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RCUK : PATHWAYS TO IMPACT WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT TO DO NOW. Professor John Marshall Director Academic Research Development CREDO workshop May 2011. Research Impact: What it can mean. UK Research Councils: RCUK “Pathways to Impact”

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Professor John Marshall


Academic Research Development

CREDO workshop May 2011

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Research Impact: What it can mean

  • UK Research Councils: RCUK “Pathways to Impact”

  • UK Research Councils: “Outputs and Outcomes Collection”

  • UK Research Excellence Framework: “Impact Assessment”

  • Academic Journal Impact Factors

  • Academic Research Publication Citations

  • Scottish Government /SFC Knowledge Exchange

  • GCU Research Impact

  • This presentation will focus primarily on

  • Pathways to Impact

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All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo Galilei

The hardest thing in the world to

understand is the income tax.

Albert Einstein

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Part 1: the point is to discover them.

Research Councils UK (RCUK): What is Research Impact?

RCUK is committed to researchexcellence with impact

This means continuing to invest in the best research, people and infrastructure,

whilst aiming to enhance the impact of that funding on society

RCUK recognise that the research that is funded has academic and

economic and societal impacts

The potential to maximise both of these is now assessed in research grant applications within the peer review process.

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UK Research Councils: “Pathways to Impact” the point is to discover them.

Applicants are now required to explore the ways to enhance the potential impact of funded research

For GCU, this is relevant to staff making research grant applications to


Impact related information must now be supplied in the relevant sections of the electronic form as part of the Joint Electronic Submission (JeS) grant application process as follows.

Academic impact: via Academic beneficiaries and case for support sections

Economic/Societal impact: via Impact summary and Pathways to Impact sections


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RCUK Research Grant Applications: Impact the point is to discover them.

  • Academic Beneficiaries

  • Should cover potential academic impact and pathways to realising it (e.g. effects of possible research outcomes on other academic disciplines)

  • Impact Summary

  • Should cover potential economic and societal impact

  • and seek to answer two questions:

    • Who might benefit from this research?

    • How might they benefit from this research?

  • Pathways to Impact

  • Should detail the activities which will help develop

  • potential economic and societal impact, answering the question:

    • What will be done to ensure that potential beneficiaries have the

    • opportunity to benefit from this research?

  • Activities outlined in Pathways to Impact should be:

  • appropriate and specific

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What is economical and societal impact? the point is to discover them.

  • RCUK definition:

  • It is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economyby:

    • Fostering global economic performance and specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK

    • Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy

    • Enhancing the quality of life, health and creative output

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Why is RCUK asking researchers to explore the point is to discover them.

Pathways to Impact ?

Asking applicants to consider activities to enhance economic and societal impact is not new

RCUK knows that the research funded has a huge impact on the wellbeing and economy of the UK

Recent changes help emphasise the importance RCUK places on this and ensure that potential impacts are demonstrated and supported

It also ensures a common format for capturing and assessing this information across different research councils

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RCUK: Economic and Societal Impact of Research the point is to discover them.

  • The Pathways to Impact submission in grant applications will be assessed by peer review and could affect the decision about whether or not to fund a project

  • The primary criterion for RCUK is still to fund excellent research.

  • However this section will be particularly important in affecting decisions for example:

    • At the borderline

    • Where there is a clear need for user engagement

  • It is expected that having reviewed the guidance, applicants will be able to explore Pathways to Impact for their research.

  • The maximum length is two pages but it is not expected that all applications will require this level of detail

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RCUK: Economic and Societal Impact of Research the point is to discover them.

  • If you feel that this approach is not applicable for your research (i.e. that it may have no economic/societal impact) then you must still use the Pathway to Impact to explain your reasoning. This will be reviewed with the rest of your proposal.

  • What if my research is assessed as excellent but my Pathways to Impact are deemed not suitable?

    • RCUK reserve the right to withhold the award of grant until Pathways to Impact are of a standard appropriate for the project

  • What if my Pathways to Impact are assessed as excellent but my research is not?

    • Excellent research remains the primary criterion so you

    • will not be funded.

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RCUK Pathways to Impact: the point is to discover them.

Available resources and guidance

RCUK Pathways to Impact website


Contents :

Frequently asked questions (pdf)

Top 10 tips for completing the Pathways to Impact (html)

Guidance for completing Pathways to Impact

RCUK Expectations on economic and societal impact (pdf)

RCUK typology of research impacts (pdf)

Public engagement with research (html)

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Further specific guidance, resources and help the point is to discover them.

on research impact available from:

AHRC: www.ahrc.ac.uk/FundedResearch/Pages/ImpactAssessment.aspx

BBSRC: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/apply/impact/funding-impact-index.aspx

EPSRC: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/apprev/preparing/Pages/economicimpact.aspx

ESRC: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/guidance/applicants/iii.aspx

NERC: http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/application/pathwaystoimpact.asp

MRC: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Fundingopportunities/Applicanthandbook/transfertoJeS/index.htm

STFC: www.stfc.ac.uk/About/Stats/EI/EIinPRFAQ.aspx

RCUK Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S): Case for Support and Attachments

Impact Requirements


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Any questions on the presentation? the point is to discover them.

An electronic copy will be circulated to those attending and

will be available from the University research webpage in the

CREDO staff development section


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Part 2: the point is to discover them.

Workshop session :

Examples of Impact Statements

to review in groups (see handout)

(No discipline specific knowledge required)

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Research the point is to discover them.