Understanding Impact

Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy – to communities beyond academia.

It must represent an evidenced, measurable effect, change or benefit:

  • activities, attitudes, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding delivered to
  • an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals outwith the institution
  • in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

Impact starts with and grows out of your research and can be encouraged through engagement with communities of research users, from specialist groups to companies or the public. 

Our impact planning template is a step-by-step guide to interrogate your research and help to formulate what your research impact vision might look like.

In addition, you might want to think whether the impacts from your research align to any of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to post-COVID recovery aims, or sustainability and climate change targets.


Following toolkits provide further guidance on planning your research impact: