted in REF2014. It is an extremely useful tool to see what research and impacts the University of Glasgow and other institutions have submitted; how these impacts developed; how the case studies demonstrate the link from research to impact; and what evidence was chosen to substantiate the impacts claimed.

REF2021 case study database

In a similar manner to the REF2014 database, the REF2021 database provides access to >6,000 impact case studies submitted from across the UK to REF2021. It has a slightly modified interface compared to the REF2014 website, but users can perform Boolean searches and filter these by HEI, Units of Assessment, types of impact, geographical location etc. 


TIP: We highly recommend that researchers make use of these resources, and be inquistive about impacts that have been claimed in your own research fields. You may find cross-overs with your own work, and indeed, impacts to which your own work may have contributed. It can help you identify relevant stakeholders, the types of activities undertaken and the range of evidence used to substantiate impacts.

Don't limit yourself to your own field. Think about the types of impact that you might be interested in (e.g. health, environmental, technological, political), or the locations that you are working (e.g. Tanzania, Malawi, Malaysia etc.) and see how these have been achieved from other perspectives. 

Impact journeys: deconstructed

We are currently developing deconstructed exemplars to offer useful insights into how research led to impact across a range of disciplines or formats. These will highlight how impacts have developed from different types of research—basic, applied, contract and clinical research. We will also showcase the success of different approaches and contexts for knowledge exchange—through effective stakeholder engagement; co-design or co-delivery of research with non-academic partners; sharing materials or licences; engagement with innovation; or validating interventions, processes or ideas.

We will publish additional exemplars below in due course.