Fast Track Impact is an international training company working in the Higher Education and research and innovation sectors. Our mission is to change the way researchers generate and share knowledge, so that their ideas can change the world.
We offer online training for individual researchers, and provide face-to-face training for professional development programmes. We also have a growing range of online content and design services.
Fast Track Impact was co-founded by Prof Mark Reed (Newcastle University) and Dr Ana Attlee (Project Maya Community Interest Company) in 2013, funded by the UK Government’s Research Councils, and launched as an independent spin-out company in 2015, led by Prof Reed as Chief Executive Officer and Dr Joyce Reed as Managing Director.
We've trained >4000 researchers from >200 institutions in 55 countries. As a full-time Professor at Newcastle University, Prof Reed can only do a limited number of trainings per month, so available training slots book up fast. Find out out more about booking us to come to your institution or try out our free online training.
We were recently interviewed for a feature in Scottish newspaper, The Press & Journal (we are based half-way between Aberdeen and Inverness). Read on, to get a more informal take on what we do...
A powerful, evidence-based approach that delivers lasting impacts
People leave our training, armed with powerful tools and techniques that they can implement immediately to create a step change in the impact of their research. Underpinning these techniques is a unique relational approach to impact that enables people to generate deep and lasting change through their research. Consistent with this approach, we work with people long after the training event, helping people work through a series of steps to put what they've learned into practice in the weeks and months that follow.
As this video explains, it's a bit like a smile. Like an infectious smile, good ideas spread from one person to the next, when they are developed and communicated with empathy:
5 steps to fast track the impact of your research
Through our own peer-reviewed research and the latest research evidence, we have developed 5 steps to fast track the impact of your research. These principles were distilled from a large number of lessons that have emerged from this body of work, some of which you can see below:
The Research Impact Handbook and Fast Track Impact were originally conceived as part of a "pathway to impact" in a Research Council funded project that generated the some of our first evidence. Working with the Research Councils, we then turned this evidence into a course that is relevant for researchers working in any discipline. In the course, we teach practical tools and techniques to help researchers apply each of these principles to work with publics and stakeholders in their own contexts.
Principle 1: Design
Know the impacts you want to achieve and design impact into research from the start:
Set impact and knowledge exchange goals from the outset
Make a detailed impact plan
Build in flexibility to your plans so they can respond to changing needs and priorities
Find skilled people (and where possible financial resources) to support your impact
Principle 2: Represent
Systematically represent the interests and priorities of those who will benefit from your research:
Systematically identify those likely to be interested in, use or benefit from your research
Identify other those who could help or block you, or who may be disadvantaged by your work
Revisit who you’re working with regularly
Embed key stakeholders and public representatives in your research
Consider ethical implications of engaging early
Principle 3: Engage
Build long-term, two-way, trusting relationships with those who will benefit from your research and co-generate new knowledge together where possible:
Have two-way dialogue as equals
Build long-term relationships
Work with knowledge brokers
Work with stakeholders and public representatives to interpret findings and co-design communication products
Principle 4: Impact
Deliver tangible results as soon as possible to keep people engaged:
Identify quick wins where tangible impacts can be delivered as early as possible in the research process, to reward and keep likely users of research engaged with the research process
Public engagement based on your previous work to build networks & experience
Early publication of literature reviews
Principle 5: Reflect & Sustain
Keep track of what works, so you can improve your knowledge exchange, and continue nurturing relationships and generating impacts in the long-term:
Find ways to easily and regularly track your impacts
Regularly reflect on your knowledge exchange with research team & stakeholders
Learn from peers and share good practice
Identify what knowledge exchange needs to continue after projects end and consider how to generate long-term impacts
Find out more
Read more about our approach in this opinion piece by Prof Reed for Times Higher Education, published in May 2016:
Prof Reed's guest blog for the London School of Economics (LSE)'s Impact Blog @lseimpactblog (including links to the original research):
Read Prof Reed's Research Impact Handbook.
We have trained researchers from >100 institutions, including 80% (19 out of 24) of the Russell Group Universities in the UK and a range of research institutions across northern Europe. As a full-time Professor at Newcastle University, Prof Reed can only do a limited number of trainings per month, so available training slots book up fast. Find out out more about booking us to come to your institution or try out our free online training.
Fast Track Impact is a family-run, international training company. At the heart of everything we do is empathy, trust and a passion for making the world a better place. Prof Mark Reed is Chief Executive Officer and leads trainings. Dr Joyce Reed is Managing Director. She is also a professional photographer and works closely with Anna Sutherland, our in-house designer. Anna has a HND in Visual Communication and enjoys creating bespoke and functional designs to suit client's needs across a range of media. We work with a UK-based freelance PA who has super-human organisational skills (being super-human is an essential pre-requisite to manage Mark's diary). Our headquarters is located between Aberdeen and Inverness, looking over a forest with a rare population of Scottish wildcats, red squirrels and pine martins.
Mark is a recognized international expert in research impact with >150 publications that have been cited over 13,000 times. He holds a Research England and N8 funded Chair in Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University, and has won awards for the impact of his research. His work has been funded by ESRC, STFC, NERC, AHRC and BBSRC, and he regularly collaborates and publishes with scholars ranging from the arts and humanities to physical sciences. He has reviewed research and sat on funding panels for the UK Research Councils (including MRC, BBSRC, ESRC, NERC), EU Horizon 2020 and many national and international research funders.
He has been commissioned to write reports and talk to international policy conferences by the United Nations, has acted as a science advisor to the BBC, and is research lead for an international charity.
Mark regularly advises research funders, helping write funding calls, evaluating the impact of funding programmes and training their staff (his interdisciplinary approach to impact has been featured by the UKRI, the largest UK research funder, as an example of good practice). He also regularly advises on impact to policy makers (e.g. evaluating the impact of research funded by Scottish Government and Forest Research), research projects (e.g. via the advisory panel for the EU Horizon 2020 SciShops project) and agencies (e.g. Australian Research Data Common).