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The Researcher's Guide to

Influencing Policy


Impact Culture Cover 1.jpg

Impact Culture


Impact Culture cover

Impact Culture


Influencing Policy

The Researcher's Guide to Influencing Policy 11th June 2018



Designed to help navigate the complex and ethical challenges of working with policy, this must-read book will help researchers effect changes with meaningful and wide-spread impact. Readers will learn how to negotiate complex power dynamics, use informing and influencing strategies, and play critical roles in policy networks to give voice to those who are rarely heard in the corridors of power.

This guide is based on two decades of Professor Reed’s peer-reviewed work on the impact of research and his experience using his environmental research to influence policy around the world. It covers the tried and tested practical skills needed to co-produce policy options, based on rigorous evidence and the perspectives of those whose lives will ultimately be affected by policy. Importantly, it provides the tools required to communicate research effectively to policy audiences and collect evidence of policy impacts.


Applicable to all disciplines and career stages, The Researcher’s Guide to Influencing Policy provides the confidence needed to start engaging with policy safely, responsibly, and effectively. It is time to get out of the echo chamber of research and policy elites and to start getting our hands dirty with the messy reality of real-world policy.


The Research Impact Handbook 2nd Edition published 11th June 2018



This book will help you fast track the impact of your research, whether you are a PhD student or a Professor, a medieval historian or a medic. Equip yourself with evidence-based tools you can use immediately to create a step change in your impact. Fully updated and redesigned with over 100 pages of new material, the second edition is packed full of practical tips, techniques, templates, case studies and personal stories that will inspire and equip you with the skills and confidence you need to make a difference. 


Mark Reed is a Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University. He is a recognized international expert in research impact with >150 publications, and has won awards for the impact of his research. 


Find out what's new in the second edition.



1  Introduction


Part 1: Principles to underpin your impact


2  What is impact?

3  Five principles to fast track your impact

4  Principle 1: Design

5  Principle 2: Represent

6  Principle 3: Engage

7  Principle 4: Early Impacts

8  Principle 5: Reflect and Sustain


Part 2: Steps to fast track your impact


9  Step 1: Envision your impact

10  Step 2: Plan for impact

11  Step 3: Cut back anything hindering or distracting you from your impact

12  Step 4: Get specific about the impacts you will seek and the people who can help you 

13  Step 5: Achieve your first step towards impact and monitor your success


Part 3: Tools and techniques


14  Prioritising stakeholders and publics for engagement

15  How to design events with stakeholders and members of the public 

16  How to facilitate events with stakeholders and members of the public

17  Driving impact online

18  How to generate research impact from Twitter and LinkedIn

19  Presenting with impact

20  How to engage policy-makers with research: a relational approach

21  How to make a policy brief that has real impact

22  Tracking, evaluating and evidencing impact

23  Conclusion: left hanging (with the right tools for the job)


Part 4: Templates and examples


Getting testimonials to corroborate the impact of your research

Writing up an impact evaluation as a research article

Evidencing international policy impacts

How to set up a stakeholder advisory panel for your research project 

How to turn your next paper into an infographic

How to write a top-scoring impact case study for the UK Research Excellence Framework

Identifying impact indicators

How to crowdfund your research to engage with the public

How to turn your research findings into a video that people actually want to watch

Public/Stakeholder Analysis: worked example

Example event facilitation plan


Further reading




Praise for the handbook


"Running through this book is the passion that Reed himself clearly feels about delivering impact from his own research, and also helping others do the same. This is most definitely a book about making a difference, not pretending to."


Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy, Research England

Full review on the LSE Impact Blog



"Reed takes a complex, intimidating subject and presents it with refreshing simplicity, coherence and vision."


Phil Ward, Deputy Director of Research Services at University of Kent, author of award-winning blog, Research Fundermentals. Read the full review.



"An indispensable resource for researchers who wish to see their work change the world for the better. Based on evidence and written with a personal touch, the Research Impact Handbook is your own mentor who explains the why and the how, with many practical resources which can be implemented right away to start making a positive impact on the world."


Dr Bec Colvin, Knowledge Exchange Specialist, University of Queensland, Australia 



"As an influential scholar in his own field, Prof Reed maps the research-to-impact terrain with integrity."


Elizabeth Stokoe, Professor of Social Interaction, Associate Dean for Research, School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences, Loughborough University



"This is the definitive A-Z of research impact. Essential reading for anyone involved in research today. This book clearly explains what research impact is, why it is important, and how researchers can achieve it; all set out in a logical, easy to read structure."


Dr Katharine Reibig, Researcher Development Policy Officer, University of Stirling



"Implementing research into policy and practice change is a complex and messy process. Mark Reed’s readable Research Impact Handbook draws together practical strategies from his own work and a wide range of sources to help researchers along the road to effective impact."


Professor Gabriele Bammer, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University and founder of Integration and Implementation Sciences



"This handbook puts in one place a marvellous tool box and a philosophy of impact. It is refreshingly not about ‘value for money’ for ‘the taxpayer’ but about making the world a better place."


Dr Catherine Manthorpe, Head of the Research Office, University of Hertfordshire.



“As PhD students we are trained so hard to focus in specifically on our research that we sometimes forget about the bigger picture. This book will help you think radically about how your research can be used in ways you have probably never considered before, so you can achieve impact without distracting you from your PhD”. 


Grant Campbell, PhD student, James Hutton Institute and Cranfield University


The Productive Researcher published 11th October 2017



In The Productive Researcher, Mark Reed shows researchers how they can become more productive in a fraction of their current working day. He draws on interviews with some of the world’s highest performing researchers, the literature and his own experience to identify a small number of important insights that can transform how researchers work. The book is based on an unparalleled breadth of interdisciplinary evidence that speaks directly to researchers of all disciplines and career stages. The lessons in this book will make you more productive, more satisfied with what you produce, and enable you to be happy working less and being more.

The hardback edition has the title and design imprinted on a fabric cover, handcrafted by a book maker in Yorkshire. It contains spectacular colour photography throughout. Chapters are accompanied by close-up images of trees that build up to the forest metaphor that concludes the book. These are bookended by wide perspective canopy images that accompany the front matter (from which the cover design is derived) and concluding chapter. The overall effect is a touch and feel that makes this a book to savour. 

Mark Reed is Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University and the University of Leeds. He has over 150 publications that have been cited more than 15,000 times. He is author of The Research Impact Handbook, which he has used to train over 8000 researchers from more than 200 institutions in 55 countries.

Get linked resources or watch the book launch talk:

The Productive Researcher book opened at a chapter page

Praise for The Productive Researcher


​“I like the structured approach, the build-up and especially the space and time to think. It has changed my approach to goal setting entirely. My whole work goal emerged entirely from the values I had identified in my personal life and I now have something to aim for that I really believe in – thank you!” - Professional Services

​“I liked that I am going away with a workable plan at the end of the day” - Professor

​“It’s very helpful to be reminded why we wanted to become an academic in the first place, and to reconnect with values-based priorities when we are struggling to get daily routine work done. Thank you!” - Senior Lecturer

​"It made me really think about what sort of researcher I want to be. It has given me the time and space to think through ways I might start to achieve this, both in the short-term and in my longer career. It has given me hope that there is a way forward to get work-life balance and it has focussed me on a path to achieve it.” - Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

Impact Culture

Impact Culture published 25th March 2022

Impact Culture cover

Do you feel demoralised and demotivated by an increasingly managerial, metricised academy?


In this book, you will discover how you can transform your working environment and create a culture you can belong in. Whether you seek ideas that will change the world or you just want to

reclaim a place in which you can think deeply, this book invites you to overcome what is preventing you doing the best work of your career.


At the very least, you will see how it is possible to create a protective bubble in a toxic culture. But at best, unexpected new ways of working will emerge and spread from person to person and group to group. This is the way innovations spread, minds change and new cultures are born: diverse, authentic and values-driven cultures that inspire the creative thought the world needs so badly right now.


You don’t need to wait for that to happen. Whatever your position, from PhD student to professor, you can make a difference. Change can start now, with you. With us.


Mark Reed is a recognized international expert in research impact with >200 publications that have been cited over 20,000 times. He is Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship and Director of the Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), and a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, University of Leeds and Birmingham City University.

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